The 2012 Frisky Give Guide: The Good Dog Foundation

This holiday season, The Frisky staff is committed to giving back. Throughout the month of December we’ll be telling you about some of the charities and nonprofits that we support, why they’re important to us, and how you can support them too, if you’re so inclined. 

Who they are: The Good Dog Foundation

What they do: The Good Dog Foundation is devoted to bringing people who are suffering — from trauma, from loss, from illness, etc. — the comfort offered by the nonjudgemental love and support of specially trained therapy dogs. They provide therapy dog services to people in health care, social service, educational and community facilities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and at disaster sites around the country. (Currently, a similar group has sent therapy dogs to Newtown, CT, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.)

Why I support them: As a dog owner myself, I can attest to the healing power of a pup’s presence, cuddles, and kisses. Some of the hardest days of my life — including the recent passing of my dad — have been made more bearable by the loyal presence of my dog Lucca. But there are many other people out there who are not able to have a pet who, in difficult times, could use that support and love too. Last year, the Good Dog Foundation was able to serve more than 330,000 patients, clients and staff thanks to generous donations and volunteers.

Good Dogs sit with children and listen patiently as they learn how to read, visit patients suffering from various illnesses, and have been dispatched to provide company for survivors of national disasters, like Hurricanes Katrina, Irene and Sandy. The Good Dog Foundation also works with various other organizations to help children with special needs; children with Austism who have spent time with Good Dogs have shown improved verbal skills and reductions in disruptive behaviors. The Good Dog Foundation also partners with anti-bullying groups, and the animals become an integral part of students starting a dialogue on kindness, responsibility and communication.

How you can support them too: Make a tax deductible monetary donation, which goes toward training volunteers, funding education and awareness programs, and helps provide materials for their various facilities. Or, if you have a dog of your own, the two of you can apply to become certified as one of the organization’s handler/therapy dog teams.

Stay tuned for more ways to spread the good cheer, and if you have a nonprofit organization you feel strongly about, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments!