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
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,
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
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
I wonder if you guys will ever know what great difference you
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 reg.no. ACC 5959
My mom, sister and I met some of the Paws for People handlers
with their wonderful companions at Unitas Hospital on Thursday
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,
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
Thank you so much!!
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.
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
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
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 .
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
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
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
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
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
*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
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
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
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"
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
Well done, your handlers and dogs did you proud today.”
Benoni Unit of Paws for People®