DALLAS — Patriot PAWS Service Dogs, a Texas-based nonprofit that trains and provides service dogs to disabled American veterans at no cost, will open a new guest home to accommodate traveling veterans from across the country while they’re paired with a new service dog – all thanks to generous donations from a group of manufacturers and contractors, including The Dallas Builders Association and TAMKO Building Products Inc.
The new Patriot PAWS guest home is scheduled to be completed in late 2018. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is ADA compliant and can host veterans as they go through the two-week process of being paired with a service dog. During this period, veterans live and train with their dogs at the guest house, before being sent home with their new furry caregivers. The service dogs and use of the new guest home are provided at no cost to the veterans.
This project was made possible through donations from multiple manufacturers, distributors and contractors, and through a partnership with the Dallas Builders Association. Builder Captains for this project were Donnie Evans and Gregg McGriff of Altura Homes and Mike Mishler of Mishler Builders.
“Although Patriot PAWS is located in Texas, their impact is felt nationwide, and we are proud to have members who generously help when called upon,” said Sheena Beaver, education director and executive administrator for the Dallas Builders Association. “Without TAMKO’s donation, this project would have been financially burdensome and this beacon of hope would still be just a dream.”
This is the first Patriot PAWS project for TAMKO, but support for veterans is a longtime focus of the Missouri-based building products manufacturer, which donated the roof system for the new facility.
“Between Hero Flights, Honor Flights and roof donations for wounded vets, TAMKO has a long history of supporting our heroes,” said TAMKO President and CEO David Humphreys. “And we appreciate what veterans bring to the job – more than 15 percent of our employees have a military background. When we heard about the Patriot PAWS organization, we knew that we wanted to find a way to support them in the important work that they’re doing for veterans.”
Patriot PAWS provides a crucial and much-needed service. There are currently 3.8 million U.S. veterans with a service-connected disability rating, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Patriot PAWS receives around 400 requests for service dogs every month from people across the nation. The process to raise and train a service dog takes approximately two years and can cost up to $34,000. Since its start in 2006, Patriot PAWS has placed 187 service dogs and has 92 veterans on a waiting list.
“We owe veterans far more than we can ever repay, but we’re doing what we can, four paws at a time,” said Lori Stevens, founder and executive director of Patriot PAWS Service Dogs. “We admire companies like TAMKO that realize and appreciate the true value of veterans.”
The service dogs are trained by volunteers, other veterans, inmates in the Texas Corrections System, and students from the University of North Texas. Patriot PAWS’ 3-acre location includes a 25-run kennel facility and a dedicated training facility. Between the training facility and the Prison Training Program, the organization can train about 60 dogs at a time, and places 10 to 15 service dogs with veterans every year.