As part of the SPCA’s PAWS FOR LOVE program, run completely by volunteers, pet owners bring their gentle dogs and cats to more than 100 area nursing homes, assisted living facilities, Buffalo’s Family Justice Center, courts, group homes, Hospice locations, children’s facilities, Buffalo/Niagara International Airport, even stress-reducing events at colleges*. In fact, volunteers have just started visiting funeral parlors, to help alleviate the sadness felt by mourning family members and friends.
Volunteers’ pets are evaluated** by certified animal behaviorists at the SPCA*** and, once approved, the volunteers are put directly in touch with representatives of the facility requesting visitation so a mutually-beneficial schedule can be discussed.
Paws for Love is unlike any other program offered by the SPCA. For hundreds of patients and assisted-living residents each year, visits from faithful, four-legged friends often add entirely new dimensions to people’s lives.
In 2006, Paws for Love consisted of six volunteers. Under the love, care, and guidance of Paws for Love Coordinator Debbie Braun, who we sadly lost in May of 2023, the program grew to 200+ SPCA volunteers and their pets, behavior-certified therapy teams…all part of Paws for Love!
Interested in becoming a Paws for Love volunteer? We’d love to have you on the Paws for Love team! Just send an email to Paws for Love at PawsForLove@yourspca.org and let us know you’re interested in joining Paws for Love!
Interested in receiving a visit from Paws for Love? If you represent a hospital, assisted living facility, funeral parlor, or other entity and you’d like to coordinate Paws for Love pet visitation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us on Facebook too!
*Due to insurance restrictions, the SPCA is unable to make visits to individuals’ homes.
**There are three animal categories. Therapy animals are animals that visit community establishments; Paws for Love animals fall into this category. Other categories include emotional support animals and service animals, neither certified by the SPCA.
***Paula Macrides evaluates pets for this program!