Representative: Charlie Petrizzo
Project2Heal’s mission is to reduce the cost and time it takes to place a service dog with a person in need. This is accomplished this by nurturing, socializing and training purposely-bred Labrador Retriever puppies, for donation, to carefully selected service dog organizations. This approach leads to a very high success rate for placing dogs into a variety of service roles.
How did you get started?
Our organization was created in response to a study that sought to determine the success rate of shelter dogs entered into service dog training. Simultaneous to finding results of the study, Project2Heal’s co-founders were seeking a way to serve others through their love of dogs. The organization was born as a way to serve the many service dog organizations that do not have a breeding program.
From where does your passion for this cause come?
At sixteen years of age, founder Charlie Petrizzo burned over 65% of his body. The scars left led to a deep self consciousness. His family had adopted a pup about three years before the accident. That dog, Toby, helped him to heal emotionally. His personal experience motivated him to start a program to produce dogs that could become healing partners for others.
Why is your work important?
A study conducted by Purdue University found that a service dog can reduce up to six symptoms of PTSD. Currently veterans can wait as long as three years for a service dog. This wait, among other things, is why the Military News recently reported that the suicide rate among veterans rose from 22 a day to 24.8 a day. Project2Heal’s breeding program reduces both the cost and time it takes to deliver a service dog to a person in need.
What excites you most about the SEED20 process?
Since our founding in 2005, the ongoing research on the impact of dogs on humans continues to show new and exciting ways that dogs can help humans. As a SEED20 finalist, we will get to tell our story in front of a large audience. We are extremely excited that our message will reach an audience interested in learning about innovative social programs to help those in need.
What do you hope to gain from the SEED20 experience?
I hope to be able to use the SEED20 platform to create “Raving Fans” for our work. Also, just going through the process will teach me to craft a more clear and concise message about our work. I hope that our innovative solution to the major challenge facing service dog organizations will resonate with a group of people interested in social innovation. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I hope our work and story could result in us winning!
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