Our Veteran Valentines
Love is in the air this week as we celebrate both Valentine’s Day and National Salute to Veteran Patients week. Paws for Purple Hearts is lucky enough to work with hundreds of veterans every year through our unique Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy® programs that are actually built around love. Not just puppy love, but the hormone that helps promote feelings of bonding and overall well-being – oxytocin.
The “Love” Hormone
It’s no secret that dogs make people feel good, and there is nothing better than the excitement they have when they see you. But did you know there is actually some science behind the feelings you get when interacting with a dog?
Studies have shown that the simple act of stroking a dog or gazing into its eyes releases a rush of the brain chemical called oxytocin. This “love” hormone – released in both humans and dogs -promotes the similar feelings of bonding and well-being between a warrior and service dog, as that of a mother and newborn child. This powerful bond is an important part of the therapy we do with veterans at VA medical centers and at our own facilities.
To promote this bonding and love, our warriors start each therapy session with one-on-one time playing, grooming, and petting our dogs. The bond they form allows for healing and gently guides warriors the learn once again how to connect. These photos show the love hormone in action as our Veteran Valentines spending quality time bonding with our service-dogs-in-training.
PPH Schatzie and Veteran Willie need to be in sync when walking down the stairs, and the bonding they do enables them to work better together during training.
Our dogs meet lots of veterans and active duty service members when visiting places like the USO. A small interaction like a pet or shake from one of our dogs brightens the day of so many warriors
We’re lucky to work on site at the Menlo Park VA where our dogs form strong bonds with veterans every day. Navy Veteran AJ says his favorite thing about PPH George is that he is so even-tempered which is a factor in the success of our dogs.
Do you have a Veteran Valentine?
Romantic love isn’t the only love celebrated during Valentine’s Day. No matter who your Veteran Valentine is – a parent, sibling, partner or friend – you can show them love with a donation to PPH in their honor or memory. Your donation will enable more support, therapy and puppy love for our warriors in need.