About Faithful Paws

Our Story

Founded in 1997 as a ministry of Bellaire United Methodist Church, the certified pet therapy teams visit facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, schools, universities, and community groups.

Bellaire United Methodist ChurchTraining is provided and classes include basic obedience to obtain an AKC Canine Good Citizen certification. We also practice socialization with people, other pets and other circumstances which pets may face on a visit to a facility.

Message from the founder, Connie Richards

Faithful Paws Director, Connie Richards‘I think everyone should have a motto for life. My words that I live by are: “To touch everyone that I meet in a positive way and to have them pay it forward.’

I founded Faithful Paws Pet Therapy Program 20 years ago in June of 1997. We make scheduled monthly visits to facilities in and around Houston, Texas. We also provide many one-time visits to schools, universities and community groups each year.”

In 2015, Connie received the prestigious Houston Volunteer Service Award for Animal Welfare.

Requirements

Each facility has at least one team leader who coordinates the requirements for that facility. Requirements vary from facility to facility, ranging from TB tests, flu shots, and background checks to special attire, additional training, or further orientation. All members adhere to HIPAA confidentiality laws. Visits are arranged on a set schedule with a team leader at pre-designated facilities.

Purpose

A team of organized volunteers involving the trained animals specifically designed to administer unconditional love and therapy to adults and children in nursing homes or hospitals and to share the love of our pets with the people we visit.

Objectives

Pet therapy is a scientifically proven form of therapy that is recognized as therapeutic and recreational.

Our Members

The Faithful Paws team undergoes a rigorous, yet fun training program to prepare for their visits.

PETS: Though most certified pets are dogs, we welcome cats and rabbits on our team. Though we love reptiles and exotic animals, we are not able to welcome them to the team.

Dogs must pass the CGC (Canine Good Citizen – see list of skills on “contact us” page) test and/or Temperament test. These tests are authorized and administered through the AKC (American Kennel Club). Cats and rabbits must pass Temperament testing. Pets must be current on all vaccinations with a form provided by veterinarian. You may bring more than one certified pet as some facilities allow up to 2 per visit.

Faithful Paws In the News
Linda and Mike Ruggeroli - Methodist Sugarland
Congratulations to two of our Faithful Paws members who were awarded the 2016 Volunteers of the Year at The Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land!Click here to read about Linda and Mike Ruggeroli and their pups, Lilly and Annie.

To learn more about becoming a member of Faithful Paws, click here!

Faithful Paws Therapy dog - Marty - visiting patient
Faithful Paws Therapy dogs - Andie and Ranger - visiting patient
Faithful Paws Therapy Dog

Support Faithful Paws

Your contribution to Faithful Paws is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for supporting our important, life-enhancing mission.

When you arrive on the donation screen, look for the line for Faithful Paws, as shown circled in yellow.

Donate to Faithful Paws