For many of our nation’s brave Veterans, the lingering consequences of service-related injuries and emotional trauma can make the transition from active duty to civilian life an overwhelming struggle. A specially trained service dog can be a lifesaver to Veterans, helping them to perform everyday tasks; easing their stress, anxiety and depression; and restoring their confidence so they can reclaim the life they deserve.
Patriot PAWS Service Dogs was founded in 2006 with a mission to provide service dogs of the highest quality, at no cost, to American Veterans who have suffered debilitating injury or illness while in service to our country, as well as to others with mobility disabilities. Recognizing the growing need for service dogs, Patriot PAWS expanded its service dog training program in 2008 through a unique partnership with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
The Patriot PAWS Prison Training Program engages inmates in raising and training service dogs for the benefit of our nation’s heroes. Participants learn how to teach all the basic service dog behaviors and are tested quarterly to determine their ability to train in the cues required for service dog certification. At the same time, incarcerated women and men are given the opportunity to give back to their community, while also building valuable skills that could lead to gainful employment when they re-enter society.
“Most people understand how important a service dog can be, but a service dog brings even more to a Veteran’s quality of life,” said Lori Stevens, Founder and Executive Director of Patriot PAWS Service Dogs.
“As Veterans regain lost independence and emotional stability, they may find new purpose in life, and their communities may once again benefit from the unique skills and experience they offer. We are pleased to be sharing with other organizations all that we’ve learned about training service dogs so that we can support the needs of even more Veterans and help restore their hope for a brighter future.”