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How Paws for Purple Hearts Dogs Make the Holiday Season Brighter

 In Events, General, National, PPH Alaska, PPH Menlo Park, Service Dogs, Volunteers

This year’s holiday season might be the most difficult in our lifetime due to the long shadow cast by the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual social gatherings and family traditions that have been part of the holiday season for generations will be vastly different this year – if they happen at all. Humans are social creatures and crave social interaction. One potential positive outlet for this comes from our furry companions, the dogs, cats, and other friendly critters that help give meaning to our lives. Dogs in particular have a way of making the holiday season bright, ensuring we never feel alone, and reassuring us that things will turn for the better. This year, the role dogs play during the holidays may be more important than ever.

Making Spirits Bright

Dogs brighten the day of those around them – whether they know it or not. Some dogs are specifically trained for this purpose; to ensure that the people they served feel supported, loved and encouraged in every facet of their livelihood. Services dogs are a great example.

Paws for Purple Hearts service dogs help America’s Warriors on their road to recovery, whether their challenge is physical or mental health related. A service dog’s role as a support companion is especially important during the holiday season, when there is normally a spike in mental health symptoms that might be even further exacerbated by the pandemic. The spirit and personality of trained service dogs help with depression and assist with anxiety, ensuring that their owner receives support in the form of unconditional love and social contact. That is more important now than ever.

A Christmas First

One example of the bond that often forms between service dogs and Warriors comes from Ozzy, a 3-year-old golden retriever who recently graduated as a service dog from our Menlo Park site. During his time there, Ozzy, like many other Paws for Purple Hearts dogs, delivered consistent smiles and joy to everyone he met.

Ozzy graduated from Menlo Park in September, and while that part of his life is now complete, a whole new journey is just getting underway. Ozzy now serves as Angela’s full-time service dog and will spend his first Christmas “on the job” with her and her family.

“Sharing the holidays with Ozzy is wonderful. We are celebrating Christmas and New Year with our family and Ozzy has seen his first snow!  I got him a stocking to hang up and presents to place under the tree,” said Angela. “Ozzy and I have a deeper bond now. I can’t imagine my life without him.”

Give the Gift of Support

While it’s tough to show support and appreciation in person this year for the causes you support, there are a myriad of different ways you can help Paws for Purple Hearts remotely, from the comfort of your own home. Here are three ways you can support Paws for Purple Hearts this holiday season:

  1. Sponsor a wreath with Wreaths Across America
    On December 19th, Paws for Purple Hearts groups across America honored Warriors by placing wreaths on the tombstones of the fallen. All year long, for $15, you can purchase a wreath. $5 of each purchase will go to Paws for Purple Hearts.
  2. Sponsor a Paws for Purple Hearts dog
    There are ample opportunities to sponsor Paws for Purple Hearts service dogs throughout the year, but the opportunity is amplified during the holiday season, when the positive impact of a service dog can be especially important. To support a dog, you can visit the Paws for Purple Hearts Amazon Wishlist to select a gift for one of the hardworking service dogs near you or at a favorite remote location in the USA.
  3. Support via Amazon Smile
    Another easy way to donate to the Paws for Purple Hearts cause is by utilizing the Amazon Smile program. If you shop at Smile.Amazon.com, a percentage of your final purchase amount will be donated to the charity you choose. To participate, select Paws for Purple Hearts as your charity of choice at checkout.  If you want to configure Smile so that all your purchases always send a small percentage to Paws for Purple Hearts, just go to http://smile.amazon.com/about  and click Get Started.  Remember, after setting it up, you must always login at https://smile.amazon.com when shopping on Amazon so it properly donates on your behalf to Paws for Purple Hearts.

If you’re looking for other ways to show your support for our Nation’s Veterans, a simple show of personal support can often mean more than think. Write a Christmas card to a Veteran, make a blanket, show your support on social media, or simply check-in with those that are close to you. A simple gesture can go a long way.


Here’s hoping you have a festive and safe holiday season, and a happy New Year.

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