Paws & Effect Named 'Pet Partners Community Partner'

Central Iowa-based Paws & Effect has recently been named a Pet Partner Community Partner by Pet Partners, the "largest and most prestigious non-profit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams providing animal-assisted interactions." The Bellevue, Wash.-based organization was formerly known as the Delta Society.

"Being a Community Partner recognizes the efforts that our volunteers have made over the past eight years. Becoming a Community Partner is an incredible achievement, one in which I am certain our volunteers take great pride," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "Having been a Pet Partners volunteer for more than 10 years, I have witnessed the power of the human-animal bond time and again. It is wonderful to know that Paws & Effect and the Pet Partners program will contribute to Iowa for years to come."

Shumate's own experience as a Delta Society volunteer began in 2003, when she and her husband Eric—along with dogs Coffee Bean and Roggen—began conducting hospital visits in their previous state of residence. 

Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a Des Moines, Iowa-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and hosts dog-agility events.

Paws & Effect coordinates the efforts of more than 75 Pet Partners teams in Iowa, and maintains multiple evaluators and instructors. The Community Partners program requires Paws & Effect to maintain multiple evaluators and instructors. This infrastructure ensures sustainability, providing routine opportunity for current Pet Partners to reevaluate and for new volunteers to attend a training course.  
Additionally, the Community Partners program encourages organizations to host events that promote the human-animal bond. Paws & Effect hosts a bi-monthly book club and is currently seeking submissions for its first-ever writing competition about the human-animal bond. Paws & Effect has scheduled additional trainings for their Pet Partners in 2015, which will include a Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D) seminar next October.

In addition to offering continual training and evaluation opportunities for handlers and their dogs, Pet Partners' Community Partners maintain rosters of 20 or more registered dog-and-handler teams. These volunteers provide therapy animal services to hospitals, healthcare facilities, schools, and other environments in a given geographic region.

Central Iowans interested in becoming a Pet Partner are invited to attend the next training course from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sat., Jan. 31, 2015 at Avondale Veterinary Healthcare Complex, 4318 E. Army Post Rd., Des Moines, Iowa. Cost is $75, which includes the Pet Partner manual. For more information, visit the national Pet Partners website here. To register, e-mail: nicoleshumate@paws-effect.org.

Re-evaluations for existing Pet Partners is available Jan. 10-11 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Pet Partners with registrations expiring between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2015 are encouraged to participate. Contact Nicole Shumate via e-mail to schedule a time: nicoleshumate@paws-effect.org.