Paws With A Purpose

Pet-therapy dog Maggie with pediatric patient. Photo by Jim Lawrence

Paws With A Purpose pet-therapy teams are hard at work throughout Asheville providing a furry dose of unconditional love to the elderly, infirm and to ill or abused children.

Since 1999, Paws With A Purpose has grown to 86 therapy-dog teams, each dog certified for its calm demeanor and unflappable good temperament. On doctor’s orders, the dogs make visits throughout Mission Hospitals and Mission Children’s Hospital. The program also provides services to schools, health-care facilities, retirement communities and area agencies.

Whether helping a child learn to read or enhancing social interaction in a nursing home, Paws with a Purpose dogs strengthen and nurture those around them in a powerful and mysterious way. “That animals feel our pain, our joy and our stress is no surprise to anyone who has a pet,” states PAWS founder and Executive Director Pam Hardin, who, with her therapy dogs, Smudge and Dooley, has worked with many clients facing challenging situations. “I do not find the situations I am faced with depressing, but rather uplifting and inspiring.”

There is no charge for pet-therapy services. To support their work, PAWS is calling all dogs, dog lovers, families and friends to the PAWS on Parade Annual Walk A-Thon on Saturday, June 6, beginning at 9 a.m. at Carrier Park in Asheville. All well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome to participate. Info:, 318-7277 or

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