Take A Paws CA
Take A Paws CA, LLC was founded by Miranda Spence, a dedicated social worker with a passion for the human-animal bond and its impact on mental health. Miranda Spence's upbringing in the Los Angeles, CA area ignited her deep-seated love for animals from an early age. Her connection with the natural world was fostered by shared moments of feeding the local wildlife with her grandfather and regular family visits to the LA zoo. As she matured, Miranda's passion for animal training and behavior grew, leading her to dedicate nearly a decade to a career in training dogs. Notably, she trained her own therapy dogs, Venice and later, Venice's Daughter, Nugget. This hands-on experience provided her with invaluable insights into canine body language, behavior, and developmental patterns, eventually culminating in the attainment of her American Kennel Club Evaluator Certificate.
Miranda's journey into this field began in 2015 when she established Golden Trail Kennels in Southern California as a breeder and trainer of golden retrievers and German Shepherds. Through careful aptitude testing and home matching, she fostered connections between families and puppies, ensuring the best possible matches. As Miranda delved deeper into dog training, her interest in therapy dog work grew. Miranda's extensive experience in breeding and training dogs has yielded remarkable outcomes, with many of the puppies she nurtured going on to become invaluable service animals, therapy animals, a police k9 used for drug detection, and even search and rescue dogs. Her dedication has not only enriched the lives of these canines but also positively impacted the individuals and communities they serve.
Her profound understanding of animals and their connection with humans sparked a curiosity about the potential benefits of these connections for the human psyche. To delve deeper into this idea, Miranda embarked on an educational journey that commenced with an Associate's degree in Psychology and Social/Behavioral Studies from Moorpark College. This foundation of knowledge paved the way for her pursuit of a Bachelor's degree in Social Work at California State University, Chico. During her bachellors program, Miranda's growing interest in ecotherapy and holistic approaches to healing led her to a meaningful role as a peer counselor at Chico State's WellCat Counseling Center, a facility with a collaborative partnership with Butte Ecological Reserves. Their shared vision aimed to bring ecotherapy groups to both the campus community and the broader student body. It was during this period that the concept of 'Take a Paws' began to take shape, its growth and relevance apparent in the increasing demand for their services. Over time, 'Take a Paws' has expanded into the thriving entity it is today.
As she nears the completion of her Master's degree in Social Work, scheduled for this coming May 2024, Miranda envisions the path forward as she strives to become a registered Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). This pursuit will entail the acquisition of the necessary supervision hours to specialize as an animal-assisted psychotherapist. Miranda Spence has recently received the prestigious CALSWEC Public Behavioral Health Fellowship, a remarkable recognition of her dedication and expertise in the field of behavioral health. Currently, she is collaborating with Chelsea Cornell, Molly Calhoun, Blake Ellis, and the School of Social Work at Chico State University on an endeavor of significant impact. Their shared mission involves developing a comprehensive curriculum for an Equine Assisted Therapy Certification program designed to equip practitioners with the knowledge and skills necessary for this specialized field. This initiative, which stands as her culminating thesis project, underscores Miranda's commitment to advancing the therapeutic potential of human-animal interactions. Her work in this domain not only reflects her passion for animal-assisted therapy but also serves as a testament to her dedication to the welfare of individuals seeking healing and support. As her journey continues, Miranda's contributions to the field are poised to leave a lasting legacy.
Today, Take A Paws events remain regularly held where it all started, at CSU Chico's "The Well," every other Wednesday During Fall and Spring semester from 3:15-4:15pm. You can find our event dates here
As we look to the future, we envision expanding our services, creating more opportunities for animal connections, and making a lasting impact on the well-being of individuals and communities of Northern California.
If you would like to learn more about our plans for the future or contribute to our cause through donations, please read "The Future of Take A Paws."
Miranda Spence, MSW