Alaska Gets “Bark to School”
All Team Conference
Paws for Purple Hearts held its third annual All Team Conference this month, bringing together PPH teams from regions all across the country, including: Southwest Region, South-Mid Region, Southeast Region, and Northwest Region. This year’s “Bark to School” was held at PPH’s Ruther Glen, Virginia site and included sessions on topics such as ethics, dog confidence-building exercises, PTSD service dog commands, dog temperament assessment, PTSD and suicide, military culture, and even a trip to the local Escape Room for teambuilding! Service dogs-in-training from PPH sites across the country attended the All Team Conference; some of the dogs even came to finish their training with trainers at a new PPH site.
Tamara, Betsey, and Nathan accompanied by service dogs-in-training, Buck and Cheechako, represented PPH’s Northwest Region at “Bark to School”. Traveling by plane from Fairbanks, Alaska to Virginia with two service dogs was quite the adventure! With tight connections between the flights, we were thankful to the airports for providing indoor pet relief areas for dogs traveling by plane, preventing us from being required to exit and re-enter TSA security line.
The flights went smoothly and the service dogs-in-training did a wonderful job in the airports and airplanes on the trip to Virginia. Training days were filled with information, hands-on training sessions, and discussions about Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy programs, industry standards, and future directions. One evening, PPH hosted a Bark B-Q for volunteers, behavioral health professionals, and Veteran participants who dedicate their time to the PPH Ruther Glen site.
It’s always refreshing and recharging to spend time with PPH staff and supporters from other sites, sharing experiences and touching base about Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy taking place at PPH sites across the country, reducing the symptoms of PTSD. Unfortunately, due to the imminent threat of category 4 Hurricane Florence, the All Team Conference had to be cut short so everyone could safely return home.
Paws for Purple Hearts depends on its volunteers and donors to provide Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy and Social Therapy to Warriors across the country.