Become a Paws for Love Volunteer >>

See Ch. 2’s story on Crush, 5/22/24 >>

See the SPCA’s memorial tribute to Paws for Love Coordinator Debbie Braun >>

The SPCA’s PAWS FOR LOVE program brings furry (and feathered!) friends to spread joy and comfort across Erie County. Dedicated pet owners volunteer their gentle dogs, cats, and even unique pets like a cockatoo, guinea pig, and duck! These animal ambassadors visit over 100 locations, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, courts, group homes, hospices, children’s facilities, and even the Buffalo/Niagara International Airport. They offer stress relief at college events* and provide a touch of solace at funeral parlors for grieving families. Witnessing these animals’ unconditional love and companionship can brighten someone’s day and lift spirits in unexpected places.

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 thousands of adults and children 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!  Find the volunteer job description here >> . Just send an email to Paws for Love at 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 You can find us on Facebook, too! Scheduling a visit requires at least two weeks’ notice to ensure volunteer availability.

*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!

Watch the Paws for Love video made by Madeleine F. as her Gold Award project for Girl Scouts!

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