What makes a Service Dog Special?
Service dogs are very special animals. They help children with autism by recognizing and interrupting behaviors that may be harmful to the child. They help deaf people by alerting them to a knock at the door. They provide brace and mobility support for someone facing mobility impairments. Service Animals are truly amazing working dogs.
Paws for Purple Hearts places service dogs with service members and veterans facing challenges such as mobility impairments and diagnosed trauma-related conditions like Post Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury. But service dogs from Paws for Purple Hearts are extra special because not only are they amazing working dogs—they are amazing working dogs who have been trained by our nation’s amazing veterans. They have been trained by Warriors, for Warriors.
Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy Training
During the eighteen to twenty-four month training that a Paws for Purple Hearts puppy goes through, they participate in Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy (CAWT). During a CAWT session with a puppy, Warriors facing mobility impairments or trauma-related conditions will participate in training a puppy to become a service dog in over one hundred different commands. Retrieving items like keys and credit cards, pushing buttons for an elevator or door, turning lights on and off, and bracing for someone to move to and from a wheel-chair or navigate up and down the stairs. Being able to perform these tasks in multiple environments to help their person with a disability is what makes a service dog the perfect furry helpmate.
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal “as a dog that [is] individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Service animals are able to accompany their handler with a disability in all areas where the general public is allowed to go. This includes restaurants, movie theaters, malls, and even amusement parks! Paws for Purple Hearts puppy parents are encouraged to take on the important role of exposing our puppies in training to as many places as possible so that they are prepared to handle anything that comes their way with their future battle buddy.
Paws for Purple Hearts is proud to be the first organization of its kind to incorporate Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy in its training of service dogs for wounded warriors facing trauma related conditions, free of charge thanks to the volunteers and donations we receive that support our mission.
Thank you for all of your past and continued support!