Healing Paws

Our Healing Paws Program

Anderson’s Healing Paws Program is a volunteer-based comfort animal therapy program, providing positive pet experiences to children and adults throughout our community. Healing Paws volunteers and their pet partners visit schools, libraries, rehabiliation facilities, social service agencies, and local businesses on a regularly defined schedule.

Therapy Visit Benefits

Studies show that positive interactions with a friendly companion animal can help improve health in a wide variety of ways, including:

• lowered blood pressure
• decreased anxiety and depression
• lowered risk of heart disease
• prevention of allergies in children
• reduced stress levels
• strengthened immune systems
• increased social interaction
• improved cardiovascular health
• diminished overall physical pain

Healing Paws Therapy Pets

Therapy pets in our program include dogs, cats, and other friendly companion animals such as birds, guinea pigs, and rabbits.


  • Therapy pets must be at least one year old and do not need to have been adopted from Anderson Humane. 
  • Part of the evaluation test will assess your pet’s temperament. Will they accept a friendly stranger? Will they tolerate gentle tugging on their ears and tail? How will they react to a restraining hug or clumsy petting? Will they submit to an overall exam, including checking teeth, ears, and touching the feet? 
  • Dogs entering the program must have basic manners training — either in a formal class or on your own. 
  • All pets will be tested for their reactions to a neutral dog walking by, loud voices, and crowded petting.
  • Dogs will need to demonstrate their ability to walk on a loose lead, sit on cue, come when called, and will be required to walk through a crowd while remaining calm.
  • Click here to see the criteria used to certify your dog. All other animals will have a slightly different evaluation, based on the specific species.

Healing Paws Handlers

  • Handlers must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Handlers must be outgoing and comfortable interacting with a wide variety of individuals.
  • All handlers must be able to maintain control of their pet at all times.
  • Adverse training methods using force, fear, or intimidation are strictly prohibited, as is the use of choke, prong, pinch, and shock collars. Harnesses, martingale collars, and Gentle Leaders are acceptable.
  • Click here to review the program guidelines.

Ready, Set, Go

  1. Click here to schedule your pet’s evaluation.
  2. Be sure to review the program guidelines and testing requirements.
  3. Provide proof of rabies (for dogs and cats) as well as a yearly veterinary wellness exam and fecal test.
  4. Upon passing the evaluation and providing the required up-to-date veterinary records, you and your pet will be certified through Anderson Humane.
  5. You and your pet are now ready to start healing our community! Anderson Humane will provide you with a list of locations.

Get Involved Today


We can't provide such outstanding care for our animals without the help of dedicated volunteers like you.


Every dollar makes a difference. Choose a donation level that fits within your budget and make a difference today.


Anderson Humane has dozens of adorable adoptables and provides the information you need to find the best animal.

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Funding for this website provided by Forefront - the Mission Sustainability Initiative.

Anderson Humane is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit recognized by the IRS. FE #: 36-6164626 Copyright © 2023 by Anderson Humane.

Anderson Humane

1000 S. La Fox Street
South Elgin, IL 60177
(847) 697-2880

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