Paws for Purple Hearts Opens Center in San Antonio Deep in the Heart of Texas
Paws for Purple Hearts Opens Service Dog and Canine Therapy Center Deep in the Heart of Texas – First of its Kind to Serve Military City USA
SAN ANTONIO — Paws for Purple Hearts (PPH) is celebrating the opening of its new San Antonio facility located at Port San Antonio on Wednesday, September 20th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The hard-charging non-profit 501(c)3 organization provides Warrior Canine Therapy™ and top-tier service dogs to Veterans and active-duty military personnel (Warriors) dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The San Antonio location will be the organization’s fifth site in the country and its first in Texas.
Warrior Canine Therapy™ is an innovative therapeutic approach developed by PPH to help Warriors overcome the symptoms of PTSD and TBI. Therapy participants learn non-coercive techniques while helping train the service dogs PPH will place with other Warriors with service-related issues such as mobility impairments, PTSD and/or TBI. The principles learned and the structured interaction with puppies and dogs has a beneficial effect.
PPH is already making a difference in the Military City Community. San Antonio based staff routinely visit local VA Medical Centers to conduct canine socialization therapy with Veterans there. The PPH team is also helping with Hurricane Harvey recovery by providing supplies, housing stranded dogs, and collecting supplies from the community in coordination with local authorities. PPH also offers ”Puppy Parent” volunteers the opportunity to foster dogs on weekends and overnight during the week, allowing the dogs in training to experience different settings and interact with a wide variety of people.
“We’re very excited to serve San Antonio and all of South Texas! I have a special place in my heart for this area, as I was once stationed here when I served in the Navy. Now I’m back with a dedicated team ready to provide life-changing therapy and top-of-the-line service dogs to help empower our nation’s injured Warriors. They have given so much for us and the freedoms we enjoy. This is the least we can do for them!” said Dave Platte, PPH’s Chief Operating Officer.
The PPH facility, located at 202 Red Horse Drive, Building 3 within Port of San Antonio, features two large indoor training areas. The first is for service dog training, and includes an area where puppies can observe adult dogs in training to accelerate their learning. The second area provides extra service dog training and therapy session capacity. It can also be used for Warriors and their families to learn basic canine obedience. Following the model that is already in use at Bergin College, a veterinary office will also be part of the facility, where local vets can donate time and services to check on the puppies and dogs on site.
It takes about 2 ½ years to fully train and prepare a top-tier service dog capable of providing support to a quadriplegic level patient. The dogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, are meticulously bred to ensure they will be calm and intelligent companions. The animals learn more than 100 commands and their training encourages them to think and solve problems. Thus prepared, PPH’s service dogs are ideally suited to assist their partner Warriors re-integrate fully into the community.
Once the dogs complete their training, they are paired with Warriors who have sustained service-related injuries resulting in mobility challenges, PTSD and/or TBI as documented by a doctor or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These dogs reside with their new owners for the rest of their lives as their helpful companions. There is no cost to the Warrior.
PPH routinely accepts applications via its website for service dogs, Warrior Canine Therapy™, and volunteer activities such as “Puppy Parenting” (weeknight and weekend hosting). Visits to the facility by the public and the press are welcome with prior coordination and during published open hours. Donations to support PPH’s life-changing programs are always welcome. Please visit https://pawsforpurplehearts.org/ for more information.
Paws for Purple Hearts is a non-profit service dog and canine-assisted therapy organization for wounded active duty Service Members and Veterans, working to improve the lives of our nation’s Warriors facing challenges such as PTSD, TBI and mobility impairments. www.pawsforpurplehearts.org