Blog

Fireworks and Fido Don’t Mix

These things may all sound fun, but they can turn into nightmares for pets and also for veterans suffering from trauma. This Independence Day, make sure you and your loved ones are ready for celebrations in a healthy way!

How should you prepare if you have pets?

  • First, make sure your pets have updated identification tags in case they run away or get loose. 
  • Make sure your pets are in a safe, adequately secured location. 
  • Don’t take your pets with you when you go to loud parties, firework displays, or other potentially-unsettling surroundings. 
  • Afterwards, check your yard for any debris that could be harmful. 

One of the reasons Pawsitive Kidnections exists is to serve those who have been traumatized. We specifically work with vulnerable children in the foster care system, but are sympathetic towards anyone who is suffering the lingering effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We urge all of our friends to use discretion and sensitivity when planning your fourth of July celebrations!

4 ways that a dog can help people suffering from PTSD

Psychology Today published a great article by Dr. Tracy Stecker explaining how dogs can be helpful to people (veterans in this case, but also youth) suffering with PTSD symptoms. Here are a few of the reasons:

  1. Dogs are vigilant.  They instinctively are on the watch for potential danger.
  2. Dogs are protective.  With a buddy by your side, you know you have a friend who has “got your back.”
  3. Dogs love unconditionally.  
  4. Dogs help relearn trust.  “Trust is a big issue in PTSD,” says Stecker.  “It can be very difficult to feel safe in the world after certain experiences, and being able to trust the immediate environment can take some time.  Dogs help heal by being trustworthy.” 

$25 Donation

On July 27th, we are having an event with Catamount Institute to have Foster Children come to the park and learn about nature and dogs while having an opportunity to meet and engage with Therapy Dogs! Your donation would be a huge help in preparation

$25.00

How can you help?

You can make a difference, but providing support to organizations such as Pawsitive Kidnections who seek to improve the lives of foster care kids and underserved dogs. Help these kids learn how to trust again!

For Further Reading

  1.  AMVA (2019). July 4th safety. American Veterinary Medicine Association. https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/July-4-Safety.aspx
  2. Craft, A. (2018). Fourth of July fireworks trigger PTSD symptoms in veterans. Fox News. https://www.foxnews.com/health/fourth-of-july-fireworks-trigger-ptsd-symptoms-in-veterans
  3. Stecker, T. (2011). Why dogs heal PTSD. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/survivors/201107/why-dogs-heal-ptsd

Graduating Out of Foster Care

Shelia listens to her classmates who are chattering on excitedly about the graduation ceremony next week. One of them has already been accepted into a major university. Another is “considering his options” but has multiple acceptance offers on the table. Another plans to work for a year and attend community college. They all have plans.

Except Shelia.

Shelia turns 18 next month and is one of 24,000 foster care children who “age out” of the system each year in America. She was never adopted and with six other mouths to feed, her adoptive family will be happy for Shelia to move on and find her own way in the world.

She made decent grades in school and probably would have been accepted into a local university. But none of this matters because she couldn’t even afford the application fee, let alone the monthly loan payments.

She has no job. No car. No way of supporting herself.

At least she has a high school diploma. Roughly 30-50% of foster care youth who exit the system, don’t even have that.

Her future is pretty bleak. Only 2% of foster care youth complete a bachelor’s degree before they turn 25, compared with 24% in the general population. (Forever Family)

According to statistics provided by Forever Family, within 2-4 years of leaving foster care:

  • 40% were homeless
  • 40% were receiving public assistance or were incarcerated
  • 40% experienced drug or alcohol abuse
  • 46% had not finished high school
  • 51% were unemployed
  • 84% became parents

How can you help?

You can make a difference, but providing support to organizations such as Pawsitive Kidnections who seek to improve the lives of foster care kids. Help them dream their dreams and see that they have a future!

$25 donation

Give a foster child an opportunity to make a new canine friend this month! Be it a therapy dog or shelter animal, these interactions are often life changing

$25.00

For Further Reading

  1. Nelson, L. (2018). Foster care youth graduate at low rates. News from Our Heart. http://foster-care-newsletter.com/foster-youth-graduate-at-low-rates/#.XPVpZYhKg2w
  2. Forever Family (2019). What is aging out of foster care? Forever Family. https://www.foreverfamily.org/aging-out-of-foster-care

May is Foster Care Month!

Did you Know?

  • 442,995 children are in the U.S. foster care system.
  • About 60% of sex trafficking victims were previously in the foster care or other child welfare system.
  • By age 19, the youth (who never placed in a permanent home) are more likely to have a criminal record than a high school diploma.
  • 20% of foster care children are homeless when they turn 18.
  • There are 123,437 foster children awaiting adoption.
  • 7 out of 10 girls who age out of the foster system will be pregnant by the time they turn 21.

Stats from Royal Family Kids of Colorado Springs, https://coloradosprings.royalfamilykids.org, a nonprofit that offers summer camp opportunities to foster kids.

How Can You Help?

There are many ways you can help a foster kid! An article in the Denver Post lists some great ideas!

  • Teach an older teen how to itnerview/apply for a job.
  • Become a mentor for teenagers.
  • Become a CASA, a court-appointed special advocate for a foster child in your county
  • Become a foster parent or a respite foster parent to give full-time foster parents a break
  • Support a scholarship program for aged-out foster youths

Consider partnering with Pawsitive Kidnections! We work specifically to bring joy into the lives of foster kids by connecting them with trained companion dogs!

$25 donation towards our Buddy Program

The Buddy program is a program dedicated to helping Foster Kids be able to foster an animal from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region

$25.00

For Further Reading

  1. https://coloradosprings.royalfamilykids.org
  2. https://www.denverpost.com/2018/05/25/how-to-help-colorado-foster-kids/

Volunteers are the Bomb!

April 7-13 2019 we are celebrating our volunteers & National Volunteer Week! April as a whole is Volunteer Month!

For many people, volunteering is a great way to give back to the community. This is especially true with underprivileged children in the foster care system, and underserved animals in shelters. Mike, the founders of Pawsitive Kidnections, speaks about his experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer, “There’s something special about giving back. Being around kids who are sharing unbelievable stories about what they’ve gone through, made me feel really grateful [for my situation] and made me want to contribute.”


Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Hands together forming a (painted) red heart!

Volunteering takes many shapes and forms. Perhaps you have a heart to help children, but don’t have time or the situation to become a foster parent. If so, consider volunteering for CASA or other similar organization.

Link: https://casaforchildren.org/advocate-for-children/be-a-casa-volunteer/

Maybe you love animals but can’t adopt one yourself (or already have too many at home!) Then consider volunteering with our partner, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. So many opportunities are out there waiting for you!

Link: https://www.hsppr.org/springs/become-volunteer

Opportunities to Serve Kids

  • Serve as a CASA mentor
  • Help centers such as CASA with building maintenance and special projects
  • Participate in the Champions for Children Golf Classic in June
  • Provide support for the CASA Gala in November
  • Volunteer as office staff

Ways to Help Dogs

  • Become a shelter volunteer
  • Serve as a foster care volunteer

Donate $25 today!

Your $25 donation goes directly into the funds bank for the Foster:Foster program that is partnered through Humane Society of the Pike Peak Region!

$25.00

For Further Reading

  1. The Adoption Exchange https://www.adoptex.org/get-involved/volunteer/volunteer-in-colorado
  2. Pikes Peak Humane Society https://www.hsppr.org/

What makes a good therapy dog? Well, let’s hear from the experts!


Free Image on Pixabay – Puppy, Dog, Little Girl, Hug, Cute https://buff.ly/2H6XjtU

Your dog. . .

  1. Must love people. Not just you, not just your kids. They should love everyone! Says McConnell, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, “Good therapy dogs need to be the kind of dogs who ADORE people, all people, and want nothing more than to connect with them.”
  2. Shouldn’t be distracted by other dogs. There are some dogs that care more about being with other dogs than with people. That doesn’t mean they are bad dogs. But they probably aren’t the best for therapy work.  
  3. Isn’t freaked out by weird things. Hospital equipment, for example. And while a lot of desensitization training can help with this, the fact is, certain dogs are just calmer than others and less sensitive. Says McConnell, “Therapy dogs need a certain level of rock-solid soundness to be good prospects.”
  4. Loves children. Many therapy dog programs (Pawsitive Kidnections, for instance!) involve work with children. Good therapy dogs need to remain calm and collected even when the children are not.  
  5. Is well-trained. Sure, maybe Fido knows how to shake and roll over, but can he sit patiently for long periods of time while strangers pet him?  
  6. Has a calm personality. Similarly, can you trust your dog to not jump up on a young child or knock something over with his wagging tail? This is why young dogs often don’t make the best therapy dogs, but this doesn’t mean they won’t ever qualify. “Leaping, licking, pawing, and body slamming just don’t work in senior centers and hospitals. This is why so many dogs don’t qualify when they are young but could be great prospects when they are older,” explains McConnell.
  7. Enjoys being petted. Some dogs enjoy human companionship but don’t really like being petted that much. But therapy dogs must enjoy human contact, even if it comes from children with rough pats on the head or arthritic patients with unsteady hands.  
  8. Is clean and tidy. This one is more in your ability to control. Your dog needs to be healthy, up-to-date on all vaccinations and healthcare, and very, very clean. Some organizations require therapy animals to be bathed the day before each site visit.  
  9. Loves his job. It isn’t enough for them to merely tolerate the work. For the safety of the people you are serving, and in the best interest of your pet, your dog needs to truly love her job.

$25 Donation!

$25 helps us with adoption fees, paying for training classes for the dogs (which the foster families attend when ready), paying for resources for the dogs (like food!), and helps pay for gas for dog transport!

$25.00

For Further Reading

  1. Kindred Companions (2015). 6 Signs Your Dog is a Good Therapy Dog Candidate. Kindred Companions. Retrieved from https://www.kindredcompanions.com/for-the-love-of-dog/2015/4/18/signs-your-dog-is-a-good-therapy-dog-candidate
  2. McConnell, P. (2012). Therapy Dogs: Born or Made? Patricia McConnell. Retrieved from: https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/therapy-dogs-born-or-made
  3. McConnell, P. (2018). Dog Assisted Therapy: Is Your Dog A Good Fit? The Bark. Retrieved from https://thebark.com/content/dog-assisted-therapy-your-dog-good-fit