Innovation and Impact: Past Projects

Healing Companions

Project Description

As an innovative non-profit organization, Healing Companions, Inc. plans to serve the community in a myriad of ways. Our primary goal is to help eradicate the stigma of mental illness by helping mentally disabled individuals to re-enter the world, living independent and functional lives. These individuals will be paired with psychiatric service dogs (PSDs), who are shelter dogs rescued from potential euthanasia. Trained to mitigate the symptoms of their handler’s respective symptoms due to mental illnesses, these shelter dogs can demonstrate how they can be useful and beneficial to a needy population, rather than fall victim to a "throw away system." Similarly, inmates in a local prison are taught by Healing Companions, Inc. staff how to train these potential psychiatric service dogs to learn their basic skills, thereby developing career potential as dog or animal trainers for their re-entry into the general public. Ultimately, our organization will restore the integrity of three groups - shelter dogs, prison inmates, and those affected by mental illness - and build on their strengths, rather than diminish their capabilities.