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Do you know a group of people in need of some cuddly companionship? Meet our Canines Who Care! This wonderful team of dogs, and their handlers, are on a mission to make you smile.

If you're interested in having one of our Canines Who Care team members visit your organization or if you can help support our program, please contact Leslie Hutson,


 If you enjoy working with your dog and your dog enjoys socializing with people, then the PAWS Shelter Canines Who Care dog therapy program might be just what you are looking for! We are currently looking for new members to join the team. This wonderful team of handlers and their dogs will visit local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. to help spread smiles & cheer!

All potential Canines Who Care Therapy Dogs should have their basic skills down pat and have a GREAT relationship with their human handler. We do not have any breed restrictions. To graduate the program you will need to:

  • Attend all the training classes (approximately 4 or 5 one hour long classes)
  • Pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test (Click here to view)
  • Visit CWC sites under supervision of a current CWC Team until approved.


Join us for a candidate meet & greet where we can meet you and your dog and review the Canine Good Citizen Test items and talk!

Sunday, June 11, 1:00-3:00 at our Kyle Campus

Sunday, June 25, 1:00-3:00 at our Dripping Springs Campus

Please email: to register for either meet & greet!


Stephanie & Kelly

Kelly is a 7-year old Curly-Coated Retriever. She and I have been a team since she took her first breath. She was the only puppy in her littler. Her mama wasn’t interested in raising her so I bottle fed and hand raised her. That is how she got her registered name, Ayershire She’s One Hot Mess. “Kelly”, because my favorite color is green. We enjoy participating in many sports including Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Agility and Hunting (birds, shed antlers & rats) I have been involved in therapy work with my dogs since the mid 1990’s and enjoy sharing the unconditional love of a dog to others.

Sherilynn & Tucker

When Tucker joined our family in 202, I knew there was something extra-special about him. He fit right into our family, which includes three (human) boys and two blind cats. He has the sweetest, most easy- going disposition (his foster mom accurately described him as “chill”), making therapy dog work a natural path for him. Each visit is a joyful and fulfilling experience for both Tucker and myself. It’s amazing how many smiles appear when a dog walks into a room! Sharilynn & Tucker joined The Canines Who Care as a team in 2022.

Jyl and Vito
Jyl Hershmann-Ross

After working in radio, playing in bands, teaching Middle School English classes and working in the Texas heat training hundreds of dogs for other people, Jyl ended up coming to PAWS and asking if she could just bring her love of working with people and animals and the work she does with Training and TTouch to PAWS Shelter. She brings her 18+ years of experience to the PAW Up program and also trains the Canines Who Care Therapy Dog teams. She dedicates this work to her former partner, Vito, who adored affection and loved being part of a team that brings love and joy to others.

Credentials: CPDT-KA, Level 3 Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practioner

Chelsea & Ralph

Ralph, a former shelter dog at PAWS, ca best be described as a gentle giant, who loves nothing more than to receive all the pets and be a couch-cuddling-companion. He and his human, Chelsea, are new additions to the Canines Who Care Team.

Debbie & Cooper

I’ve always had labs, primarily female & I had planned on getting another female lab puppy after my older girl passed away in 2012. Plans changed, so I started my quest for a male lab that could co-exist with my girl even though that wasn’t really what I wanted! In September of 2012, I adopted Cooper from PAWS and I quickly learned why he was probably at PAWS! He is the most mischievous do I have ever owned but it’s absolutely part of his charm! He’s definitely my furry soulmate!

Debbie & Callie

We are here to hopefully make your day brighter. Callie was adopted on Nov. 21, 2022 from PAWS shelter. We live in Johnson City and love to see, and spread, smiles!

Sandy & Pearl

It has been said that not all Angels have wings, some have 4 paws. Living proof of that is our adopted dog, Pearl. We adopted Pearl ( formerly Violet) from PAWS in August as our home was too empty after the loss of our dog to kidney failure. Little did we know that not only would Pearl fill our home and hearts with joy and amazement, but she spreads that Joy beyond the confines of our home as a newly accepted participant in PAWS Training Program for their Canines Who Care therapy dog program.

Pearl's stature is large, she's a Pyrenees Mix, but her heart and capacity to spread love and joy is exponentially larger than her size! Pearl loves her newfound of visiting those who are confined in nursing homes and challenged in ways I can only image. Words escape me to describe how Pearl, and her countless new friends, share an almost magical connection to each other. I can't begin to imagine how it must feel to be challenged in so many ways, but Pearl seems to innately understand their challenge of coping with life's uncertainties. The joy she delivers is immeasurable and to be witness to the love and comfort she delivers is heartwarming beyond words. She seems to communicate and connect with her new friends in ways that astound and amaze me. To witness such joy, is a gift I never expected to receive when we brought her home to fill our lives as a new furry family member. Pearl's angels are the dedicated staff at PAWS who rescued, cared for and loved her before we had the incredible privilege of adopting her.

Kathy Jo and Sasha Marie
Kathy Jo & Sasha Marie

Kathy Jo has been a world class foster and volunteer for PAWS for over a decade. Sasha Marie was one of Kathy Jo's many sweet fosters and, like several others, she became part of her forever family during the process. Sasha Marie is full to the brim with loving energy that she showers upon anyone and everyone she meets. They have been a wonderful addition to our Canines Who Care team since 2017. 

Angela and Odette
Angela & Odette

Angie and Odette first teamed up in the summer of 2015 after Angie learned about the little terrier mix with the big brown eyes at PAWS Shelter of Central Texas. Even in unfamiliar and uncertain surroundings, Odette’s special, adaptable personality could not be denied. After meeting and receiving enthusiastic approval from Angie’s young sons, Odette was adopted and quickly became an integral part of the family. Recognizing Odette’s unique gift for comforting family members who didn’t feel well and for making friends and family feel cared for, Angie looked into having Odette become a certified therapy dog. Now, with therapy dog training on top of Odette’s naturally sweet disposition and innate abilities, this dream team is ready to spread the love.

Celeste & Walter

Walter adopted me on November 17, 2015. I was volunteering at the PAWS shelter when I saw little Walter in his kennel. I sat with him in the kennel and he climbed onto my lap. We've been buddies since. I'm recently retired and thought the Canine Care program would be a good fit. Walter likes stuffed toys, riding in the car and cuddles. We look forward to participating in this program.

MJ and Peanut
MJ & Bonnie
MJ has fostered dogs for various rescues for nearly 25 years.  In 2017, she went to pick up Bonnie from a local, high-kill shelter, and adopted her shortly thereafter.  Likely a puppy mill dog, Bonnie had to adapt to what it means to be a regular dog in a loving home.  Fortunately, there were other dogs and cats at MJ's house to show her the way.
Two years on, Bonnie is a sweet, silly gal who loves people and is delighted to snuggle and share her happiness and gentle spirit with everyone.  Treats and naps on the sofa are also high on her list.  MJ and Bonnie look forward to brightening the day for everyone they visit — followed by a nap. 🙂
Peanut and Lisa Cantwell
Lisa & Peanut

Lisa is a volunteer at the Kyle Paws Shelter and when she heard about the Canines Who Care program, she couldn’t wait to get herself and her “People-Loving Peanut” enrolled in classes. Peanut absolutely loves people and knows all the staff at Lowe’s and Petco where she is a frequent visitor.  People seem to get a kick out of her just because of her stature, her wiggle when she walks and her puppy eyes staring up at you just asking to be pet.  She can’t wait to meet new people to give them love, smiles and laughs!

Sadly, Peanut has crossed the Rainbow Bridge but was a wonderful addition to our team with the always wonderful Lisa Cantwell. 

Christine, Spunk & Bill
Spunk and Bill found their guardian, Christine, as young adults at the shelter where she volunteers. The dogs are the same kind but quite different in temperament. Scraggly and sweet Bill is looking for guidance and reassurance. Streamlined Spunk is a sharp firecracker, bursting with confidence and game to tackle any challenge. They make a great team and aspire to bring smiles and cheers through Paws’ Vising Pet Program.
Jenny & Sophie

Jenny and sweet Sophie joined our Canines Who Care team in 2017! We are so glad to have them onboard!

Darla & Mojo

Darla and Mojo began their beautiful relationship in February 2015 when he adopted her at the PAWS shelter.  Mojo was rescued from euthanasia at a kill shelter by PAWS and Melody knew this was the companion for Darla…and wow was she right!  Darla is a RYT 200 certified yoga instructor in Austin and Blanco and has also taught Doga…Yoga with your dog!  Mojo accompanies her regularly to many of her classes. His hobbies also include hiking, playing, chasing birds, sleeping and he especially love eating.  But his favorite thing to do is seeing people and getting lots of pets (and treats).

Mandy & Ruthie

Ruthie is the poster girl for rescue Staffys…things did not start off well for her. She was used as a puppy machine and for other not so nice things and then discarded (literally, by the side of the road) and you would think that she would hate people, but no. When rescue picked her up and tended to her wounds and saw to her needs, she responded with kisses and huge smiles. Mandy knew from the minute that she saw her that Ruthie was the dog for her. And from that day forward, everywhere they go they bring love and joy! Mandy & Ruthie have been with Canines Who Care since 2022.

Your Name Here

If you're interested in having one of our Canines Who Care team members visit your organization or if you can help support our program, please contact Leslie Hutson,