Angel Paws Animal-Assisted Activities & Therapy was created in 2003 when its founder, Patti Shanaberg, discovered there were no organized pet therapy programs in the rural area of Ohio she had moved to a couple of years before. As of January 2007 Angel Paws has trained and registered 26 Delta Society Pet Partners® animal/handler volunteer teams and 7 R.E.A.D.® teams who have provided over 1,200 documented hours of therapeutic health care visitation and literacy mentoring sessions at 9 local facilities. For more information about the Angel Paws organization, please visit their website: www.angelpawstherapy.org.
Soon after becoming a R.E.A.D. affiliate, the group’s first literacy mentoring program for students with dyslexia and other learning challenges was begun. Next in their list of activities came “Puppy Tales with Angel Paws/READ,” which debuted at the Newark Public Library in 2006. In addition to the benefit of having children look forward to reading, the goal of letting them read to dogs in the library’s Puppy Tales program was to improve their reading fluency, reading comprehension, and self-confidence.
Samantha ("Sami"), the founder of Angel Paws.
Samantha ("Sami") is probably a mix of Golden Retriever, Border Collie, and Samoyed. She was named “Prozac” for the first few weeks after being adopted from a shelter in Los Angeles, because she was such a joy, but “Samantha” seemed to suit to her personality better. Sami visits several health care facilities, including Hospice and New Beginnings Domestic Violence Shelter, and she has helped children with learning differences such as AD/HD and dyslexia improve their reading skills at Kairos Academy. Sami also does "Lil Puppy Tales” story time for pre-schoolers once a month at Indian Mound Mall’s Lil Planet Kid. Children adore her silky fluffy coat and sometimes leave with a good deal of it clinging to their sleeve from constant petting while reading. In addition to people of all kinds and ages, Sami adores playing with other dogs, squeaky toys—the louder the better—and tennis balls.
Ollie and his reading buddy.
Ollie is a Portugese Water Dog. The PWD once existed all along Portugal’s coast, where it was taught to herd fish into nets, retrieve lost nets or other equipment, and serve as a boat-to-boat courier. This breed has webbed feet and a profuse non-shedding, non-allergenic, waterproof coat. PWDs are fun-loving, family-loving, water-loving dogs that get along good with children and other dogs and pets. They are sensitive and respond well to direction, and are a good breed for an active person wanting an adventurous, affectionate, robust partner.
Ollie actually lives on a working farm but is lucky enough to spend the winters in Florida. Ollie visits Autumn Health Care and has helped children with learning differences such as AD/HD and dyslexia improve their reading skills at Kairos Academy.