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Paws for Public Health

 In Events, PPH Menlo Park, Press Release, Service Dogs

May is both Mental Health Awareness month and Military Appreciation Month.  These two causes are close to our hearts here at Paws for Purple Hearts. The current pandemic has led to some changes in the way we accomplish our mission – to improve the lives of America’s Warriors facing mobility challenges and trauma-related conditions such as PTSD and TBI by providing the highest quality assistance dogs and canine-assisted therapeutic programs – but the COVID-19 challenge doesn’t stop our efforts to help our brave Warriors in need!

Liberty wants our Warriors to know that they are not alone
Liberty wants our Warriors to know that they are not alone

#OperationPawsitivity

Like many other services, some of our unique Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy® sessions have been put on hold for the time being due to social distancing requirements, but we are actively finding ways to stay connected to those who may be feeling isolated during this time. #OperationPawsitivity is an opportunity to show our Warriors that we are still here, thinking of them every day even though we can’t be with them in person. With the help of our community, we are spreading messages of thanks, encouragement and positivity to our Veterans and Service Members. If you know a Veteran or service member in need of some encouragement visit our website or search #OperationPawsitivity in your social media channels.

Arri visits a Veteran at the Menlo Park VA
Arri visits a Veteran at the Menlo Park VA

Social Therapy

PPH Menlo Park has been able to visit the Community Living Center at the Menlo Park VA every Thursday during this shelter in place. Because of the concerns of Covid-19 we were not permitted to enter the building but we had the opportunity to visit the Veterans and Service Members with window visits. Our dogs enjoyed playing tic-tac-toe and giving kisses through the window trying to do anything that we can to stay connected even if it’s from a distance.

We also were able to visit with the National Guard and California Emergency Medical Services Authority staff on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak response. Hoping to provide a moment to decompress, we provided social therapy to hospital staff and members of the National Guard. According to MilitaryTimes, as many as 28,000 troops have been called across the nation to assist efforts to respond, mitigate and control the COVID-19 pandemic. They are working around the clock to care for individuals, providing enhanced care capacity and building medical field hospitals.

FB Live

As we are unable to meet in person and do all of our Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy sessions, we have been broadcasting live weekly, from each of our PPH training centers to stay connected to our Warriors and supporters. To see the specific times and dates for each site’s Facebook live check out our event page on the PPH website. You don’t need a Facebook account to watch!  Just visit each of our site’s Facebook pages to view the videos: Menlo Park, San Antonio, Virginia, San Diego and Alaska.

New Videos on our YouTube channel!

During the COVID-19 lockdown, we have been cranking out entertaining and informative videos at each of our locations to help engage with our Warriors, supporters and the general public out there!  Our new batch of YouTube channel videos range from more serious, training oriented features to more casual play time and adventure sessions.  The training videos demonstrate how our puppies and dogs learn and grow their skills.  In one video, service dog in training Leo learns how to put his toys away.  The more casual videos show our puppies and dogs enjoying some much-needed downtime and have some truly hilarious and heart-warming moments!  One clip features service dogs in training Benny and Max playing Tic Tac Toe with dog treats!

Help us Help our Warriors

Just like our Warriors still need us, we still need you!  Please show your support to our Warriors by spreading positive messages of hope using the hashtag #OperationPawsitivity, check in with a Veteran or Service member that you know. The COVID-19 pandemic can’t stop our mission. We’d be honored if you would consider helping us out from the safety and comfort of your home by making a gift on our website or texting “purplepaws” to 707070 to donate.

Liberty gives a kiss to a member of the National Guard
Ozzy and Liberty want to remind our Warriors: if you or someone you know is in need of support, the Veterans Crisis Line is a free and confidential resource.
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