Healing Paws for Warriors is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing combat veterans wounded from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) rescue-to-trained ADA-certified service dogs. Our goal is to alleviate some of the symptoms of PTSD, TBI, and MST so veterans struggling with the conditions can lead a more productive life.
A study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs gave us the number 22: 22 veterans and military members a day take their own lives. The number “22” has become a rallying cry throughout the nation to stop military/veteran suicides. Today, the VA estimates between 11-20 percent of those who’ve served in OPERATION Iraqi Freedom or OPERATION Enduring Freedom have PTSD.
Our philosophy is to involve the veteran in the training of their service dogs, allowing them the opportunity to be part of the solution to their recovery. We use rescue or shelter dogs that have undergone an extensive evaluation to determine their suitability as a service dog.
During the service canine’s training, we provide instruction, certification, equipment, seminars, and initial veterinarian care at no cost to the veteran. But more importantly, we’ve potentially saved two lives in the process.
Once completing training, our hope for our heroes is self-empowerment to continue on the road to recovery with their new teammate at their side. Studies show service dogs are a proven recovery tool—allowing veterans to move on to starting new lives. They enroll in college, start new jobs, reconnect with families, feel a sense of safety and independence, and begin healing psychologically.
We’re still a fledgling organization. In 2015, a handful of Fort Walton Beach members—all with ties to the military—came together with an idea of helping local veterans with service dogs. We believe in the proven recovery canines can provide. We know that we cannot completely eradicate “22,” but we believe we can try…one veteran and one service dog at a time.
We hope that you will support HP4Ws as we lead our heroes on their journey to healing.