Pawsitive Connections is back!

FSD dogs help students in therapeutic program

“Thank you for your time. Dogs are very very good. I will miss all of you.” So reads a thank-you note from a young student who participated in Freedom Service Dogs’ Pawsitive Connections program last year. Designed to support children and youth on the autism spectrum and with other developmental and intellectual disabilities, this therapeutic program was on hold for 2020-21 due to pandemic-related restrictions at schools.

Happily, Pawsitive Connections returned in fall 2021, with interns from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, assisted by FSD staff, facilitating 10 Pawsitive Connections sessions for elementary, middle-school, and high-school students at seven Denver-area schools. Eighty-five students worked with FSD service dogs in training as part of specially designed animal-assisted activities meant to help them develop skills that will help them learn and grow.

After each session, the facilitators made observations and comments based on the students’ behavior as a group. The results confirmed that the 2021 Pawsitive Connections program succeeded in developing participating students’ skills, such as empathy, respectful social interaction, interpersonal communication, recognition of emotions, and emotional regulation. In addition, the students also gained empowerment and confidence.

We’re delighted that Pawsitive Connections will continue in local schools this fall. To learn more, click here or email [email protected] to inquire about putting your school on the Pawsitive Connections waiting list.  

Contact Erin Conley at for all media inquiries.