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Service Dog in Training George is Changing the Lives of Warriors like Dylan

 In General, PPH San Diego, Service Dog Training, Training

One hour each week is all it takes for our service dogs in training to have lasting positive impact on the Warriors they serve. The bond between U.S. Marine Dylan and service dog in training George is one that is extra special to the Paws for Purple Hearts staff in San Diego. What started as a one-hour therapy session soon turned into a long-term mutually-supportive friendship.

A Bond from the Beginning

George, a black Labrador Retriever also known as Georgie, is a service dog in training at our San Diego, California facility. He tends to be a favorite among Warriors because he is always excited to see them and he quickly learns to perform complex commands. Dylan met George about a year ago during a Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy Ò session we conducted at Camp Pendleton in partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Battalion – West. He struggled with severe anxiety and depression, so we hoped working with our dogs in this type of positive environment would help to ease the severity of his symptoms, and it did.

George and Dylan practicing the “lay on” command used during night terrors
George and Dylan practicing the “lay on” command used during night terrors

“It had one of the biggest impacts in my life,” Dylan said after his participation in the therapy program came to an end. “Going to those (sessions) and seeing Georgie and the amazing trainers really helped me fight through the week and put a smile on my face every time, and also filled me with joy and happiness.”

That first session spent with us quickly turned into months of relationship building with George.  Now Dylan and George are best friends. While some participants came and went, Dylan came routinely every Tuesday for eight months. He was always ready to greet George and participate with him in our innovative therapeutic sessions.

Always in my Heart

Dylan eventually made plans to move out of California, but he wanted to say goodbye to his best friend George before he left. He stopped in to said goodbye last month, and let our staff know how grateful he was for our program and how it has forever changed his life. Their bond was very special to the San Diego staff, so they stay in contact with Dylan and send updates on George’s service dog training. Dylan’s struggle isn’t over, but he is thankful for George’s impact and says “he will always be in my heart and (will) never leave my memories.”

How can I participate in this type of therapy?

Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy ™ allows Warriors (Veterans and Active Duty Service Members) to assist in training a lifelong service companion for other comrades in need – hence our motto “Warriors helping Warriors.” To any Warrior struggling with trauma related conditions such as PTSD or facing mobility challenges: please visit our webpage to learn more about the services we offer.

How can I help support PPH?

PPH is one of the foremost charities that helps our nation’s brave Warriors who have sacrificed so much for us. Our program relies on the support of the local community. We are always accepting volunteers at our five locations nationwide, as well as both monetary and in-kind donations. Check our amazon wish-lists for items we currently need at each facility.

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