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Pets Assisting Wounded Soldiers (PAWS) is a non-breed specific dog and cat rescue organization. We are dedicated to the education, rescue, and rehabilitation of unwanted dogs and cats. often deemed unadoptable. Our purpose is to connect a wounded soldier with a deserving dog, or cat, thus rehabilitating both in the process. PAWS tirelessly strives for and envisions the day where every adoptable companion animal, regardless of breed, has a loving, responsible home, all while aiding military veterans and their families with rehabilitation through animal companionship.
PAWS Founders are Terry and Traci Ratliff--a married couple that have seen firsthand the struggles of PTSD and a TBI. Terry is a 3-time Iraq War Veteran that suffers from both. After returning home from Iraq, Terry became very bitter towards people, he truly trusted no one. Traci noticed his PTSD improve when he interacted with their pets. The Ratliff's began fostering for area rescue groups and one pooch in particular left a mark on both their hearts. Gabby came to the Ratliff's in February 2010, she was an incredibly timid street dog that had obviously been abused, well under weight, severe skin issues, and at some point this puppy herself had puppies of her own. She cowered continuously and it took her weeks to come out of her kennel on her own free will. She too had trust issues with humans. Terry and Gabby seemed to share a kindred spirit of traumatic events and began to bond. You could see them both changing for the better. Today Gabby is a healthy, happy, spunky permanent resident of the Ratliff's household. Terry takes it day by day, but the companionship of Gabby along with the Ratliff's other rescues is a PTSD challenge not taken alone.
- Judy Hall
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