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Going from strength to strength

Following the success of our Paws4Kids campaign earlier this year, we’re excited to announce that we’re now established in Ballarat.

Therapy dog Millie has been trained and alongside her owner and Paw Pals facilitator Kath, she is already supporting children and young people in the region to regain a love of learning. Kath will be joined by a second faciltiator Sarah and her dog Yarny in term one next year.

With the support of the community, our Paw Pals program has gone from strength to strength. Established in 2019, the program utilises trained therapy dogs to support children who have disengaged, or are at risk of disengaging from education. The dogs support children regulate their emotions and learn trust, so they can then engage in learning activities. Conducting these with the dogs, children and young people then learn the skills and gain the confidence to re-enter the classroom. To date, more than 630 students have been supported by the Paw Pals program.

Paw Pals has been made possible by the Paws4Kids campaign, which is 100% funded by the community. Petspiration Foundation –– along with individual and corporate supporters –– generously provides matching funds that multiply the impact of every donation received during the campaign.

Since 2019, Paws4Kids has raised an incredible $1.3 million, enabling the program to grow from one and their therapy their therapy dog to seven facilitators and eight therapy dogs, supporting young people across Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat.

Without the support of the community and Petspiration Foundation, more than 630 kids, and their families would have missed out on the vital support of Paw Pals, which has changed lives, brought kids back to their education and given them the chance of a brighter future.

Peta, a mother of a student engaged in the program, reflects on the change in her daughter Amber since engaging with Paw Pal Facilitator Susie, and her dog Barney.

“Amber’s work with MacKillop and the therapy dogs has been absolutely life changing. It is the first time a program has truly engaged Amber, and for the first time, she is happily attending school.”

We’re excited to bring Paw Pals to Ballarat and look forward to our Paws4Kids campaign in April 2023.