From Fear to Friendship: A Healing Paws Dog’s Mission

Ellie Mae, a timid and anxious Labrador Retriever, came into our care in May. Not too long after, Ellie Mae found herself at a loving foster home dedicated to helping her decompress from the shelter. Within that foster family was Via– a Healing Paws dog. Little did we know what an impact Via was going to have on Ellie Mae.

Our Healing Paws program aims to provide people with positive pet experiences. Healing Paws animals provide comfort and reassurance to children in schools, seniors in care facilities, or people recovering in hospitals. Friendly comfort companions, like Via, can improve health in countless ways such as by lowering blood pressure or in Ellie Mae’s case, reducing stress and anxiety. 

Upon arriving at her new foster home, Ellie Mae’s apprehension was evident. She was skittish and uncomfortable around people, her foster family included. Via, who’s known for her gentle nature, sensed Ellie Mae’s unease. With a wag of her tail and a reassuring nudge, via silently communicated that she would be there for her. 

As time has passed, Via and Ellie Mae have formed a strong bond. They are often found side by side, their bodies touching, as if the warmth exchanged between them could dissolve Ellie Mae’s anxieties. The pair embark on walks together, Via lending her strength to Ellie Mae when needed. With Via’s unwavering support, Ellie Mae has begun to relax within her foster home, and develop some much-needed confidence! Each day is now greeted with renewed vigor instead of fear. 

In her foster home, Ellie Mae is embarking on a transformative journey, one guided by her companion, Via. Together, the pair have faced anxiety and fear, giving Ellie Mae a newfound sense of joy and self-assurance. As Ellie Mae continues to decompress and relax in her foster home, we’re able to see the impact our Healing Paws animals have. Not only do they bring a sense of comfort to people, but they also bring that comfort to animals as well; Via and Ellie Mae are living proof.  

Learn more about our Healing Paws program here. Think your pet has what it takes to be a Healing Paws comfort animal? Sign up today for the next evaluation!

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