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Patriot PAWS places facility dog ​​at Adaptive Training Foundation – Blue Ribbon News

ROCKWALL, TX (August 31, 2022) – Patriot PAWS Service Dogs was honored to place Facility Dog, Jeffrey, sponsored by US Gypsum, with the Adaptive Training Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Carrollton, TX, on August 15th.

Founded in 2006, Patriot PAWS Service Dogs trains and provides the highest quality service dogs at no cost to disabled American veterans and others suffering from mobile disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and/or post-traumatic stress. While the ultimate goal is for every dog ​​within the Patriot PAWS program to become a public access service dog for a disabled veteran, sometimes the dogs within the program reveal a different calling in their hearts.

Patriot PAWS began facility dog ​​placements in about 2010 when one Golden Retriever, Roper, consistently shifted his focus to children whenever he trained in public.

“Roper was trying to tell us that his true passion was helping children,” says Lori Stevens, founder and CEO of Patriot PAWS Service Dogs, “and I’m so glad we listened.” Roper went on to be a facility dog ​​for the Dallas District Attorney’s office, where he helped children through traumatic experiences.

“I have always strongly believed that dogs can provide a true sense of healing,” says Stevens, “and Roper has helped do just that for many children and their families.”

Since Roper, Patriot PAWS has placed facility dogs with additional child advocacy centers, schools, courthouses, and even first aid therapy programs. In the summer of 2022, a new type of dog placement was introduced to the facility, one in which a four-legged soul could actually help “challenge the impossible.” The Adaptive Training Foundation (ATF), a nonprofit organization based in Carrollton, TX, was founded in 2014 when 5-year NFL veteran David Vobora began offering his personal training knowledge to a State Sergeant US Army Major who suffered a service-connected injury that left him a quadruple amputee. During their time together at the gym, Vobora discovered his passion for helping people with life-changing injuries. Less than 10 months after meeting the veteran who inspired Vobora’s true calling, ATF received its 501(c)(3) status and began empowering people with disabilities to change their lives.

Through a mutual connection, ATF and Patriot PAWS were able to collaborate and bring a new sense of independence to United States Army Veteran Derrick Meis.
Meis received Patriot PAWS Service Dog, Goose, in the summer of 2020 to help with service-related injuries sustained in the military.

“Life before Goose was pretty tough,” says Meis. “I had eleven different knee surgeries, two back surgeries and one shoulder surgery.”

While Goose greatly aided Meis in her emotional and physical independence, a new challenge presented itself when Meis began navigating life as a below-the-knee amputee.

“Fitness has always been important to Derrick,” says Stevens, “and when we were able to connect with ATF, he immediately came to mind as someone who could benefit greatly from their program.”

Meis, with Goose by her side, participated in ATF’s ‘ReDefine Program’, a 9-week personalized training course in which athletes train within a group of people facing similar daily struggles as a result of their injuries. During the course, athletes receive physical training as well as a new set of skills that can be used to redefine their sense of self through mindfulness and mental training.

“It was amazing to see the confidence and growth that ATF gave Derrick in 9 weeks,” says Stevens. “Derrick is not only thriving emotionally, thanks to the help of his service dog, Goose, but he is now on a new level physically and mentally, with the help of the incredible ATF team.”

Shortly after the graduation of the 24th Class of ATF, Stevens was approached by Vobora regarding placement of a Patriot PAWS Facility Dog, as he had witnessed the impact Goose had on Derrick during the 9-week ReDefine program. “Jeffrey is really a gift to the ATF tribe,” says Vobora. “His presence, compassion and fluffy face are a beacon of hope for our athletes, many of whom are from out of town and could use his company during this time of growth.”

“All of our dogs are introduced to prosthetics, wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc., at a young age, as we train primarily for mobile disabilities,” says Stevens. “Jeffrey will treat every ATF customer with the same amount of love, regardless of his disability…and that’s really a beautiful thing.”

Patriot PAWS was honored to work with the Adaptive Training Foundation at this location. We have no doubt that Jeffrey will be an incredible addition to the team and help the ATF continue to “challenge the impossible.”

For more information or to donate to Patriot PAWS Service Dogs, visit their website at www.patriotpaws.org

For more information or to donate to the Adaptive Training Foundation, visit their website at www.adaptivetrainingfoundation.org.

Submitted by Sarah Mathers, Patriot PAWS, for publication in Blue Ribbon News. Photos courtesy of the Adaptive Training Foundation.



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