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Healing Paws®

Animal Assisted Therapy Provider

 

"a special kind of listening"

Contact Us:

cwdudzik@healingpaws.com

(425)488-3061

TESTIMONIALS & PHOTOS

 

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The Dudzik family and Healing Paws welcome Viggo (black Lab), who joined our pack November, 2016.  

He has already learned that Ruby, Papillion on the left, thinks she is in charge.  

Cozy is to Ruby's right and Paddy is our yellow Lab.

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Testimonials from satisfied clients:

 

I have had the pleasure of working with Christi Dudzik and Healing Paws for over 10 years in my position as coordinator of the Animal Assisted Activity program at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

 

Christi has been instrumental in the success of our program. She does outstanding work as a mentor and consultant. Watching her and her Pet Partners special interactions with families is always a reminder of her exceptional skills, sensitivity and professionalism.  She has taught me so much.  I greatly appreciate all she has done for our program.

 

Rosalie Frankel MA, ATR-BC

Child Life Department 

Seattle Children's

 

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Christi Dudzik is simply changing the world!  She has been a teacher, business coach, and advocate.  

 

Her passion for dogs, and her belief in their incredible ability to bond with humans, is inspiring and motivating.  She has paved the way -- a truly gifted mentor to all of us who want to work with dogs to promote physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. 

 

Her experience with the Pet Partners® organization is legendary – and anyone interested in this type of work or volunteering will benefit from her workshops, classes and support.   If you haven’t worked with or learned from Christi Dudzik – you are missing a marvelous opportunity!  

 

Melanie
Owner, K-911 Therapy Dogs on Call and a Pet Partners® volunteer. 

 

Over the past several years, Christi Dudzik has been an integral part of our AAA/T (Animal Assisted Activities Therapy) program here at Providence Hospice of Seattle.  When the program was launched in 2009, we asked Christi to serve as a private evaluator for our licensed handler/dog volunteer teams.  Knowing this to be a “delicate” role, I have been in awe watching her give advice, and encourage the handlers thoughtfully but tactfully.  Being an expert in dog raising and handling herself, Christi holds a very high standard.  I have learned so much from her and look forward to working with her to provide a loving caring approach to our volunteer teams who visit our fragile patients and families.

 

Cate Magnusson

Complementary Therapy Coordinator
Providence Hospice of Seattle

One of Healing Paws Client's Cynophobia (fear of dogs) Story:

 

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"Christi Dudzik has significantly changed our lives this year by helping our daughter overcome her fear of dogs. Our daughter was traumatized by a dog when she was three. Subsequently, she had nightmares and was extremely fearful of any dog. An opportunity arose for our daughter, now age nine, to attend a week-long camp with a resident dog this past summer. This prompted us to contact Christi to see if she could help us work through our daughter's fear.

 

Christi willingly and patiently took on the challenge of working with our very reluctant daughter weekly over a two-to-three month period. Her nurturing and kind approach allowed our daughter to make choices about next steps, but also led her mentally and emotionally through some tough sessions.

 

The first steps of learning dog safety through videos, books and working with stuffed animals provided a gentle introduction. Christi then brought her well-trained dogs into the sessions. Through tears and anger, our daughter was gently encouraged to meet the dogs using safe techniques. Our daughter's self-esteem was maintained through each session and each step was rewarded with lots of positive reinforcement.

 

The final few sessions were amazing to watch. Our daughter was actually calling Christi's dog, Sugar, to run towards her as part of a training routine! The final graduation session was also a huge step in that our daughter had the opportunity to meet several dogs at once in a dog training class. She demonstrated that she could confidently enjoy being around dogs and had lost the fear and apprehension. She now wonders what took her so long to get over the fear. My daughter enjoyed her week at camp this year and also played outside with girl friends this summer. She has even made friends with and plays with the golden retriever next door!

Christi's counseling skills and experience in working with therapy dogs made all the difference in helping my daughter through this major life hurdle. We sincerely thank her for all the time and effort she expended to make this happen!"

 

Another Healing Paws Client's Cynophobia (fear of dogs) Story:

 

“My healing journey started over one year ago when I encountered Christi and her amazing pet partners.  Until then I had lived most of my life with this biggest fear of dogs, although part of me secretly was longing for being a dog owner one day.  Sounds crazy?  I agree. 

 

I’ve always wondered what’s wrong with me and often felt sad about having such an uncontrollable fear toward even toy dogs.  The terror of getting bitten or even injured severely by dogs impacted my lifestyle in many ways and resulted in my defensive behaviors in dealing with dogs no matter where I went. 

 

My father’s passing in 2010 re-affirmed me that I should do what I really want to do and live fully at this present moment.  I still feel it almost a miracle that her friend, who I ran into at a beauty salon, introduced me to Christi at that time. 

 

From the beginning all the way through, Christi and her dogs totally understood my needs/wants and have worked with me in a very professional manner, step-by-step, with so much empathy, kindness, and patience.   I am now confident of and comfortable with meeting and greeting with dogs.  I am eternally grateful to Christi and all of her Pet Partners (Ruby, Paddy, Cozy, Shug, and Teddy) for having helped me conquer my biggest fear of life and finally enjoy life with my own dog!!!”   

   

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"a special kind of listening"

Testimonials continued:

 

I have always loved volunteering. I have always loved dogs. The perfect fit for me, is therapy work, with my buddy Armani.

 

I had trained under another program with my other female dog, but found it lacking. When it came time to train Armani, I did some research.

 

First, let me explain, Armani is a Dogue de Bordeaux. In other words, he is 160 lbs of mastiff love. This can be quite intimidating to some folks, but not for Christi, at Healing Paws. Christi was very gracious and encouraging, giving me breed specific pointers and offering spot on training. Our training class even included a cat, normally what Armani might call "lunch". The atmosphere in the classes was calm and controlled. Armani did an amazing job.

 

I would highly recommend Christi and her program at Healing Paws. When you volunteer it always seems that you get back so much more than you give. Christi’s support and encouragement has given  me the tools to do just that.  

 

Kim & Armani

 

"My dog Gizmo and I took Christi's 7 week training course.  What a wonderful class!  Christi is an excellent instructor and I would highly recommend this class to people considering this line of volunteer work.  She is knowledgeable, patient and extremely committed to the therapy program.  I cannot say enough nice things about her or this program!"


Jennifer & Gizmo

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The Therapeutic Power of Paws

 
The therapeutic power of paws is nothing new to Christi Dudzik, founder of Healing Paws Inc. "I've always had a very strong connection with my dogs, explains Christi.

 

In 1992, while working on my master's in counseling at Seattle University, I had a professional epiphany. A friend of mine was really upset, and it seemed like no words could offer comfort to her. Then my dog Bear, whom I called my four-footed soul mate, instinctively approached her and made her feel better. Bear showed me the power of animal-assisted therapy and inspired me to start Healing Paws Inc.  I discovered the Pet Partners organization (then Delta Society), took the very first therapy team workshop they offered, eventually became one of their Instructors and Evaluators, and the rest is history."

 

The Healing Paws program is not designed to replace current therapies, but to enhance the work that is already being done. One of the several facilities Christi and her registered Pet Partners dogs (visiting with one therapy dog at a time) work with is Seattle Children's. 

“We are there weekly.  For however many patients we see, we touch at least twice as many adults, parents, visitors, and staff. You have to give the staff time, because the healthcare setting is so fast-paced and emotional," explains Christi. "To be able to stop and look at a warm, furry face, to reach down and pat the dog, it just takes them away from the stress of life. It's a wonderful break, even if it's just for a few seconds."

 

Healing Paws focuses on the whole person -- physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual. The therapy animals serve to motivate individuals in their therapies, to bridge communication gaps and offer opportunities for connection with another living being and the therapy animal itself.

 

"My dogs tend to be big clowns," adds Christi. "They are very engaging and interactive." They have participated in obedience classes and are willing to perform "tricks.” I teach patients hand signals to do with the dogs, giving them a tremendous sense of empowerment and fun. The whole experience lightens the patient's heart, and it gives parents, visitors, and staff a tremendous sense of joy to see their loved one, or patient, smiling and acting more like themselves again, even if he or she is surrounded by tubes," says Christi.

 

Visit our SERVICES & TRAINING page to explore our Services and Training offerings.

 

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Photos

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Paddy checking on a patient

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Past Healing Paws employees

Teddy and Shug

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Ruby enjoying her time with a patient

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Teddy and the 3 year olds listen to the instructions

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Meecah gets an ear rub while visiting with a patient

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Shug meets a new friend, while teaching "dog safety"      

 

Other species provide therapy

 

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