Five More Therapy Dogs Graduated and Placed With Veterans!
By Denise Bash, Director of Special Projects
Our partners, Patriot PAWS, administer an innovative partnership with a service dog training program inside three Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) facilities. This partnership not only helps Patriot PAWS train more service dogs for disabled veterans but creates career opportunities for inmates after their release and provides a way for them to give back to the community during their incarceration. This partnership has exceeded all expectations and is widely considered to be one of the most successful programs of its type in the country. Through the program, inmates find new hope and learn valuable skills that benefit them when they are released back into their communities. Many of the dogs they train come from shelters, so in fact, the veteran benefits as well as the dog and the inmate.
Butterfly is one such lucky rescue dog. W.A. is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army. He cannot drive any longer due to his poor vision and struggles with balance, dropped items as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He lives on a ranch and enjoys the simple life. His family reached out to Patriot PAWS after W.A. was no longer able to drive. His anxiety heightened. He needed help around the house when his family was away, experiencing more PTSD episodes. The moment the pair met, the joy was felt by all! Now W.A. is enjoying life on the ranch, and he credits Butterfly for that.
He said, “Butterfly has become my best buddy. I knew from the moment I saw her eyes that we’d be a good team!” W.A. wears special prescription dark glasses, even indoors when necessary, to protect his eyes. You’ll see Butterfly’s eyes, too, look like she’s wearing her shades! Another perfect match!