Pet Therapy began in Fort McMurray in 1989 when two residents and their dogs began visiting seniors at Araubasca House and the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre. The group grew to 10 members and continued until 1995 when it was dissolved.
In 1999, Brian Jackson with his two Newfoundlanders and Marsha Smart with her Bernese Mountain Dogs began a new chapter in Pet Therapy. They joined the Northern Alberta Pet Therapy Association and went through a formal training program. The next year, Donna and Doug McCullough with Boomer, and Dan Salomons with Sam joined the program. This small but mighty group made a huge impact in the start of PAWS.
In 2002, the need for a local training program was recognized as more and more people and pets wanted to become involved in Pet Therapy and more facilities were interested in having visitors. Pets And Wellness in Fort McMurray (PAWS fm) was the result and was a program under the SPCA of Fort McMurray. The first course was held in 2002.
In 2010 the program underwent a small transformation, including a new logo and a modified name – PAWS for People
In 2013 PAWS moved under the umbrella for the Canadian Mental Health Association.
In 2019 the Pets And Wellness Society was created as its’ own Non-Profit Society in Fort McMurray/Wood Buffalo