Warrior Canine Therapy Pioneer

Paws for Purple Hearts is the first organization of its kind to offer Warrior Canine TherapyTM (formerly referred to as Canine Assisted Therapeutic Intervention). We began in 2006 as a research program at the prestigious Bergin University 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 University 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 University 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 University, 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 University 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 University 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 University, 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.

Our Mission

We are dedicated to improving the lives of America’s Warriors facing mobility challenges and trauma related conditions such as PTSD and TBI by providing the highest quality service dogs and canine assisted therapeutic programs.

 

There are many ways to get to get involved with and support the PPH mission.

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 Warrior Canine TherapyTM, also known as Canine Assisted Therapeutic Intervention, to Veterans and active-duty military personnel.

Founding at the Bergin University for Canine Studies

2006 – PPH founded as a program of Bergin University of Canine Studies
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Canine Intervention Therapy Pilot Program

2008 – Canine Intervention Therapy Pilot Program
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Walter Reed in Washington, DC

2009 – The concept expanded to Walter Reed in Washington, DC with the Patient Service-dog Training Program with PPH
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National Intrepid Center of Excellence

2010 – PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury research and treatment mission began at then newly-formed National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), in Bethesda, MD
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PPH as 501(c)(3)

2011 – Paws for Purple Hearts established as its own 501(c)(3), separate from Bergin University
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First PPH Training Boot Camp

2013 – First Paws for Purple Hearts Training Boot Camp conducted to pair service dogs with impaired warriors
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PAWS Research Project Final Report

2014 - PAWS Research Project Final Report conducted by Kaiser Permanente and Dr. Bonnie Bergin is completed
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Northern Virginia Facility Opens

2015 - New Paws for Purlpe Hearts Center opens near Fredericksburg, VA
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Fairbanks, Alaska

2015 – New Paws for Purlpe Hearts Center opens in Fairbanks, AK near Ft. Wainwright, an active army base, and Eielson Air Force Base.
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Two New PPH Centers Open

2016 – New Paws for Purlpe Hearts Centers open in San Antonio and San Diego
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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, growing Bergin University of Canine Studies is the only university 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.

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Dogs We've Deployed
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Warrior Attendance in Therapy Sessions
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Lives Directly Improved

We Need Your Support

Donation to Paws for Purple Hearts can change a warrior’s vision of life from hopelessness to optimism through the loving eyes of a faithful companion.

Your generous, tax-deductible donation to Paws for Purple Hearts will improve the lives of thousands of warriors facing the visible and invisible wounds of warfare and service. You will be restoring their independence and allowing these warriors to reintegrate into society in the nation they so bravely volunteered to defend.

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