Site Description List
Thank you for your interest in our PAAT Goal Directed Therapy Dog Program.
Below are descriptions and requirements for each site we are currently serving.
- Please note that certification with PAAT is only in effect during Paws’itive Teams sponsored activities.
- A Team is considered PAAT Certified after all the PAAT Required paperwork (including veterinary exam)
and Site Specific Clearances have been completed. Certification will be current for 1 year (if the team meets
the minimum volunteer hours and remains active with the program.)
- Re-certification is required annually.
ABRAXAS HIGH SCHOOL (Poway) (NOTE: Program not active during summer months)
The Transition Students (ages 18-22) have physical and/or developmental disabilities. For this group, we work one-on-one with students selected by the special education teachers who work with us in designing the goals. The dogs are not required to know a lot of “tricks” but must be responsive to the handler and able to take direction from a secondary handler. Some of the students are working on verbal skills, trying to speak more clearly. They give the dogs commands (such as sit, down, stay, come) and are reinforced for speaking clearly once the dog responds to the command. It would be helpful if your dog responds to hand signals so that he/she can follow the commands given by the child while the handler stands behind the child given hand signals. PAAT Teams work directly under the supervision of the Special Education teachers who set the goals for each student.
CLAIREMONT HIGH SCHOOL (San Diego) (NOTE: Program not active during summer)
- Medically fragile students have an amazing classroom, full of visual and tactile stimulation. Our teams will participate in objectives helping these students accomplish goals such as opening their eyes in response to your visit or determining if the student relaxes when touching your dog. This environment will require very calm dogs willing to lie still while snuggling with a student who may have very limited abilities.
- The developmentally challenged students present a fast-paced environment for our teams. These students’ disabilities range from autism to speech impairments, from severe phobias to selective mutism and many other conditions. These are active students and our teams must quickly and independently identify creative goal-directed activities to meet the objectives for the student. PAAT Teams work directly under the supervision of the Special Education teachers and Speech Therapists who set the goals for each student.
MISSION BAY HIGH SCHOOL (Pacific Beach)(NOTE: Program not active during summer months)
The medically fragile students have an amazing classroom, full of visual and tactile stimulation. Our teams will participate in objectives helping these students accomplish goals such as opening their eyes in response to your visit or determining if the student relaxes when touching your dog. This environment will require very calm dogs willing to lie still while snuggling with a student who may have very limited abilities.
RINCON MIDDLE SCHOOL (Escondido) (NOTE: Program not active during summer months)
This small group of medically fragile students attend junior high school at Rincon Middle school in Escondido They have a range of disabilities from very low functioning to autism with the ability to walk with the dog and play simple games. Our teams will participate in activities that help the child achieve their treatment objectives in cooperation with the staff. The objectives might include visual acknowledgement of the dog by looking at him and or/ smiling, reaching out to pet the dog or walking the dog on a double leash with the handler. This environment will require a calm dog that can tolerate petting, rough hugging and loud unexpected noises from the children. The handler will be creative in finding activities for the dog to do with the child. The handler will work closely with staff and will have supervised visits with the team leader until they feel comfortable in this environment. We will be going in a group to this facility.
YWCA PASSAGES (downtown San Diego at YWCA Facility)
The Passages Program is a transitional housing program for single homeless women. The focus of the program is stabilization leading to independent living. The therapists at Passages have identified the target problems of these women and how our PAAT teams can help the women overcome these challenges. In working with the dogs the women are building confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness skills, and learning to take and give instructions. Having the women work together with one dog is helping to foster teamwork and trust. These skills will help our clients to succeed in job interviewing and the workplace and improve interpersonal skills. The women will learn basic handling commands and meet-and-greet therapy visit techniques with the ultimate goal of taking the dogs on therapy visits to their other house mates that live at the Y. The women in the program have asked to participate and are delightfully eager and motivated. Besides learning new skills, just the hour spent with the dogs seems to very therapeutic for them.
VICTIM/WITNESS SUPPORT PROGRAM (various courthouses through the County)
Under the direction of the District Attorney’s Office and Victim Advocates, our certified teams meet with children and adults who have been abused and are having to testify in court. The dogs are a valuable tool to relieve tensions prior to testimonials and often aid in enabling these victims to give better testimonies, resulting in more convictions.
BALBOA REHAB PROGRAM (various locations)
Our therapy dog teams work with outpatient active duty injured service members (Marines, Navy, Air Force) from Balboa Navy Medical Center with the primary goal to bring these patients the support, encouragement and optimism unique to canine therapy. We work specifically under the guidance of assigned staff personnel. During the sessions, individual therapy dog teams are assigned to work directly with participants (patients) on a one-to-one basis. The interactions are often opportunities to work with basic dog handling skills and social interactions with the handlers. Each session ends with a discussion about the differences between service and therapy dogs.