Paws Across Texas, Inc. (PAT) is a nonprofit, incorporated, charitable organization based in Fort Worth, Texas. PAT aids people in an innovative way as opposed to using traditional methods of treatment. Children and adults stressed by illness are able to relax and have fun with dogs. The animals bring out hidden physical abilities in patients and give hope to some of the patients who are fighting depression.
Research has shown many humans have a love for animals, and PAT promotes the therapeutic use of canines for the purpose of physical, psychosocial, and emotional interaction. The animals provide emotional support, stress relief, companionship, entertainment, sport, and sociability. This type of interaction evokes responsive interactions which otherwise may not occur.
PAT is proud of 15 plus years of community service to 10 counties in the Metro areas. PAT has an all-volunteer membership and provides all services at no cost to participants. They started in the Fort Worth area in 1986 and are a local organization with services only in the geographic area. All of the PAT representatives must have proper qualifications, provide a completed application with a Health Certificate form, provide proof of basic obedience training, and attend the screening and orientation program. Screenings are held three times a year, and each accepted team is re-evaluated bi-annually. Approximately 10 weeks of obedience training is a prerequisite, and evaluations, orientation, and supervised in-field training within 30-days is required.
PAT collaborates with psychiatric, medical, and physical rehabilitation hospitals, Children’s Medical hospitals, schools for Special Education, mentally/physically challenged, long-term care for the elderly, and adult day care centers. Some of the hospitals serviced include Columbia, Health South, All Saints, Harris Health Systems, Cook Children’s Medical Center of Fort Worth, and Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Dallas.
The populations serviced by PAT include, but are not limited to, children and adults in mental care centers, persons with physical disabilities, patients with head and spinal cord injuries, strokes, and orthopedic related injuries. The PAT dogs personally interact with each person through acts of brushing, ball playing, walking, and command executing given by the patient. PAT has on-going schedules each month with facilities being serviced at least five days a week. Some days multiple facilities are planned for service on the same day. They provide summer programs for special needs camps for children with terminal illnesses and physical and mental disabilities.
PAT is extremely proud of its positive image in the communities it serves and the positive reputation it has earned since its inception. They have been nominated for the Tarrant County Volunteer Group of the Year as well as the JCPenney Golden Rule award. PAT was the recipient of the 1998 Volunteer of the Year Award for Dallas County.