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American Humane Sixth Annual Pups4Patriots Dinner Dance
Zachary Chappell & Winnie, Christina Itabashi_Freja, Dr. Robin Ganzert, Brian O'Connor, Thomas Mitchell & Joly. Photo by  Capehart Photography 
Zachary Chappell & Winnie, Christina Itabashi & Freja, Dr. Robin Ganzert, Brian O'Connor, Thomas Mitchell & Joly
by  Capehart Photography 



Pups4Patriots Dinner Dance honors the donors, dogs, and handlers who support American Humane’s commitment to service dogs for
 wounded warriors


 It was an evening of altruism and newsworthy moments, as more than 200 supporters of the nation’s first national humane organization attended the 6th Annual Pups4Patriots Dinner Dance on March 3 at Club Colette in Palm Beach. 


To kick off the event, a surprise gift of $500,000 was made in honor of veteran’s advocate and champion of American Humane’s Pups4Patriots™ program, Lois Pope, by business leader, Lloyd Schiller. 

“No one has surprised me like this in a very long time,” said Pope. “I am deeply humbled by your generous gift to our Pups4Patriots™ program, and you can be assured that your contribution is going to help an awful lot of our military and first responders through this life-changing initiative.”


Also announced during the event, a show-stopping $3 million donation from the Kazma Family Foundation, which will serve as the seed gift for the new American Humane Sanctuary located in Martin County.  The new animal sanctuary will be a transformational rescue retreat for all animals and the residential home for the Pups4Patriots™ service dog program.  


Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, who announced the major gift with members of the Kazma family, said, “Our mission with the American Humane Sanctuary is to give veterans who have graduated from the Pups4Patriots™ program a comfortable oasis to seek peace, and a home where they and their service dog can further their journey together. This gift is an enormous leap in making that mission a reality, and to helping us rescue and protect many animals in need in a new Ark of Hope facility.”

To date, Pups4Patriots™ has delivered more than 300 healing leashes into the hands of U.S. military veterans – at no cost to them - thanks to the generous support of donors. Three of these heroes attended the event and shared inspirational stories of how American Humane’s program was a life changing experience for them. Their remarks are as follows: 


Christina & Freyja: Christina has served as a First Responder,
a Wildland Firefighter, and an EMT. She lives in Idaho and was paired with Freya, a Standard Poodle. 


“Freja has been the most wonderful partner for me. She is my best friend. Because of Freja’s ability to support me in so many ways I have been able to go out and do things I couldn’t or didn’t do without her. I’m able to go out and run errands and do shopping without having to leave the store in the middle of shopping and have even found myself wanting to venture out to travel more. I have gotten more of a “normal” life back because of Freja and that has helped me so much.”


Zack & Winnie: Zack is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served from 1999-2021. During his service, he was deployed to six overseas locations and served as Special Ops and a Squadron Superintendent. He has been paired with “Winnie,” a 1.5-year-old, female Labrador Retriever.


"After serving 22 years in the Air Force, 12 in Special Operations, and retiring with a PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury diagnosis, I thought my journey was over. The baggage I carried coupled with the symptoms of my battlefield wounds was just too much. That was until I was turned on to American Humane and their Pups 4 Patriots Program. The hardest part was taking that first step but after filling out that application I was surrounded by a care team and before I knew it a leash was placed in my hand and Winnie on the other end. At that moment, my focus changed. Winne gave me that companionship and healing I required to get back on track, live life the way I wanted, and reintegrate back into my family!"  


Thomas & Joly: Military Working Dog (MWD) Joly was retired and needed a ride home from Bahrain to her family in South Florida. Her handler that served with her (Brian) is still deployed, so she was received in Florida by Brian’s father, Tom.


“After several failed attempts to bring Joly stateside, American Humane stepped in and assisted us in bringing her home. If not for this organization this reunification probably would not have occurred. In June, Brian, Morgan, and Joly will continue their military service in Sasebo, Japan and reside together as a family for the first time.”

“For some, medications and therapy are simply not enough to help restore a sense of normalcy, and nothing can put a smile on a vet’s face like a wagging tail,” said Dr. Ganzert. “We want every veteran to know that they do not need to face this battle alone.
Man’s best friend can help.”


To learn more, visit 


About American Humane

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare, overseeing the humane treatment of more than one billion animals across the globe each year. Founded in 1877, with offices in Palm Beach and Washington, DC, American Humane has been First to Serve™ the cause of animals and for 145 years has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in the humane movement. For more information or to support our lifesaving work, please visit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest breaking news and features about the animals with whom we share our Earth.



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