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Power Of Dogs

December 4, 2020

It’s been a difficult year for non-profit. Many rely on big gatherings and fundraisers to create the profit they need to keep the organization running.

The same goes for Project 2 Heal, a Waxhaw non-profit, who works to raise puppies to become service animals.

Project 2 Heal are believers in that a dig is a man’s bestfriend. And Charlie Petrizzo is in the business of finding your perfect partner. But these puppies, instead of being your normal household pet, are donated to organizations where they eventually become service animals for veterans, kids with disabilities and many more people in need.

“Let’s be the first organization that donates puppies to the service dog organizations across the country that don’t have a breeding program,” said Petrizzo about the original idea behind the organization.

He noticed a gap in the service dog community. He says studies show that shelter dogs have lower chances of passing certifications for service work. And purchasing a dog could cost upwards of $30,000.

There was another issue as well, Petrizzo thought he could fix.

When an accreddited service dog organization is looking to find dogs, they often go to a reputable breeder that has done work to ensure bloodlines are preferable. But even after spending thousands to buy these dogs, Petrizzo says only about 48% of the puppies who start the training will complete the work for someone in need.

Project 2 Heal starts training the puppies very early on using their nature/nurture program. Project 2 Heal puppies are completing service dog training at a 75% pass rate, according to their website. Not only does this allow more dogs from each training program to be placed with someone in need, but they significantly reduce the cost by giving them to accredited service dog organization partners for free.

”It could take 3 or 4 years for a veteran in need to get a service dog. And for me, that’s just not soon enough,” he said.

Not only does Petrizzo love dogs but he also knows how helpful they can really be.

Petrizzo nearly died twice before the age of 16. He suffered a massive skull injury when he was a child. And then another bad accident when he was 16 where 2/3 of his body was burned.

His family dog helped him get through the hard times.

“He became my best friend. I knew the healing power, emotional healing power of a dog,” said Petrizzo.

And knowing the healing powers so well makes his work just that much more meaninful, he says.

Over the years, Project 2 Heal’s raised hundred of puppies, most of which go to people in need of a companion.

Petrizzo has dozens of stories where people thank him for raising the puppies and donating them to the service dog organizations — many saying these dogs saved their lives.

“He leaned in, he put his hand on my shoulder and he was crying,” said Petrizzo. “He said ‘Thank you very much for this dog, sir. I was a trigger pull away from taking my life. Now, he’s going to take care of me and I promise you, I’m going to take care of him.’”

Project 2 Heal usually holds an annual golf tournament to raise money for the year. Because of COVID-19, that was cancelled. Instead, this Friday, they’re having their first ever pup-a-thon from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. You can watch and donate on their Facebook page and on their YouTube Channel.

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