Paws and Stripes began in 2010 when Lindsey Stanek's ex-husband, Jim, faced PTSD and TBI. After seeing the impact therapy dogs had on him while he was in treatment, she began to pursue getting a service dog for him. She soon learned about the difficult and expensive process involved, so she started her own organization to help veterans for free.
"The problem is, insurance companies don't cover the cost of service dogs for veterans with these medical issues, and privately, it costs from $10,000 to $60,000 for the dog and its training," Stanek says. "This is where Paws and Stripes comes in. We provide service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Most importantly, we do it for free, at no cost to the veteran to enroll."
Complete training for a Paws and Stripes veteran/dog team is funded solely through donations. The veterans are never obligated to pay a penny for successfully completing the program. This is why public support is so important.
Paws and Stripes only adopts dogs from local shelters rather than getting ones specifically bred for the job, and highly trained service dog trainers work with the veteran and dog teams. The organization has found that shelter dogs are excited about not only getting a home, but being given a job and purpose. "We believe in saving lives, together, two at a time," Stanek says.
The number of military veterans returning from combat with PTSD and TBI is staggering, with 20,000 veterans diagnosed with a combat related disability in New Mexico alone, but service dogs can help them live better lives. Whether it is a reduction in substance abuse, a return to hobbies or school, or just reengaging with friends and family, a service dog gives veterans the chance to return to a life they thought they had lost.
Please call for more information:
(505) 999-1201 ext. 301