GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Patriot PAWS Service Dogs is a nonprofit out of Rockwall known for providing fully-trained service dogs to disabled veterans, but now, they are using their dogs that are still in training, to fulfill an additional purpose.
Twice a month, a group of dogs walk into the Garland Police Department to provide a stress break for officers and 911 dispatchers.READ MORE: State Fair Taking Extra Measures To Keep Guests Safe
It is an initiative called Patriot PAWS Cares, a newly established branch of Patriot PAWS Service Dogs.
“Every other week we come out and we visit with the officers and 911 operators and just let them have a few minutes of calm, quiet love,” Lori Stevens, who founded the non-profit says.
The dogs range in age from a few years old, to just a few months old.
“We have to remember we have a goal, and that is to train these dogs to eventually be placed with a veteran,” Stevens explains. “But, if we can help out along the way it is just a win/win for everyone.”
The officers and dispatchers at the police department, like Brenda Castaneda, say the dogs provide joy, smiles, and plenty of cuddles during what can often be a stressful job.
“This is the highlight of our day when they come,” Castaneda says. “They just make us so happy!”
Jeff Bryan, Garland Police Chief says the newly established partnership with Patriot PAWS Cares has been an immediate success.READ MORE: Officials: Man Suspected Of Making Threats Against Texas Lawmakers Arrested
“Once they are here and you start petting them and looking into their eyes, it is amazing, it isa little bit of a transformation,” Bryan says. “But it is also just a quick easy way to reduce stress
It is a partnership that not only works to improve mental health of the staff, but also helps the dogs.
“They are actually letting us socialize and train our dogs that will eventually be placed with veterans,” Stevens says.
Patriot PAWS Cares plans to offer the program at other police departments around the metroplex, but they also plan to be on the front lines where comfort and love are needed most.
“We partnered with the Texas Department of Emergency Management,” Stevens explains. “So, if there is a disaster or event, then they have a team they can call on to assist and appear during the disaster.”
Patriot PAWS will be hosting an upcoming golf tournament, where all proceeds will go towards helping the organization train and provide service dogs at no cost to disabled veterans.
The tournament will take place on Friday, September 24 at Firewheel Golf Park in Garland.MORE NEWS: State Fair Offers Hundreds Of Free Acts, Shows And Exhibits
To register online and for more information, click here.