The Power of Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy®
One of the core features of Paws for Purple Hearts is our Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy® sessions that are held around the country. Most people associate our organization with our Service Dog placements alongside the Veterans of our country, but even more influential and critical than those are these sessions.
Paws for Purple Hearts pioneered the term Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy® in our early years as a non-profit. Within the Service Dog community, we were the first organization to achieve a program as powerful and beneficial as this is. What is Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy®, or CAWT®, you may ask? CAWT allows Warriors from all backgrounds to come in and assist our professional PPH trainers in working with our Dogs-In-Training. These sessions give Veterans a chance at not only training with our dogs, but forming a connection with them that provides countless opportunities for growth both physically and mentally.
More than anything, this program gives participants the opportunity to directly help their fellow Warrior by providing these training sessions to a Service Dog-In-Training that will someday contribute even greater service to someone who needs them. By engaging in this process, these canines are also being supplied the chance to interact with a wide variety of individuals who are all experiencing different levels of emotions and abilities.
As many of our readers know, dogs have a keen capability to sense and uncover a person’s emotional state no matter how hard they try to mask them. So, over the course of these sessions, our canines are helping to break down the barriers that an individual may have in place to begin with. The dogs not only show them how to trust again, but how to overcome obstacles that they might not have even been aware of.
We have conducted various studies researching the benefits of our CAWT program and have uncovered far more than we ever hoped. In talking to the President and CEO of Paws for Purple Hearts Dr. Bonita Bergin, she noticed immediately that there is a decrease in depression and anxiety as a result of participating in our sessions:
“It is clear to see the influence of the dogs on these individuals and how powerful their connections are. Beyond that, we find that it provides them with a mission driven focus to help train these dogs, giving them a renewed sense of purpose in their day to day lives.”
Additionally, Dr. Bergin found that participants leave sessions with positive outlooks and increased sociability, which is extremely important when it comes to successfully readjusting to civilian life after leaving the military. She states that, “Individuals who suffer with PTSD experience high states of tension and anxiety when they attempt to re-enter mainstream society and function in public places. Training a Service Dog requires socialization opportunities for the dogs, creating the motivation for the Servicemen and women who are training them to go out into the community. The dog’s presence is the perfect tool to lower their state of arousal and provides an external focus for the individuals who are training the dogs.”
We are unbelievably proud to offer this unique program to those who have served our country and over our 11 years as an organization, we have been able to offer this program to over 15,000 Warriors. We would like to take a moment to thank all those who have participated or are still participating in sessions alongside the Paws for Purple Hearts Team. We couldn’t do it without you and we will continue to be eternally grateful for your service.
Looking to help our cause? We couldn’t do what we do without our supporters! Please consider helping us spread the word about our mission to your community. Your support allows us to continue to fulfill our mission in helping Veterans and Active Duty Service Members. By simply helping us get the word out there, you are helping us to continue to fulfill our mission. Please also consider a monetary donation or donating from our Amazon Wishlist to help our cause.