Puppies Behind Bars

Service Dogs for Veterans Returning Home from Iraq and AfghanistanDog Tags: Service Dogs for Those Who’ve Served Us was established by Puppies Behind Bars to provide service dogs to veterans returning home from Iraq (OIF) and Afghanistan (OEF) who have suffered a physical injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI) or exhibit Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In February 2008, our first Dog Tags pup, Pax, was paired with Sergeant Bill Campbell, an Iraq War veteran who suffers from PTSD, a life-altering condition that is characterized by panic attacks, severe depression, memory loss, nightmares and fear of public places.  Pax has been trained to remind Bill to take his daily medications and alert him of approaching strangers, always “watching his back.”  When Pax lies at Bill’s side, he will sit up if someone approaches, thus lessening Bill’s fear of being in public spaces such as a grocery store or a movie theater.  Additionally, Pax responds to the command, “Block,” which Bill uses when he wants Pax to stand in between him and an approaching individual.In November 2008, Bill, his wife and Pax traveled from their home in Washington State to the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility where Pax was raised and trained, in order to meet and thank the women for their hard work and dedication in training service dogs for veterans.  Bill and the puppy raisers shared dozens of stories about Pax, ranging from his puppyhood in prison to his current life as a full-fledged service dog to Bill.  The common bond connecting everyone centered around Pax’s love and devotion to people, his ability to help heal emotional wounds and how his presence alone encourages those around him to rise above their circumstances and live life to its fullest.

Puppies Behind Bars provides service dogs to veterans completely free of charge. In addition to raising and training the puppies from the age of eight weeks until they are paired with the veterans at approximately two years of age, we cover 100% of the transportation and boarding costs for the veterans and a family member to attend our two-week team training at which they learn how to work with their canine companions and are certified as service dog teams.  

PBB also serves as a resource for the veterans in the years that follow, providing support, advice and feedback.To date, we have trained and paired twenty one service dogs for wounded warriors.

To apply for a service dog, please contact Puppies Behind Bars at 212.680.9562 and we will refer you to the appropriate service dog school with whom we have a partnership.

Puppies Behind Bars (EIN # 13-3969389) is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations to Puppies Behind Bars are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. To view Form 990 financial statement, click here. A copy of PBB’s most recent audited financial statement is available upon request at programs@puppiesbehindbars.com.

Era of Service: 
OEF-OIF Post 9-11
Career Phase: 
VA Disability Rating Requirement: 
No Disability Requirement
Discharges Allowed: 
No Minimum Discharge