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Therapy dogs offer service with a smile... and a little slobber

Pawsitive Teams celebrates 25 years of success while looking for new volunteers.

SAN DIEGO — There's a reason why dogs are often called man's best friend. In this Zevely Zone, I profiled Pawsitive Teams, a non-profit organization celebrating twenty-five years of success. It started with what may have been the most adorable interview I have ever done. "This is Bobby. He is a Chocolate English lab," said Carol Davis. "This is Sandy. He is a Golden Retriever," said Charli King. 

25 years ago, Charli and Carol founded the organization. Pawsitive Teams was founded with a desire to be a volunteer-inspired and volunteer-run organization designed to promote the use of well-trained dogs to improve the lives of San Diegans.

Credit: Pawsitive Teams

Since 1997, more than 800 dogs have made a difference for military veterans, at-risk teens and San Diegans with disabilities. "I get emotional when it comes to the volunteers that we have this is a family," said Charli. One of the volunteers is 19-year-old Gwinny Curiel. "We spend two years preparing these dogs, we get them as puppies, so they don't grow out of their teenage stage until they are two years old," said Carol.

Credit: Pawsitive Teams

Pawsitive Teams is looking for new volunteers to train a dog like Bobby who will soon be placed with a veteran suffering from PTSD. "It's matching the right dog with the right person," said Carol.  

"Good job Sandy," said Gwinny from her wheelchair. During Gwinny's volunteer session her mother Cynthia watched with tears in her eyes. "I am a weeper to start with, but it just makes me feel good that there is a place for her to feel fulfilled and she is a contributing member of society," said Cynthia. Gwinny is a recent high school graduate with an undiagnosed degenerative neurological disorder.

Credit: Pawsitive Teams

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"I just can't begin to tell you the emotion I have," said Charli. "They are part of me. They are my family, they are everything. I am glad to be able to still do this. It's my love and I plan to do it even if I live to be one hundred."

Credit: Pawsitive Teams

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Here's to 25 more years of service of with a smile and touch of slobber. The mission of Pawsitive Teams is to enhance the lives of individuals with special needs who live in San Diego County by using the skills of highly trained service and therapy dogs. To make a donation or get involved click here.

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