paws4seniors Assistance Dog Program
In 1996, nine year-old Kyria Henry got her first puppy, a Golden Retriever named RILEY. She began training RILEY. Then in 1999, at the age of twelve, Kyria and RILEY began visiting nursing homes and a geriatric hospital. Kyria’s expressed desire at the time was that her dog “RILEY needed to make people happy.” Thus, the paws4people foundation was created and RILEY became the paws4seniors’ first Social-Therapy Dog.
From 1999 – March 2002 Kyria and her one, then two, then three dogs, made hundreds of nursing home and geriatric hospital visits making countless people “happy.”
As of July 1, 2010, scores of paws4seniors volunteers, using their certified Social-Therapy dogs, visit nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, hospitals, geriatric hospitals and Hospices, in four states and have recorded over 50,000 therapeutic contacts during more than 2,500 visits.