PAWSitive pet therapy volunteers visit area senior centers, nursing homes, and other facilities with their CGC certified dog (or therapy certified cat). All PAWSitive Therapy dogs are well behaved and current on vaccinations. The Naperville Area Humane Society works with the volunteers and facilities to ensure a perfect match for both parties. Currently, Pawsitive Pet Therapy volunteers visit 38 locations and dedicated over 1,100 hours in 2017.

The Dogs

Some of the PAWSitive dogs are rescued, each having their own stories to tell, and we believe that people can relate to their hardships, often comparing their own stories to the dog’s stories of fear, loneliness, and neglect.

The Experience

However, we believe the program goes much deeper as the human-animal bond is very powerful. Our PAWSitive therapy animals and handlers aim to provide support, comfort and companionship to the people and facilities they visit. Interaction with the dog, his unconditional love and limitless patience is an experience that cannot be described. 


The Naperville Area Humane Society's Paws for Tales animal-assisted reading program provides schools with certified volunteer-dog team visits, which help children of all ages to feel more comfortable by reading aloud to a dog in a non-judgmental, supportive environment.

Since the program began in 2009, educators have consistently shared that their students' reading skills as well as classroom behavior have improved while part of the program. The Naperville Area Humane Society supplies the books, which all contain humane themes such as kindness, empathy, and compassion. Participating children also receive bookmarks with the animal’s picture from their furry friend!

Our Paws for Tales program will motivate many children to improve their reading skills; however, the program goes much deeper. The bond between humans and animals is very powerful. Interacting with and reading to a therapy animal while they provide unconditional love and limitless patience is an experience that cannot be described. Positive effects on the participating child have been observed even on the first reading session with the dog. Paws for Tales is currently active in over 60 locations and reached over 7,000 children in 2017!   

Check out this video of one of our teams and the impact that they have had at a local school:

Donations of Amazon gift cards enable us to supply the Paws for Tales program with books.

Interested in becoming a pET Therapy volunteer?

We continually seek additional volunteers with their own friendly dog or cat, as well as facilities to participate in our program. As a Paws for Tales or PAWSitive Therapy volunteer you will visit area senior centers, schools, and other facilities with your own certified dog or cat. Your dog needs to be well-behaved and current on vaccinations. We have a CGC evaluator on staff and are able to evaluate and certify animals right here at the humane society.

There are numerous facilities throughout the surrounding communities that would like visits from our volunteers. We will work with you to find the right facility and the right schedule. There are facilities that would like visits during weekdays, weeknights, weekends or for special events. For more information on becoming a Pawsitive Pet Therapy or Paws for Tales volunteer, please contact our Humane Education Manager, Lauren Lonski at (630)420-8989x1006 or via email at


Naperville Area Humane Society and the Illinois Youth Center - Warrenville Partner in a New Endeavor: Project Pawsitive Future. The Project Pawsitive Future Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program is a goal-directed intervention that utilizes the training of dogs as a motivator and teacher, helping the youth of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice’s Illinois Youth Center - Warrenville achieve their therapeutic goals. Juvenile center programs utilizing dogs have proven successful in institutions nationally and internationally. These type of programs are particularly effective because of their unique benefit to the incarcerated youth and the community. Project Pawsitive Future is advantageous for the participating youth because it teaches values such as patience and dedication. This program also acts as a constructive positive management tool for the institution because it is an incentive for good behavior and allows youth to give something back to the community.

Under Project Pawsitive Future, there are two youth trainers who are taught obedience training skills, and are then are paired with a dog from NAHS who would benefit from training. The program and youth are supervised by youth center mental health staff, with the assistance of other departmental employees. The goal for the dog, at the conclusion of the 3 week program, is to obtain a Canine Good Citizen certificate and then be placed up for adoption. 

The project aims to assist youth trainers in developing teamwork, patience, and organization skills. Project Pawsitive Future is a small program that offers large takeaways for both the youth and the dog. While the youth are helping to transform the lives of these dogs, the dogs are helping the youth be happier, more productive members of society. Thanks to the human-animal bond, the youth have reported sleeping better, feeling better, and have gained valuable interpersonal skills. Once the youth are back in society, they can apply these skills when interacting with their families, coworkers, and community members. 

Pennies for Pets and Penny Wars

Pennies for Pets

Pennies for Pets

Pennies for Pets is a spare-change fundraiser that raises money and awareness for the animals at the Naperville Area Humane Society, and it is a great and easy way to incorporate humane education in a classroom or group anytime of the year! If you are interested in participating in Pennies for Pets, the Naperville Area Humane Society will provide your class or group with a free humane education presentation, collection jar, poster, and a thank-you gift. You can decide how long to participate in Pennies for Pets as well as create your own rules (e.g., compete against other groups or classrooms).classrooms).

Pennies for Pets is a year-round fundraising effort for the Naperville Area Humane Society. If you are interested in participating, please contact our Humane Education Manager, Lauren Lonski at (630) 420-8989 x1006 or via email at  

Penny Wars

Penny Wars is a fun way to incorporate some friendly competition in the classroom and to show children that every penny counts towards helping a homeless animal. Penny Wars is a coin collection fundraiser (with a twist) in which classrooms (or the entire school!) can compete against other classrooms or (grade levels) to see who can collect the most spare change for the animals at the Naperville Area Humane Society. Each penny equals one point and each silver coin or dollar bill reduces the points...and this is where strategy counts, so have fun with it!

Penny Wars registration for Fall 2017 coming soon. For more information on Penny Wars, please contact our Humane Education Manager, Lauren Lonski at (630) 420-8989 x1006 or via email at