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Leaving Paw Prints on Their Hearts

 In Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy, General, Virginia

At Paws for Purple Hearts (PPH), we are not only dedicated to training the best service dogs for our Veterans, we are also committed to providing Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy® – a program where PPH instructors teach Veterans and Service Members how to train service dogs for their fellow comrades. At our Ruther Glen site in Virginia, Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy® is available throughout the DC Metro and Richmond areas. Because of this huge population, the number of Warriors that attend and complete our program increases weekly.

Paw Prints on Their Hearts

Typically this therapy is delivered at our facility in groups of 4-8 participants. The Program Instructors work alongside the participants’ treatment team to ensure that the Warriors are working through and reaching their personal goals while in the program. We welcome each participant by starting them in our Foundations curriculum, which lasts approximately 8 weeks. During this initial training, the Veterans learn new ways to connect, cope, and feel achievement while working with a service dog in training . Recent participant, Linny, attended Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy® for 8 weeks following a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Linny states, “Being able to see these puppies go from one stage of learning to the next is absolutely amazing. More so than that, any bad day can be made better just being there and interacting with the pups.”

Buck - PPH Virignia Service Dog in Training, Buck Left a Paw Print on Linnys Heart

Buck’s Imprint On Linny

It is undeniable the imprint that the service dogs in training leave on our Warriors’ hearts. Linny was paired with service dog in training, Buck, during his 8 weeks with us and the pair grew with one another, learning to trust and read each other in and outside of the training room. Linny stated, “I honestly believe that it was more therapy for me than training for the pup.”

Linny is one of many Warriors to have completed Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy®, but he is the first Warrior I have witnessed complete the program since my start with the PPH family. To say the least it was heartwarming, and it made me understand the mark that the dogs leave on our Warriors’ hearts. After a teary goodbye and a quick picture for memories, Linny was off and Buck remains serving his Warriors.

Impact A Warrior’s Life

If you would like to participate or contribute to the success stories of our Warriors, I urge you to consider volunteering your time at one of our facilities or making a financial contribution. By making a gift, you are committing to impacting our Warriors’ lives, like Linny. To date, we have impacted approximately 5,894 lives, without patriots like yourself, none of this would be possible.

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