Donation made to Patriot PAWS

Courtesy photo
Therapy Dogs of Van Zandt County presented a $10,000 check to Patriot PAWS Service Dogs located in Rockwall on Nov. 14. Pictured (from left to right): Regena Weaver and Maggie Mae, Liz Mince and Penny, Nanci Marquess and Roxie, Sherri Rowe and Phoebe, Susan Matasa, owner of The Buffalo Girls Hotel, and Boots, Vickie Ragle and Ladybug, Kathy Gordon and Tammie Zaleski, Patriot PAWS representatives, and Payton, Patriot PAWS hopeful, Pat Hammond and Hobo, Nancy Szabo and Astro, Waundene Blue and Bindi, Jana Davis, Carol Woods and Clyde.

Therapy Dogs of Van Zandt County presented a $10,000 check to Patriot PAWS Service Dogs located in Rockwall, Texas, Nov. 14. The donation allows the organization the privilege of naming a puppy entering the Patriot PAWS program.

The funds were raised primarily from the proceeds of the 19th Annual CASI Chili Cook-Off and Auction sponsored by The Buffalo Girls Hotel at The Mountain during the April 2018 Canton First Monday Trade Days. For the past two years, this event has raised funds for Therapy Dogs of VZC, a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization of dedicated therapy dog handlers and their dogs on a mission of sharing smiles and joy.

Each dog and handler must be tested and certified to become a therapy dog team for the organization. Certification and insurance are issued through Alliance of Therapy Dogs, a nationwide therapy dog association. Teams are available to visit schools, nursing homes, assisted living, hospitals and other facilities in Van Zandt County as requested.

While this is a volunteer organization and expenses related to caring for the dogs is borne entirely by the handlers, funds raised by Therapy Dogs of VZC are used to produce informational brochures, bookmarks, and other items that are distributed during therapy visits. Additionally, funds raised help support and raise public awareness for other non‑profit animal related causes such as Patriot PAWS.

The mission of Patriot PAWS is to train and provide service dogs of the highest quality at no cost to disabled American veterans and others with mobile disabilities or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence. It takes up to 2.5 years to train one service dog at a cost of approximately $34,000 per dog which funds are provided by donations from businesses and individuals.

It is important to understand that service dogs and therapy dogs are not the same.  Service dogs, like those provided by Patriot PAWS, are rigorously trained to provide a particular service to its owner and are protected by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Therapy dogs, like those associated with Therapy Dogs of VZC, provide psychological or physiological therapy to individuals other than their handlers.

For more information about Therapy Dogs of Van Zandt County or how to become a therapy dog handler, visit them on Facebook at “TherapyDogsOfVanZandtCounty” or contact them at (903) 880-3514, P.O. Box 346, Canton, TX 75103.