Paws and Stripes

Paws and Stripes: Giving Shelter Dogs a Purpose as Service Dogs for Vets

Lindsey Stanek’s husband, Jim, came home with injuries from his third tour in Iraq. Like so many combat veterans, he suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While in treatment, Jim was comforted by therapy dogs. But a trained service dog costs $10,000 to $60,000. The former soldier felt alone until he found Sarge—a shelter dog he trained as his service dog. His life was transformed and he saw an opportunity. He and Lindsey wanted to help other veterans while giving shelter dogs a purpose. The couple founded Paws and Stripes in 2010. Their mission: rescue and train shelter dogs as service dogs for wounded military veterans in New Mexico.

“A strong web presence is imperative for veterans to find us.”

Lindsey Stanek, Co-founder and CEO

From the start, Google has helped them build their brand and operate the organization. Most of the traffic to their site comes from Google Search. Their Google My Business listing displays their hours, directions, and reviews. They use social media, including YouTube, to engage veterans in discussion and share resources. Google Apps for Work, including Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs, help volunteers coordinate efforts. Veterans don’t pay a dime to enroll in the service, which is supported by grants and donations, so the website is mobile-optimized to make it as easy as possible for site visitors to make donations from any device.

Paws and Stripes has 14 employees

Paws and Stripes now has 14 employees. They’ve been featured in Time magazine and were the subject of an A&E reality TV series, Dogs of War. Google tools have helped increase their visibility in the U.S. and internationally, which is helping Paws and Stripes raise awareness about PTSD and the value of enlisting shelter dogs to be trained to assist veterans. They’ve accomplished their original mission, but their success in New Mexico now has them considering expanding to other states. “We want to increase our impact in more veterans’ lives,” Lindsey says. “That’s what we are about.”

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