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Social and Emotional Learning, Character Education, Humane Education, Therapy Dogs
healing species texas


 Healing Species was founded in Orangeburg, SC in 1999 when attorney Cheri Brown Thompson created the Violence Prevention/Intervention through Compassion Education™ curriculum, the first ever animal-assisted Violence-Prevention curriculum to be endorsed by a state board of education, in response to the discoveries she made during her legal studies in criminal law. 


Focusing her studies on “depraved heart” criminals, Cheri became greatly troubled by the link between violence toward animals and violent crime in society – finding that 99% of convicted violent offenders were abused as children and, in turn, inflicted abuse on animals before committing violence against humans. 


The relationship between previous abuse, animal cruelty, and perpetuated human violence led to a founding principle of Healing Species, which is to touch and help heal the heart of a child, invoking empathy – the missing emotion in many violent offenders. 

Healing Species is the first Character Education program in the nation that blended teaching Social and Emotional Learning concepts with Humane Education AND included the assistance of RESCUED DOGS in classrooms.

The result is a nationally recognized, evidenced based, results driven program with chapters in Washington State, Connecticut, Rhode, Island, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, New Zealand and Texas.  Healing Species has also received the listing in the NREPP, Federal Government's Registry of Proven Effective Programs.  The statistics for improved behaviors and academic outcomes are :

  • 62% decrease in aggression

  • 55% decrease in out of school suspensions

  • Overall increase in empathy based decision making

Healing Species Logo Texas

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Formal Definition of Humane Education:


From the Academy of Prosocial Learning

Humane education encourages cognitive, affective, and behavioral growth through personal development of critical thinking, problem solving, perspective taking, and empathy as it relates to people, animals, the planet, and the intersections among them.

​Education taught through the lens of humane pedagogy supports more than knowledge acquisition, it allows learners to process personal values and choose prosocial behaviors aligned with those values.

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Why Rescued Dogs?

"Everything I know I've learned from dogs".       

- Nora Roberts -

Either due to their limp, missing hair or story of survival, the rescued dog gives us all a reason to feel empathy.

Teaching children concepts and practices of courage, perseverance, loyalty, respect, individuality, calm leadership, resilience, compassion and advocacy, the rescued dog is a powerful inspiration and example.

Each dog in our program either online or in the classroom is able to reach even the most shut down children and bring the lessons to life.

meet the texas team

In 2010, the Texas Chapter of Healing Species was formed.  Our work started with one of the most important program implementations for an organization; we started in the maximum security juvenile detention facilities of Harris and Montgomery Counties.  Our first dogs were the most special duo of Bruno and Bear, who have since gotten their wings.  

We have taught in Residential Treatment Centers, Juvenile Detention, Elementary, Middle, Jr. and High School Campuses, after - school programs and special needs schools.  More importantly, we have been joined by some of the most amazing dogs and their wonderful rescuers.  We have been grateful for the opportunity to do work that is meaningful, memorable and inspiring.

Social and Emotional Learning, Character Education, Humane Education, Therapy Dogs
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Lead Instructor

Mallory Morrison and Layla who teaches children not to judge a book by it's cover.

Social and Emotional Learning, Character Education, Humane Education, Therapy Dogs
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Texas Director

Joy leads the Texas Chapter with program implementation in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio

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Ali and her pups, Magnus, Mollie, Balloo, Heidi and little Possum are a the true meaning of "rescuers". Even the pups are rescuers.  

Rescue Dogs Educational Outreach School Assembly Ryan
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Marketing Director and  Photographer

Ryan and his pup Avery joined Healing Species and Dogs of Character 8 years ago.  His magazine LIFE AND DOG help promote rescue efforts nationally.

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Brett and Avery present to schools all over Houston.  He is a professional photographer and LIFE and DOG co creator.  

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Lead Instructor

Andrea and Sammy!  Andrea comes to us with a counseling and teaching background and Sammi comes to us with the biggest heart ever.

healing species texas rescue dogs
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Regional Director

Emily leads the Houston program, training instructors and creating the program for all juvenile detention facilities.

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Vanessa and her girl Scout have been such a gift to our program.  An avid runner, Vanessa uses the lessons Scout taught her about resilience and perseverance in her presentations.

character education for spanish speaking children
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Lead Bilingual Instructor

Mariella comes to us from Peru!

She has been a very important addition to our team for both Assembly and Classroom and Online

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Will came to HS to help teach the bilingual classes with his darling pup, Char who enjoys sitting up in the chairs next to the kids.

Healing Species Rescue Dog
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Guest Instructor

Former Judge Mike Schneider and Elsa teach there are people who "see you with their heart" with their work with our juvenile detention kids 

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