Creating paws-itive change for the socially isolated
25 April 2020 at 8:00 am
Happy Paws Happy Hearts is taking its services online to make them more accessible for those who need them
At a time when physical distancing measures have exacerbated social isolation for many, one Australian charity is using an app to continue pairing rescue animals in need of companionship with vulnerable people.
Happy Paws Happy Hearts works within a rescue shelter to host group programs where people learn to interact with a variety of animals waiting to be adopted.
But founder Zoe Black says the program has been disrupted by the coronavirus crisis.
“Normally, we would be running around 90 group training sessions a month supporting 170 people, working with a variety of rescue animals, but the coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on our charity and has left us feeling helpless,” Black said.
“We are trying to take people out of social isolation, and instead we have seen most of our group isolated at home again.”
To help the growing number of people who are feeling socially isolated, and the thousands of animals waiting in shelters in need of companionship, Happy Paws Happy Hearts is taking its services online.
The charity has partnered with Entegy and Wraapt to provide access to training and resources for everyone in isolation.
The app is designed to help people feel more connected to society by offering access to trainers, rescue animals and a range of videos and courses.
“Through developing the online app, we have gone from just 15 participants during COVID-19 to 117 who are now connected to each other and the animals at the shelters,” Black said.
Participant Brad Donovan said the program was life changing for him.
“I still cherish everything the program offered me, and I’m excited to be part of the online experience,” Donovan said.
“The app is a great idea. There are so many more people isolated now with the coronavirus pandemic and the app allows easy access for more people to get involved.”