Southeast PPH Region
Serving the Southeast Region since 2015
The Southeast Region team is headquartered in Virginia, which is home to over 700,000 veterans. Nestled between Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C, our Ruther Glen, Virginia based operation has been serving Warriors throughout Virginia, Maryland and DC since 2015.
Our programs center on our unique Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy®, which reduces the symptoms of PTSD and TBI through structured, positive interaction with our service dogs in training. We provided this life-changing therapy to Veterans from the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Hospital in Richmond, Virginia and to Veterans in the Hampton VA Medical Center. We also visit several private Veteran service organization facilities in the area where our service dogs in training provide social therapy to Warriors on the road to recovery.
Beyond Virginia, our region serves our nation’s Warriors in Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
- Heather Martin, Senior Program Instructor
Heather manages dog health/wellness and trains service dogs. She has been a staff member since May 2015 after graduating from Bergin College of Canine Studies. In her free time, Heather snuggles with her pet dogs while enjoying a good book or playing video games.
- Mami Ikenoue, Program Instructor
Mami manages our kennel custodians and trains service dogs. She has been a staff member since November 2015 after graduating from Bergin College of Canine Studies. In her free time, Mami trains #pphBroccoli and #pphPepper to be good “Service Cats!”
- Danielle Stockbridge, Virginia Site Manager
Danielle is the Virginia site manager of the southeast region, where she oversees facility operations, handles public relations, and manages fundraising and donor relations for Paws for Purple Hearts. She has been a staff member since June 2020 after graduating from Bridgewater College. In her free time, you can find her at the movie theater, or in the park enjoying a Dunkin Donuts coffee. To invite Paws For Purple Hearts Virginia to your event or to make a donation to the Southeast Region, contact Danielle at [email protected]
- Genevieve Timpone, Advancement Associate
Genevieve is the Advancement Associate of the southeast region, where she manages volunteers and fundraises for Paws for Purple Hearts. Coming from a military family, Genevieve feels strongly about the organization’s noble mission of helping our country’s Warriors. To invite Paws for Purple Hearts Ruther Glen to your event or to make a donation to the Southeast region, contact Genevieve at [email protected]
- Samantha Riley, Program Instructor
Samantha is a Service dog trainer here at the Paws for Purple Hearts Ruther Glen location. Originally from Chesapeake, VA she studied how to train Assistance dogs at Bergin University in Penngrove, CA. Samantha’s interest in Paws for Purple Hearts arose from a childhood dream of working with animals, as well as coming from a multi-generational military upbringing. Samantha is excited to be pursuing her lifelong goal of working with animals at only 22.
- Nancy Newman, Program Instructor
Nancy is a Program Instructor at Paws for Purple Hearts’s Ruther Glen location. Nancy puppy raised for southeastern Guide dogs for almost four years before attending Bergin University in Penngrove, CA last year. Nancy came to PPH because it is her dream job. She loves that PPH is involved in the Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy along with placing Dogs. Nancy enjoys drawing and painting and is also overly-modest about her art skills.
- 2015: The Virginia facility opened and started conducting social therapy visits at Poplar Springs Military Hospital.
- 2017: The Virginia Team began Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy® sessions with groups from the Prince George’s County Vet Center and the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center.
- 2018: The Virginia facility expanded to include a new puppy area and additional adult kennel runs. Social Therapy and CAWT being at Fort Belvoir. Social Therapy also began at the Hampton VA Medical Center. In February of 2018 #pphPatsy was placed as a Facility Dog in Texas.
- 2020: During the COVID pandemic, the Virginia Team conducted virtual CAWT sessions with groups from the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. In June, the team safely transitioned back to in-person session. In June, #pphElma was also placed as a Specialist Therapy Dog in Alaska.
Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center
We provide Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy® sessions to several groups of Veterans participants at our facility in partnership with VA staff. We conduct social therapy sessions with veterans in an inpatient mental health unit to help reduce stress and promote healing.
Boulder Crest Retreat Virginia
We visit Boulder Crest Retreat Virginia as scheduled to provide social therapy to families visiting the vets retreat.
USO at the Richmond Airport
We conduct social therapy with the USO at the Richmond, Virginia International Airport, where our dogs help welcome returning troops home and provide comfort to families whose loved ones are deploying from the airport.
Hampton VA Medical Center
We conduct social therapy with Veterans living in the center and in hospice to reduce stress and provide comfort to those in end of life care.
Caring Spirits, Serving Warriors
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.
We place service dogs with Service Members and Veterans facing challenges such as:
– Mobility issues. Our dogs can help with tasks such as: retrieving items, pushing buttons for elevators and doors, turning lights on/off, bracing to help move from/to wheel-chairs or to navigate stairs, plus many more.
– Diagnosed trauma-related conditions (PTSD or TBI). Our dogs help by performing a variety of tasks specifically designed to reduce symptom severity.
Through our thorough application process, our qualified staff determines if a PPH service dog will be a fit for your specific needs.
Paws for Purple Hearts is the first program of its kind to offer therapeutic intervention for Veterans and active-duty military.
Under the guidance of PPH instructors, Service Members engage with specially-bred Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies.
PTSD patient-trainers must overcome their emotional and affective numbness in order to heighten their tone of voice, bodily movements.
Donation Dollars at Work
With just $19/month gift you will ensure a future service dog has all of its vaccinations, training equipment, and of course toys to get started in their life altering education.
Your gift of any amount will be a tremendous help to our Service Dogs in Training. It costs $52/month in dog food alone for just one dog.
Paws for Purple Hearts Dogs are trained to the most exacting certification because our Veterans deserve the best, and thanks to you, they will never have to pay for any of our services. It costs more than $35,000 to raise just one dog to this high standard.