Hand in Paw’s Petscription program has proven beneficial in reducing the need for sedation during invasive or stressful procedures, providing professional staff a more relaxed patient and family with which to work, and reducing the length of time required to reach therapy goals. Our services are in high demand among people receiving care for acute medical conditions, cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy, people living with mental disorders, students receiving special education, and patients requiring speech, occupational and physical therapy.


Petscription volunteers work with facility staff to provide medical, psychiatric and educational services via interactions between patients/clients/students of all ages and therapy animals.




Trauma & Grief Response


Hand in Paw's Trauma & Grief Response Program provides emotional support and comfort to people in the aftermath of tragic events. Hand in Paw's certified handler and therapy animal teams:

  • respond to requests from schools and community organizations
  • act as calming agents, relieve stress, open the lines of communication, and allow for a pause from the situation

Hand in Paw teams do not provide counseling; they serve under the direction of the onsite staff. This service is free of charge and subject to availability.

To schedule, please contact Emily Cheatwood at or 205.322.5144 ext 156  



Wags at Work




Have your head in your computer? Just looking forward to your 2pm coffee break? What if a friendly dog appeared at your desk? Would your attitude change? We think so.


Hand in Paw is pleased to announce a new offering to businesses in central Alabama, Wags at Work. The free service will be an offshoot of their existing Petscription program which offers animal-assisted therapy visits to those who are in need of comfort, motivation, and cheer. A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management said that having a dog at the office could reduce stress and boost employee satisfaction.

“At Hand in Paw, our employees bring their pets to work, and we can directly see the benefits of having a dog present in our challenging work days.  Even if you are having a stressful day, you look over, and can’t help but smile when you look in the eyes of your faithful companion.  It is our hope to spread the love and joy that comes from the human-animal bond to people in our community,” said Executive Director, Laura Cardwell.

There is ample scientific evidence that having dogs in the workplace can reduce stress and offer opportunities for exercise and non-work-related interaction among employees.

To schedule a free Wags at Work visit for your office, please contact Emily Cheatwood, at

Hand in Paw has provided Wags at Work at the following places:


Cadence Bank



UAB Health System

Wells Fargo