K.I.N.D. Teams!

(Kids In Need of Dogs)

Make a difference in the lives of children and teens in need!

Therapy Dogs Heal!

Therapy dogs have existed since the 1600’s, when the philosopher and physician, John Locke suggested that small pet animals aided in the social development of children. Year after year numerous therapists and physicians continued this study and came to the conclusion that therapy dogs can help & heal adults, children, teens, the mentally ill, disabled and autistic. 

Dogs have the amazing ability to understand our emotions by reading our facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. They heal by lifting spirits, lessening depression, providing comfort, lowering blood pressure, decreasing anxiety and many more physical, mental and emotional problems. 

How K.I.N.D. Teams Work

The process for certifying a therapy dog is simple and easy but can make a major difference in our community!

First step in the certification process is to attend our monthly Paws & Pals 101 class. This meeting details our program, the facility (“The DAWG Pound”), and the training required. This class is led by our CEO, Tonia Haakonstad & our pet trainer and board member, Chris White of D.O.G. Obedience. 

After determining the best fit for how you and your dog can “Change Lives One PAW at a Time” we will walk you through the remaining steps of registration, training, testing, and final certification.

*The Certification process can be done thru several different certified programs, but we prefer and will recommend the AKC Canine Good Citizen 10 test certification program (CGC).


A team takes two! Our PAWS are priceless, but  our dedicated handlers/mentors are what makes a K.I.N.D. Team work and  thrive. After a Paw has been chosen for their position, we will then begin the training process for our mentors.

The training program developed by our Educational Advisory Board, consists of 8 hours of online training, which details the ongoing topics that our PALS are struggling with. These topics include: anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD/ADHD, grief, divorce, body image, suicide, addiction, sexual identity, and animal-human therapy. When the training is complete, we will then place the K.I.N.D. team with a PAL that best fits their requests. Mentors will then begin to spend one hour, once a week in a team session or heal & play visit. All mentors are required to complete an application, sign disclosures/waivers and pass a background check.