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USM kicks off "Paws for Patriots" program with first puppy

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A team of military veterans faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi are starting a new program called “Operation Paws for Patriots”

“This opportunity to create this program through the center, we felt like was a win win in regards to pairing up a great dog, a great canine, to help them cope through some of that stress,” said Military Veterans Outreach Coordinator, Doug Robinson.

Back in March, Robinson awarded USM veteran-student Gary Crispell with Major, a German Shepard puppy, becoming the first pet-vet duo in the program.

“Definitely having major around has been a great benefit to myself and my family – having a new puppy is an added responsibility but it hasn’t felt that way,” said Crispell.

Major was given to Crispell from a veteran in the local community. “We’ve actually had other people that has reached out to us already, that would like to donate some sort of either obedience training or either another canine,” Robinson stated, while also sharing that he hopes to continue the program to connect more dogs like major with deserving veterans.



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