our mission


Each and every day 22 Veterans commit suicide.

paws4vets’ goal is simple: to save and transform the lives of Veterans!

Beginning in 2008, paws4vets has been providing some of the world’s most highly trained Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dogs at no cost to Veterans with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury(TBI), Military Sexual Trauma(MST)/Sexual Trauma(ST), and Moral Injury.

Client Stories


Vietnam Veteran (U.S. Army) Walter Parker using his Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dog, JACKSON, to control and regulate his anxiety/panic attack during a visit to Wal-Mart.


SGT Jeff Mitchell, USA (ret.) and his Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dog, AUSTIN. Jeff completed two combat tours in Iraq. After his discharge Jeff spent three years as a “cave-dweller” in his parents’ basement. Jeff is working with his second certified paws4vets Service Dog AUSTIN. AUSTIN allows Jeff to form better relationships with the people, be in crowded and noisy places, and travel around the country.


USN Veteran April Cook completed 4 combat tours to Iraq. Pictured here with her Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dog, CLAIRE, April was able to accomplish her goal to visit Arlington Nation Cemetery. It took CLAIRE’s support before April, eight years after her Crew Chief’s death, was able to visit his grave. Her Crew Chief saved her life during an insurgent ambush during a Medevac mission in 2005. CLAIRE also alerts to and interrupts panic attacks and flashbacks stemming from April’s PTSD and MST.


Thomia King, USMC with TONEY, her Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dog. TONEY assists Thomia with her anxiety and hyper-vigilance stemming from MST while also providing support for her TBI symptoms.


Anna Nicholson, USMC Military Dependent with her Sensory Tactile Pressure Physical/Neurological Service Dog, MOSS. Anna was adopted from China when she was 16 months old and experienced severe developmental delays. MOSS assists Anna by interrupting negative behaviors, providing sensory tactile pressure when anxious, and cuddling when overstimulated or distressed.


Wil Nobles, USA Veteran is pictured with his Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dog, HARNETT. Wil is diagnosed with PTSD and Depression from when he was involved in an IED attack where four soldiers were killed.  After the incident, he helped with the recovery and removal of those soldiers from the burned vehicles.  HARNETT assists Wil by interrupting negative behaviors, anchoring when he is anxious, and alerting him to people coming up behind him.

program details


client quotes

“For the longest time I just didn’t want to be here. Now I have hope for a better future thanks to ASHE (his Psychiatric Service Dog),”
– MSGT Roger Dudley, USMC (ret.).

“CLAIRE – she is my rock. She has given me back a part of my life and I have no doubt that with her help I will get back the rest of it in time. I would like to thank the people and the dogs of paws4vets, they have changed my life, maybe even saved it for the second time.”
April Cook, U.S. Navy Veteran with 4-combat tours in Iraq.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the paws4vets program and AUSTIN (his Psychiatric Service Dog),”
SGT Jeff Mitchell, USA (ret.). 

our program


paws4vets Service Dogs can do all of following and much more:

  • Alert to onset of Stress/Panic/Anxiety Symptoms
  • Control, Regulate and MitigateSM Stress/Panic/Anxiety Attack
  • Decrease Hyper-vigilance and Aid with Sleep
  • Alert to Startle-Reflex Triggers
  • Perform Behavior Interruption for Flashbacks, Nightmares, and Night Terrors
  • Find / Retrieve Misplaced or Specific Items
  • Open/Close or Turn on/off Different Items
  • Call 911 and Open Doors for Emergency Personnel
  • Provide Balance & Mobility Assistance
  • Perform Hearing Alerts


After approximately 5-12 months using their Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dog, each Veteran is able to control, regulate, and mitigateSM their symptom sets. No other organization has paws4vets’ documented results!

paws4vets accomplishes that with a network of dedicated staff members, 100s of volunteers, Peer-to-Peer support, specially-trained inmates in 5 West Virginia Correctional Centers, and 100s of UNC Wilmington undergraduate students each year.

Each and every day, paws4vets Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dogs demonstrate that they are as important to the recovery of Veterans with PTSD, TBI, MST, and Moral Injury as a prosthetic leg or arm is to an amputee’s recovery.

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with almost 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country and overseas raising millions of dollars each year. Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season (September 2018 through January 2019).
Your charitable gifts to the CFC allow paws4vets to scale our operations in order to train and place even more of these customized, life-saving Psychiatric Medical Alert Service Dogs with Veterans struggling every day with life-altering disabilities!

paws4vets thanks you for your incredible generosity and unwavering support!