About Faithful Paws

MISSION STATEMENT:  Faithful Paws is a nonprofit, volunteer run and organized group of certified therapy pet teams serving the Greater Houston area. We provide training, AKC Canine Good Citizen testing, support, and insurance for members who volunteer with their dogs, cats and rabbits in animal assisted activities.

PURPOSE:  Founded in 1997 for the purpose of bringing unconditional love to adults and children in the greater Houston area.  Our American Kennel Club certified teams visit schools, libraries, hospitals, senior-tiered living communities, rehabilitation facilities, hospice centers, colleges, universities and other organizations that request our services.  Our required training program teaches pets and their handlers behaviors and skills needed for pet therapy visits.

BENEFITS OF PET THERAPY:  Ongoing scientific research suggests that pet therapy has significant benefits, including decreases in stress, blood pressure, heart rate, pain, fatigue, anxiety, loneliness and depression, as well as increases in a positive outlook, energy level, self-esteem and satisfaction.

Founder, Connie Richards, served as Executive Director for the first 25 years from 1997 to 2023 and continues to serve as a visiting member. Connie’s Story

GOVERNANCE:  We are a 501(c)(3) approved non-profit organization.

OUR TEAMS:  Each team is composed of a handler and pet. All participating pets are our members own personal pets. All of our teams are tested and certified before being allowed to visit. Each new team begins their membership with a probationary period and must complete 10 successful visits before becoming full approved. Most certified pets are dogs. We also welcome cats and rabbits who are able to pass a temperament test. We do not certify reptiles and other exotic animals to participate in our organization.

VISITS:  In a typical year over 15,000 visits are logged by Faithful Paws Teams.  Each approved facility has a team leader who coordinates all aspects of the visit. Requirements vary between facilities and may include TB tests, flu shots, background checks, special attire, as well as additional training or further orientation.  All members are required to adhere to HIPAA confidentiality laws.  Ongoing visits are scheduled, usually weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.  One-time visits are scheduled as requested; many of these provide stress relief for students at exam time. Visits are typically composed of a minimum of 2 to 6 teams or more.

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

Faithful Paws Pet Therapy

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