Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy® Pioneer
Paws for Purple Hearts is the first organization of its kind to offer Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy® (formerly referred to as Canine Assisted Therapeutic Intervention). We began in 2006 as a research program at the prestigious Bergin College of Canine Studies together with the Menlo Park Veterans Administration Medical Center. Paws for Purple Hearts has since evolved into a separate non-profit organization operating with its own 501(c)(3) status.
Paws for Purple Hearts is the world’s only service dog organization for wounded Service Members and Veterans that partners with Bergin College of Canine Studies. Bergin provides all Paws for Purple Hearts service dogs and trainers.
Founded and led by the famous canine researcher and inventor of the service dog concept, Dr. Bonnie Bergin, Bergin College is the first and only university in the world that focuses on training dogs and learning about dogs. Through its unique mission to advance human-canine studies, it produces the world’s best dog trainers and helps us breed the highest quality service dogs in the world. Although Paws for Purple Hearts is now separate from Bergin College, it’s a cause that is near and dear to Dr. Bergin. Today, she still actively engaged with Paws for Purple Hearts as board member.
Paws for Purple Hearts is the world’s only service dog organization for wounded Service Members and Veterans that partners with Bergin College of Canine Studies. Bergin College is the first and only college in the world that focuses on training and learning about dogs. It was founded and continues to be led by the famous canine researcher and inventor of the service dog concept, Dr. Bonnie Bergin.
Through its unique mission to advance human-canine studies, it produces the some of the best service dog trainers and highest quality assistance dogs. Although Paws for Purple Hearts is now separate from Bergin College, all of our trainers are Bergin graduates.
Paws for Purple Hearts improves 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; and by building public awareness about the important role dogs play in helping Warriors along the road to recovery.
Our Core Values
- Professional – We maintain the highest standards in all we do.
- Adaptable – We innovate and create to exceed the needs of America’s Warriors.
- Warriors – Our #1 focus: America’s Veterans and Service Members.
- Service – We eagerly get the job done for internal and external customers alike.
A Joyful Today for a Hopeful Tomorrow.
“The whole point of Paws for Purple Hearts is that it builds on the time-honored tradition of soldiers giving a hand to other soldiers, just like we did on the battlefield together.”
— Steve Moore, Sergeant, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Our Long History
PPH PROGRAMS MOVE FROM PILOT TO PERMANENT
Paws for Purple Hearts is the first program of its kind to offer Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy, also known as Canine Assisted Therapeutic Intervention, to Veterans and active-duty military personnel.
Founding at the Bergin College of Canine Studies2006 – PPH founded as a program of Bergin College of Canine Studies
Canine Intervention Therapy Pilot Program2008 – Canine Intervention Therapy Pilot Program
Walter Reed in Washington, DC2009 – The concept expanded to Walter Reed in Washington, DC with the Patient Service-dog Training Program with PPH
National Intrepid Center of Excellence2010 – PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury research and treatment mission began at then newly-formed National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), in Bethesda, MD
PPH as 501(c)(3)2011 – Paws for Purple Hearts established as its own 501(c)(3), separate from Bergin College
First PPH Training Boot Camp2013 – First Paws for Purple Hearts Training Boot Camp conducted to pair service dogs with impaired Warriors
PAWS Research Project Final Report2014 - PAWS Research Project Final Report conducted by Kaiser Permanente and Dr. Bonnie Bergin is completed
Northern Virginia Facility Opens2015 - New Paws for Purple Hearts Center opens near Fredericksburg, VA
Fairbanks, Alaska2015 – New Paws for Purple Hearts Center opens in Fairbanks, AK near Ft. Wainwright, an active army base, and Eielson Air Force Base.
Two New PPH Centers Open2016 – New Paws for Purple Hearts Centers open in San Antonio and San Diego
About Bonnie Bergin
Dr. Bonita (Bonnie) Bergin invented the concept of the Service Dog to assist people with mobility limitations in 1975. At that time, she founded Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), the first nonprofit to train and place Service Dogs.
After leaving CCI In 1991, Dr. Bergin founded the Assistance Dog Institute, which was formally designated a university in early 2004. Today, the growing Bergin College of Canine Studies is the only college dedicated to teaching service dog trainers in the world.
As I sat there listening to suggestions like stainless steel on the walls of institutions being a better way to manage situations for people with disabilities, and nutritious meals, which did make sense, of course.
I kept going back to ‘Why aren’t these people out of the institutions and doing things for themselves? What can we do to change that? All of a sudden, I just went Dogs! Dogs could do it. Dogs could help them.’
The distinguished Dr. Bergin has been honored with numerous awards including the prestigious Presidential Points of Light Award; Oprah Winfrey’s “Use Your Life Award”; “What Matters” HBO TV; Council on Disability Rights Individual Achievement Award; and Alumni of the Year Sonoma State University.
From Our Blog
Paws for Purple Hearts Financials
At Paws for Purple Hearts, we embrace transparency in all we do. In line with that, we have posted our IRS Form 990 and our audited financials here to make them available for your inspection.
The forms below are our annual tax filings as required by law. The form characterizes our activities and provides insight into income and expenditures.
For more information about the purpose and function of the IRS Form 990, please see https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-990
We retain an independent accounting firm to review and characterize our financial state as detailed in the reports below.
The audits provide comprehensive information about our transactions, the scale of our operations, and data from which can be derived various useful financial ratios and other information for analysis.
We Need Your Support
Donations to Paws for Purple Hearts can change a Warrior’s life from hopelessness to optimism.
Your generous, tax-deductible donation helps thousands of Warriors facing the visible and invisible wounds of war. Our Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy helps them heal as they help others – all with the goal of raising top tier service dogs for Veterans and active duty Service Members with mobility and trauma challenges.