Dr. Rhonda Phillips-Black has been a veterinarian for 31 years. When her friend, Lori Stevens, founded Patriot PAWS, Dr. Rhonda signed up as a volunteer.
Every Tuesday for 12 years, Dr. Rhonda has examined puppies and dogs at the Rockwall non-profit. After two years of training and medical care, the dogs are matched with military veterans with mobility issues or problems with PTSD.
The service dogs must be in tip-top medical shape to meet the needs of their human family member. Dr. Rhonda medically monitors each dog from puppyhood to graduation. Then once a year, the dog goes back to Patriot PAWS for medical evaluation from Dr. Rhonda and the staff to make sure that all is well.
There are currently 85 dogs in the program. The goal is to have 200 dogs each year so that more veterans can be helped. In 2018, 41 dogs selected their owners.
The dog makes the match and then the wonderful bonding begins. Veteran Carlos DeJesus served in Afghanistan. He said his service dog, Sgt. Nick, brings him peace.
If you'd like to donate to the non-profit to help more veterans or if you'd like to volunteer log on to patriotpaws.org