Teams in Uvalde4 St. Philips Episcopal School

Uvalde Update:

Eight TASA and PAWS for Service Teams visited St. Philip’s Episcopal School in Uvalde Monday and Tuesday the 22nd and 23rd of August for the first days of school.The children and staff had a great time with the dogs and the dogs loved all the hugs, pets and attention. What a nice way to settle into those first days back to school. (photos courtesy of their facebook page). 

TASA and PAWS for Service Teams will be headed back to Uvalde for the first week of public school on the 6th of September and will provide specially trained teams to support the work of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas there on an ongoing basis. It has been an honor and a very humbling experience to walk this difficult path with the Uvalde community over the past 3 plus months.

We will be providing support in various other ways through the fall and perhaps beyond with our therapy animals in great part due to the generous support of the greater human community of caring individuals who wish to help.

Pat Poe at Uvalde Library

Five TASA canine therapy teams spent the morning yesterday at the Uvalde Public Library visiting the children and families there to hear Tracy Voss read the children’s book Crusty and His Red Sweater. The children left with autographed copies of the book, a stuffed toy of Crusty, and many positive memories of visits with the dogs who were present. This is part of the library’s summer series on children’s literacy and some of the future proceeds from the sale of the book will help support TracyPawsRescue.

paws-for-service

In collaboration with our CARE partners PAWS for Service, 37 animal therapy teams have made 148 trips to Uvalde to provide animal-assisted therapy to the children attending the 5 schools open for summer school throughout the month of June. The teams included 34 dogs, 2 cats, and a rabbit. The photo here shows all of the animals involved. We have seen firsthand over the past 4 weeks the difference our animals have made and it has been difficult and gratifying work.

As summer school ends this week we will now be focused on supporting the Children’s Bereavement Center’s work in Uvalde as they set up a semi-permanent service there for families.

On 13 July we will have teams at the Uvalde Library for a children’s reading by one of our TASA members, Tracy Voss, of Crusty and His Red Sweater. Proceeds will help support the rescue work she does with TracyPawsRescue. We hope to see some of the children we have been working with in summer school there.

We are also planning to continue to support the schools as children return in the fall.

Our work has been supported by a grant from Puppies and Golf, which has allowed us to compensate teams for their gas and occasional hotel expenses. We are very grateful for their support and their recognition of the significance of our work.

When Texas communities experience untoward natural or man-made events that cause disruption and pain the presence of therapy animal teams can provide comfort, strengthen a sense of community, and enhance coping. In response to this understanding we have recently developed the CARE Program (Crisis Animal Response) and are building our capacity to  respond rapidly across the state of Texas.

In order to provide the best support possible to Texas communities through established response systems our program adheres to relevant national standards that allow us to identify interested and qualified current experienced therapy dog teams. These teams are  provided with FEMA certified training, animal and human first aide certifications, as well as professionally presented content and simulation experience in communicating with persons experiencing crisis. We also provide  training for team management, leadership in the field, and self-care; as well as, financial support related to deployment. If you are interested in learning more please contact us at CARE@therapyanimalssa.org

Congratulations to our founding CARE Program members! They completed CARE Program training 12 June, 2021 and are now ready to deploy as needed. 

Linda Porter-Wenzlaff and Indigo Moon – CARE Co-Coordinator

Walter Macias – CARE Co-Coordinator 

Kathy Meade and Jasper

Gerald Dubinski, Jr. and Bonnie 

Denise Linnert and Gilley

Sara Morgan and Happy Happy Hazel

Jason George and Soluna

David Scott and Mercy

Beverly Oakes and Tessa

Christi and Morrison and Maggie

Darby Stacey

Debbi Cuellar

Neven Jones

Vickie Jain

Chris Puckett and Scout

Pat Smutz and Kira

Aileen Holeman

Audrey Charlton and Indigo