Serving Those Who Have Served Us
Among America’s warriors, there’s high demand for service dogs and for new ways to help trauma-related conditions. Since 2001, too many military service members and veterans suffer battlefield scars. Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Traumatic brain injury, known as TBI. Military sexual trauma, called MST. Or mobility impairments. And, all too often, the price for inaction is steep. Broken families, isolation, alcoholism, drug abuse, poverty, homelessness, and worst of all, suicide.
Training service dogs for veterans and active duty service members- as well as for facilities – can help. This is why Paws for Purple Hearts invented this therapeutic intervention. It all started – and was proven beneficial – as a pilot program at Bergin College of Canine Studies in 2006. Then two years later, Paws for Purple Hearts rolled out its very first Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy at the Palo Alto Health Care System.
What started at a single Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Menlo Park, California has since grown to five centers nationwide. In addition, Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy is now a recognized, and growing, option within trauma-related treatment modalities. All of this together makes Paws for Purple Hearts the nation’s largest, most established, and most innovative top tier service dog provider that helps the most warriors each and every day.
HOW OUR SERVICE DOGS HELP
Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy is unique way to help many active duty and veterans suffering from trauma find healing through helping. Together with expert PPH trainers, program participants care for and train future service dogs for veterans and service members with challenges.
One puppy has big impact. While training, a single Paws for Purple Hearts pup helps 40-60 warriors. Once trained, a PPH dog begins its important career. A PPH pup may be an invaluable facility dog that brightens up a military post or VA hospital. Or a PPH pup may become a life-changing saving service dog for a challenged service member or veteran.
Free Services to All Warriors
All Paws for Purple Hearts services are free to qualified veterans and service members. Unlike others in our field, we do not rely on government contracts or charge for services. No warrior is ever turned away from Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy. All qualified warriors can help train service dogs for veterans and active duty service members. Further, a qualified recipient never pays for a service dog. We accept all qualified service members or veterans regardless of their financial circumstances.
This is only possible thanks to generous individual and corporate donors like you. Please donate today.
How Veterans Help Train Service Dogs for Other Veterans
Paws for Purple Hearts (PPH) Senior Program Instructor, Dan Fudge, is interviewed by Fox TV during the 4th of July weekend. He provides an in-depth explanation of how PPH supports our Veterans. His dog, Kolenko, demonstrates how he helps a Veteran relieve stress.
Donations Help With:
Food and Dietary Supplements
To learn the 106 basic commands, each Paws for Purple Hearts dog needs proper nourishment. This includes premium food, supplements, and of course, treats to motivate learning. In the two-year service dog training period, nourishing each pup costs about $1,350.
In addition, high quality nourishment is essential to helping PPH pups thrive. After all, thriving puppies today become tomorrow’s top tier service dogs for veterans and active duty service members. And just as importantly, it helps them live long, healthy, and productive lives.
Medicine, Vaccines, & Veterinary
Puppies are vulnerable to illness, parasites, and many medical issues. So routine vet checkups and preventive treatments are critical. After all, both keep potential service dogs for veterans and active duty service members healthy. Since only a healthy puppy is receptive to training, Paws for Purple Hearts spends an average cost of $2,790 to keep each dog healthy.
At PPH, we aim to to raise the healthiest service dogs for veterans and active duty service members.
Training Equipment & Simulation Materials
It’s a marvel to see our amazing PPH service dogs perform tasks. Paws for Purple Hearts dogs can open and retrieve items from the refrigerator. They can pull a wheelchair bound warrior up a ramp. They nose light switches and elevator buttons. Teaching service dogs for veterans and active duty service members to help means training them where people do these tasks.
This could be in a home-like environments created in our centers. For other tasks, we go to the right kind of location to work with them. On average, we spend about $2,500 per dog on training equipment for service dogs for veterans and active duty service members.
Opening & Running Paws for Purple Hearts Centers
A PPH center is busy place. Of course, we breed and raise service dogs. At any given time, a center has as many as ten puppies, as service dogs in training. Puppy parents pick up and drop off their young charges. Volunteers assemble to pet newborn puppies.
Paws for Purple Hearts centers also hold therapeutic intervention sessions. Each week, warriors take part in Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy at our five PPH centers.
Our centers are the hub for our important work – training service dogs for veterans and active duty service members. While we try hard to control costs, each center costs around $300,000 to open. And to operate, it’s another $200,000 per year.
Become a Volunteer
Want to support our military heroes? If so, taking advantage of Paws for Purple Hearts volunteer opportunities is the perfect way.
Join our energetic crew and pick the task that suits you best. You could help with puppy care, greet warriors at the front desk, or even help maintain our PPH centers. Regardless of the task, you’re helping warriors heal. Your time also helps them as warriors train service dogs for veterans and active duty service members with challenges.
We Need Your Support
Donations to Paws for Purple Hearts can change a warrior’s life from hopelessness to optimism.
Your generous, tax-deductible donation helps thousands of warriors facing the visible and invisible wounds of war. Our Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy helps them heal as they help others – all with the goal of raising top tier service dogs for veterans and active duty service members with mobility and trauma challenges.
Warriors Helping Warriors
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Testimonials and Quotes
The program helps not only the Veteran who receives the dog as theirs, but it also helps our healing process while we train them.
One of my treatment goals was to get better sleep. Having Lief let me feel safe, and I started sleeping better. She actually woke me from a nightmare, too... My anxiety level went down. I was not so hypervigilant when I had her.
Webb was so much help to me while I was recovering in the VA Menlo Park.... When both King and Webb came to visit, I was in heaven as I have two Bernese Mountain dogs that I hadn't seen in weeks.
Ethan, a PPH dog, showed me there is love and happiness, outside of grief and despair.
PPH was the best therapy for my husband and it brought him closer to me and our daughter
There's only one word for my PPH dog Ollie: Priceless!
Our PPH facility dog's impact has been substantial. The fact of the matter is that he boosts moral for the employees, keeps us sane, and the clients love working with him.
“Learning to be more patient and understanding. How dogs think helps me improve on trying to understand others.”
“Working with the dogs gives me piece of mind and helps me control my anxiety issues so I can lead a more productive life.”
“When I was working with Paul (dog), I stayed calm and was less irritable and more focused and open to treatment at Menlo Park VA.”
“The training helps me lower my stress level and blood pressure. The comfort I get from the dogs far out weighs the thoughts of suicide. Not one negative thought has entered by mind since I started training with the dogs.”
“The comfort of the service dogs distracts from negative thoughts.”
“The dog Leif helped me with my self-esteem. People noticed a difference in when I had her and I’m grateful to Sandra for letting me be a part of this training.”
“I looked at this program as a privilege and honor to be a small part of a dog’s life and knowing I was helping a fellow Vet.”
“The program gave me a sense of responsibility and helped me lower my isolation.”
“The Paws for Purple Hearts program gave me a renewed sense of purpose. I was “giving back” and helping another Vet who was not expecting anything in return. It helped me with anger, self-esteem and survival guilt.”
“Many of our Veterans report that the dogs help them ‘get out of their own head’ and be more present.”
“These dogs can really sense your mood. They know when you’re having a bad day. They give you companionship without judgment. Ibarra (dog) doesn’t need to know why I have the symptoms I have. He just wants to be with me.”