Our volunteer teams visit children and adults facing various challenges, including mental illness (Austin State Hospital, Wounded Warriors at Ft. Hood with PTSD), developmental differences (children with autism and learning disabilities) , physical limitations (St. David's Hospital) and dementia (elderly with Alzheimers) . Therapeutic interaction with our specially trained canines results in emotional and physical benefits such as improved mood, confidence, communication, relaxation and trust. Founded in 2004, the organization's success is based on two simple premises-one philosophical, the other pragmatic. First, there exists a deep, mysterious bond of healing between humans and dogs. Second, dog enthusiasts comprise a responsible, dedicated and highly driven volunteer demographic. Led by highly trained handlers, our volunteer teams of busy individuals care about their community. They appreciate and want to share the joy and unconditional love their dogs so freely give. Click here to view a video to learn more about Divine Canines: http://vimeo.com/22674373
- Divine Canines was awarded the prestigious New Milestones Foundation 2007 Champions award for their successful and innovative efforts to help the mentally ill of Central Texas.
- Every month, some 50 Divine Canines volunteers visit 19 under-served facilities around Central Texas.
- Every weekday, Divine Canines volunteers visit 5 Austin Elementary Schools (St. Elmo, Andrews, Gullett, Odom, Rawson-Saunders) and help some 20 young students strengthen literacy and fluency while building confidence.
- Every Sunday, Divine Canines visits the state's two largest and most underserved mental health facilities, the Austin State Hospital and Austin State Supported Living Center, to spend time with one of Texas's most stigmatized populations.
$25 could buy our organization…
A vest for a newly trained therapy dog
$50 could buy our organization…
5 Canine Good Citizen evaluations (passing the Canine Good Citizen test is a prerequisite for Divine Canines training)
Enrollment for one in a non-profit accounting course at Austin Community College
Training cost for 2 dog/handler teams
Training cost for 4 dog/handler teams
“The beauty of Barking Book Buddies is that the student can receive help without any embarrassment. Reluctant readers have blossomed into confident readers. ~Amy McFadden, Librarian, St. Elmo Elementary.
"Sunday's visit was the best visit that we have ever had! The patients are still talking about it today, and it's Tuesday," notes Torie Thieman, Activity Coordinator, at the Austin State Hospital. "Some of the patients who are very withdrawn just seem to sit up and take notice, even with a smile on their face, when the dogs come around. The divine canines visits are the highlight of a lot of my patients' months."
"Animals have always been a part of my life, and spending three months in the hospital was like being away from my own kids. The visits from K.D. and Leo brightened my day and gave me something to look forward to. The unconditional love of a dog has an amazing affect and brings a smile to your face regardless of the situation!" ~ Anita, Former Patient, St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital
"Since the program began, we have found that the interaction has served as an important source of emotional comfort and support to the soldiers. The bonding process that we have seen has assisted in improving the quality of life for our soldiers while they are transitioning through the Warrior Transition Brigade. Initially, we had some individuals who were uncomfortable around pets. However, after interacting with the Divine Canines therapy dogs, and experiencing their warmth, comfort and gentle demeanor, many of the soldiers are interested in getting their own dog." ~Janice Johnson-Simcox, MA,COTA/L - WTU Occupational Therapy Clinic”