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Therapy program volunteers for Pawsitive Teams (PT) are a supportive pack of humans and dogs with a common set of positive goals for improving the lives of those in need. We volunteer with our dogs to share, connect, and develop a cohesive team. I’m so grateful to have the golden opportunity of sharing the magical “chi” of my Czech Shepherd, Kai, to help At-Risk Youth and Military Veterans living with PTSD achieve their goals. Kai and I’ve benefited just as much, if not more, from those we help through the PT programs.
 
The PT family has nurtured me from merely a pet owner to a goal-directed therapy dog handler. One of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned is to dial into Kai’s “Hierarchy of Needs” through maintaining teamwork with a symbiotic human-canine relationship. This has also inspired us to enjoy the fun, challenge, and growth in AKC Rally Obedience and Obedience trials. We’ve also achieved over five different AKC titles together.
 
The Three C’s to a rewarding life suggested by former Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Sally Jewell: Clan (family and friends), Career, and Community (volunteering). As a PT Therapy Program volunteer, my teamwork and intuition have been sharpened, and most of all Kai and I feel more complete through fulfilling our Community “C”.

Larisa C., a therapy program volunteer

Pawsitive Teams has had a huge impact on my son and our entire family’s life! Isaac was in a horrific car accident in Oct. 2017 that severed his spinal and left him paralyzed from the chest down. After many months of rehabilitation and therapy, he was still struggling to do so many things. We had to sleep in his room every night to assist him. Being paired with a highly-skilled Yellow Labrador service dog from Pawsitive Teams named Monty was life changing for Isaac—the months of training they went through together bonded them and truly made them a team. The physical help Monty gives Isaac allows him to be more independent, helps him do basic things that save his energy, and most importantly for Isaac is being able to sleep in his room without his mom! Monty alerts us when Isaac needs assistance which allows all of us to sleep better. The emotional support Monty provides to Isaac is invaluable—I believe Monty has been a huge reason that Isaac has been so accepting of his new life and has such a positive outlook. Monty is such a fun, active dog and has become the favorite family member in our house!! Our entire family LOVES and appreciates all the time and effort that trainer Elaine and all of the volunteers at Pawsitive Teams have put into this organization to improve the lives of so many people. We have been blessed!!

Lisa C., mother of a teen service dog graduate

My role as a school-based Speech Language Pathologist is to support students presenting with communication deficits. My goal is to enhance students’ communication effectiveness to contribute their ideas, to develop meaningful friendships, and to increase their independence within a meaningful and engaging therapy environment. Collaborating with Pawsitive Teams has curated an environment in which students with complex communication needs thrive to further develop their expressive and receptive language as well as meaningful communication and self-confidence. Pawsitive Teams has also been instrumental in supporting inclusion for all students on our campus by cheering on students with special needs during our annual Unity Basketball Game. My students and I always look forward to our sessions with Pawsitive Teams! Thank you for making a lasting impression on so many students by fostering their communication development and adding so much joy to their lives. 🙂

Katie B., a Speech Language Pathologist at a San Diego City High School

Pawsitive Teams has brought families into my life that I will hold close forever. Being a service dog trainer has made a difference in my life by making me more aware of how people struggle with disabilities and want to become more independent. Watching them accomplish this with the help of a dog I have trained is very rewarding and often brings tears to my eyes.I have learned many things from our graduates—the biggest for me is patience. I am thankful for every day that I can work with our graduates and with our dogs.

Charli K., a service dog trainer