PAALS placed three puppies in Kershaw Correctional Institution in February 2009 to begin teaching inmates to raise and train canines for people with disabilities. This program allows PAALS puppies in training to receive a large amount of one-on-one time and training with men who are trying to turn their lives around and give back to the community.
In 2013 PAALS became a certified member of the Department of Justice Apprenticeship Program and inmates have the ability to complete a nationally recognized certificate program through Prison PAALS.
“...PAALS program gave me a purpose for my life. PAALS has given me hope for my future.”
PAALS offers Reading PAALS at various locations in the Midlands of South Carolina. Assistance dogs with their partners and assistance dogs in training encourage young children to practice their reading skills by reading to a non‐judgmental dog from PAALS. This program boosts confidence in struggling readers and provides a fun motivational tool.
PAALS mission has always focused on education, as we believe our younger generation has an incredible ability to change lives. PAALS partners with students throughout the year to work on service learning projects, scout projects, career days, and other after-school programs.
At After School PAALS, students will work with professional dog trainers to reinforce the training of assistance dogs in training to help people with disabilities in our community. Team work, leadership skills and community engagement are the focus of this program.
Summer PAALS day camp is one of only a handful of camps in the country that integrate assistance dogs in training with kids who have disabilities alongside kids who do not. Campers learn assistance dog training basics and community service ethics through hands-on training of current PAALS assistance dog candidates. PAALS has been offering Summer PAALS camp since 2006.
The PAALS Patriots Program is an animal-assisted therapy program for active duty service members and veterans with combat related anxiety symptoms.
PAALS Patriots teaches coping skills to help participants understand and address their mental health issues, improve communication skills, build trust, and reduce anxiety through experiential therapy. Coping skills are taught by relating training and behavior modification techniques used with assistance dogs and horses to everyday life applications. PAALS Patriots is facilitated by a multidisciplinary team including mental health specialists, assistant dog instructors, equine specialists, and volunteers who are military veterans. The non-traditional setting and methods are particularly effective with people who have served in the military because it reduces the stigma associated with treatment and increases the number of veterans seeking care.