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Exceptional pets needed

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 11:32 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – Tails Humane Society is looking for volunteers for its Pawsitive TAILS animal-assisted activities program. Made possible by a grant from the Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation, the Pawsitive TAILS program coordinates visits of volunteers and their pets to a variety of human service organizations throughout DeKalb County.

“The Pawsitive TAILS program is just beginning, but our volunteers have already succeeded in positively impacting the lives of a number of DeKalb County residents,” said Lisa Smith, the program’s coordinator. “We’re currently concentrating on assisted living facilities in the county, but once we increase the size of our volunteer base, we plan to begin providing visits to other types of human service organizations as well.”

Positive interactions with pets have long been shown to have health benefits including stress reduction, lowered blood pressure and an increased sense of general well-being. Simply petting an animal can trigger a release of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which can elevate mood and have lasting positive effects.

Animal-assisted activities programs such as Pawsitive TAILS are designed to provide opportunities for improving the quality of life of people through controlled interactions with specially-trained animals and their handlers. Though dogs tend to be the most common species involved with AAA programs, cats, birds, bunnies, pot-bellied pigs and even miniature horses have been highly successful participants.

If you have an exceptional pet and are interested in becoming a volunteer in this program, contact Lisa at lsmith@tailshumanesociety.org or 815-758-2457 ext. 10115. The next handler/pet evaluation session is planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the TAILS Training and Veterinary Center, 2270 Barber Greene Road in DeKalb. Appointments are required for this evaluation session.

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