This page is available to all people who have met the dogs from Paws For People® and would like to share their stories. If you have a comment you would like to have added please do email Lesley on



Hi Les,

Here’s a little story, it doesn’t match the one you told me on Monday but I think it is quite sweet.

As you know, I have been visiting Inn-tuition Nursery school with Archie ever since I have had him and these visits have actually become part of his training as well as being an entertainment for the kids.

Today we visited the school (unofficially of course) as we have been doing and Kerry (my daughter) called me to her office where there was a little girl called Shannon who wasn’t feeling well. The child had been complaining of a sore tummy and a headache for about an hour and was sitting crying on a teacher’s knee in the office. I took Archie in to see her and sat him down so she could reach him. She leant over and played with his ears and stroked his head for maybe a minute or so, he licked her hand and she said, “I’m better now, me go play.” She jumped off the teacher’s lap and ran outside to join her friends in the playground and Kerry just told me this evening that that was the end of the tummy–ache and complaints.

Make of it what you will, I believe in the therapy-dog programme even more now than ever,

Best Regards,




Good Morning

I and SAPS Divers took the young criminal boys (Doing a diving course with SAPS Divers) to the Bronkhorstspruit Dam; we joined the SAPS Water Wing patrolling the dam.

Buddy (my Golden Retriever) joined me, the Captain and a SAPS Chopper Pilot on the patrols (to log some boat time) and we stopped at a house next to the dam to have coffee with some people who invited us in after laying a complaint with the Captain.

They were very interested in Buddy asked a lot of questions and then they told me this story I need to share with you. This lady’s mother was in hospital with cancer and one evening people with dogs visited and the dog put his paws on her bed so that she could touch him - before this her mom was restless but afterwards she was peaceful and died the next day. This brought them so much peace and they used the picture of her and the dog for the funeral.

I asked them in which Hospital was this and she said Unitas. I asked her what did the dog look like and she said it looked like a big GSD then I asked her what the handler looked like and she said it was a tall lady with a Scottish accent. It was Lesley I believe.

I wonder if you guys will ever know what great difference you are making!!

Have a great Monday

Serving Jesus Christ

Rev.Joe Adlem Ds.Joe Adlem

Pastoral Worker Pastorale Werker
Abraham Kriel Childcare Abraham Kriel Kindersorg
Specialized Counsellor ACC 5959


Dear Lesley

My mom, sister and I met some of the Paws for People handlers with their wonderful companions at Unitas Hospital on Thursday evening.

Unfortunately I can't remember the handler's names but we met amongst others Willow, Roxy, and Cowboy. WOW, the Shiloh Shepherds are BEAUTIFUL!! We were sitting at the Emergency room and it felt like the world was on our shoulders, but when the handlers walked in with the beautiful dogs it was like the sun shining through a very dark cloud!! You made a sad evening bearable, more than that, you made it better!!

We would like to contribute financially because you do such good work!! My grandmother is in Hospital at the moment with Leukemia, unfortunately she wasn't there during your visit, she would have loved it!! She is a dog freak and I think that's where my mom and my sister and I get our love for animals, especially dogs!!!

It is inspiring to see people that care so much for others that they give their time and love to brighten up a strangers life! Thanks for showing us again that there are good people in our world!! I have 2 Boxer pups and would love to get involved but they definitely need lots of training first :-)

Can you please forward your banking details to me so that we can contribute.

Thank you so much!!

Monique Rossouw


Hi there,

I would really like to thank you and the dogs for all the wonderful work you do.

When my grandfather was in Glynwood hospital with leukemia, a dog called Rudy came to visit, My grandfather was so happy to see a dog and receive all the love that Rudy gave. My grandfather had been in hospital for over 2 months and the joy he received from this visit was unforgettable!!

Sadly my grandfather has passed away, but I will always be grateful to Paws for People for the joy you brought to him!!!

Thank you so much for the visit!!

It really made him smile!!!!!





This beautiful letter is from the daughter of one of “our” ladies at St. Michaels Village who passed on just after Christmas. Please click on the photo to enlarge image.










Dear Tarryn

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and Toby for the wonderful work that you are doing.

On the 24th of June 2010 you and the rest of the team came to visit the children’s ward in Unitas hospital. My 5 month old baby girl Izelle was admitted for the 3rd time in a question of 8 weeks and I was busy getting very depressed for I was worried about her and my work. She wasn’t feeling to swell that evening but soon enough both of us was smiling away ( without a care in the world).

Toby really amazed me for Izelle doesn’t know dogs and how to treat them, to her it was something that has nice hair to pull. Even though I had to save Toby a couple of times he just remained calm and loving as he first walked in there.

The team didn’t just put a smile on my baby’s face that night but also made me realize again how to enjoy the simple things in life. We had so much fun that night with the dogs there that Izelle was so exhausted that evening which led to a good night’s rest.

The most amazing thing to me was the unbelief that a wagging tail can fix so many things in an instant.


Thank you so much for what you did for me and Izelle that evening. Toby is a real star!!!!!!!!!!

Keep up the great work that you are doing .

Kind Regards

Mareta Lötter




I love the old hymn “All things bright and beautiful”. It always brings back memories of my childhood such as the beautiful property we lived on and all God’s wonderful creations around me.

From a very young age I was blessed to grow up with all kinds of animals in our home. With my dad being a Veterinary Surgeon, I witnessed the miracle of birth, the joy of seeing a dog walk again after surgery as well as the heartache of watching an elderly or very ill animal being put to sleep when there was no hope.

God created the most amazing animals for our joy as well as comfort. My greatest desire was to follow in my dad’s footsteps but due to incorrect choice of subjects, that was not to be. For many years I have harboured huge regrets that I didn’t pursue a Vet’s career. I have however, enjoyed owning animals all my married life, but one of the greatest blessings God gave me, was the insight to use my two Golden Retrievers in therapy work.

This all started just over 2 ½ years ago when I joined a voluntary organisation called “Paws for People”. I started off with my Golden Retriever, Sara, who went through a very tough assessment with me. We both passed with flying colours. For the next 18 months Sara and I visited Old Age Homes, Hospice, SANCA, Children’s Homes and Hospitals. We then decided to get another Golden Retriever and Sebastian arrived. At the age of 8 weeks he started his puppy socialising and was assessed at the tender age of 9 months. He also passed with flying colours.

I used dad as my “guinea pig” and took my two “goldens” with me most days when visiting him. I remember standing at dad’s bedside one afternoon whilst he was still asleep and Sara at my side. After a minute or two, Sara gently lifted her paw and tapped dad on his hand. The dear old man opened his eyes and then spontaneously reached out and put his hand on her head.

This work has taken away the regrets I had of not becoming a Vet and filled me with so much love for the elderly, the sick, people with disabilities as well as those with terminal illnesses.

I also enjoy wonderful walks with my dogs and am able to marvel at the scenery around me. An added bonus was Steve becoming a handler and qualifying a year after I did.

We enjoy many hours together with our dogs visiting institutions and laughing with others.

The joy of sitting with an elderly, lonely or sick person, who starts to talk and then reminisces of their childhood telling you all about their animals or where they grew up, is so special.

One of the greatest joys is to walk away from a visit and see all the smiling faces and realise that ones dog had made a difference in their lives that day.


On Tuesday 20 April 2010, I was contacted by Annemarie from Unitas Hospital with regards to a special “Paws for People®” visit. She asked if Floyd and I would be available to visit a nine-year old dog bite victim. Floyd and I visited *Katy* that afternoon. She has a Pug at home and was missing her little friend terribly. She had been admitted the previous Friday with serious bites to the head and face. Reconstructive surgery had been performed and she had been in theatre again that morning to clean the wounds. The skull, ear and face had been operated on. An 18 month old Boerboel had attacked her when her family visited a house they were interested in renting. The child had apparently wandered into an area where the dogs were being kept and was attacked by the young dog while she was with an older dog. (*names have been changed for privacy.)

*Katy* responded very well to her furry visitor. Annemarie had promised a tearful *Katy* a surprise, before surgery on the morning of our visit. The apparently withdrawn little girl was overjoyed at Floyd’s arrival. He was quickly invited onto her bed and was cuddled affectionately. She was delighted by his tricks and her mother was very pleased at the distraction for her daughter. *Katy* chatted and laughed freely and was so excited she seemed to forget about her pain. We naturally had to explain that Floyd was a special “therapist” and that unfortunately her own dog was not “qualified” to visit in the hospital.
*Katy* showed no signs of traumatisation in the presence of the small dog and one hopes that she will be comfortable with larger breeds again. Her mother has been given educational material about warnings signs for dog attacks.

During our visit the Department of Health was performing their annual inspection of the hospital. This is a reminder to us as handlers that we must always be prepared and follow correct procedures. An up-to-date file, appropriate uniform and correct kit are vital to ensuring the professionalism of the Paws for People® Programs.
Today was once again a wonderful “Paws for People” experience. To be granted the privileged to make a difference in a child’s recovery and to see the gratitude of the staff and their own joy in interacting with our dogs makes one feel so proud to be a part of “Paws for People®”.


At the awareness day at the East Rand Mall, a gentleman approached one of our handlers (Sandy with her dog "Jonty" - a Golden Retriever), and said

“I know all about the Paws for People® organization and your work, my Mum recently passed away, and when your team was at the Glynwood Hospital she was able to hug and kiss your dog; you made her last day on earth so special for her as she was an animal lover through and through, Thank You for what you were able to give to her through your dogs, that no-one else could”.


Dear Lesley, all the lovely volunteers and Paw Friends.

Just a short letter of appreciation for making my daughter’s visits to Unitas Oncology an event that she looks forward to. Obviously we try to arrange her visits around your possible visits. We’ve been quite unlucky these past few months but great was her delight when we were spot on with your visit on Thursday.

** absolutely adores your dogs; the conversations she has with you about the dogs and the information you so patiently give her. I think you must know halfway what your visits mean to these children but to explain to you as a parent how much it means to Lee** is simply impossible to put into words. I just know my heart swells with so much emotion to see how excited she gets to see Timmy, Shiloh, Roxy and Cowboy.

Months ago, when her oncologist gave us a time limit for Lee
** (he explained she could go at any moment), a visit from you brought a turn around in her condition. She had stopped fighting and I very unwillingly started preparing myself that we were going to lose Lee**. Funnily enough, the day after your visit the nurses realized that your visit had made a difference in Lee**. They offered that we could bring our own dog to her in hospital to help her fight her disease. Once again, although raked with high fever, the will power kicked in a bit more. We then arranged for a Ragdoll (type of cat) breeder to bring her kittens – more improvement. She then had a visit from a cheetah. Well, needless to say, Lee** fought back harder than ever. This was all we needed.

Medically they couldn’t do more, but Lee
** started fighting back herself and that made the difference. She walked out of hospital 2 weeks later and has since had no major scares. Her infection levels came down from over 200 each time, little by little after each visit from furry friends.

Thank you for what you are doing. It is proven, it helps not just by putting a smile on their faces, but in Lee
**’s case, medical proof that it saved her life.

** For privacy reasons Lee is not the patient’s real name!


“Hi Les, I always feel it is great for you to hear the "good" news!

Today we did a Talk at a church group in Kempton Park. Each handler gave a talk on a different section of our work. I spoke on the AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) program and afterwards we had grandparents come to us (with a donation) and tell us how proud they are of Paws for People® Therapy Dogs, as their grandson was on the program and has now been able to move to a mainstream school; his attitude, behaviour etc. changed after he spent the year working with us and they credit the Paws for People® program for enabling their grandson to move on to mainstream schooling. This just blows me away and if I feel proud, I don’t know what you must feel as the founder of the organisation.

Well done, your handlers and dogs did you proud today.”

Benoni Unit of Paws for People®