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Give Birmingham: Hand in Paw

Hand in Paw is Alabama’s premier Animal-Assisted Therapy provider and a national leader in this growing field. At Hand in Paw, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we train qualified animals and their owners to work as a team in therapeutic settings. HIP teams become heroes to people of all ages dealing with emotional and physical life challenges. These Therapy Teams deliver positive distraction, motivation, empathy and compassion in several medical centers, schools, and human service organizations across Central Alabama and Tuscaloosa. At no time has Hand in Paw charged for its services.


To improve human health and well-being through Animal-Assisted Therapy.


In 2021, Hand in Paw celebrated 25 years of service to the community.

Hand in Paw’s Founder, Beth Franklin, was awarded Birmingham Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022.

Today, Hand in Paw has 49 Program Partners, 80 Therapy Teams, and 17 Visit Assistants.

2,182 therapeutic visits and 2,595 volunteer hours were logged by Therapy Teams in 2022, where they made over 40,000 interactions in the community.

Hand in Paw has 3 main program areas: HIP Heals focuses on mental health, wellness and compassion. HIP Reads focuses on education, literacy and special education. HIP Cares which focuses on life skills, mentoring and animal advocacy.

To learn how to become a Hand in Paw Therapy Team and bring comfort and joy to others, visit

Upcoming Events

Mutt Strut (April 22) Hand in Paw’s annual dog-friendly 5k and 1 mile fun run happening on April 22 at Homewood Central Park. Tickets at

Picasso Pets (August 19) Hand in Paw’s signature auction featuring a chic cocktail reception, star therapy animals, delectable drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and a live auction happening August 19 at The Harbert Center. 

617 38th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35222


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