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Rescue dogs help ADF families in new wellbeing program

Australian charity, Happy Paws Happy Hearts Foundation has partnered with RSL Queensland to trial a new program for families of current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force Members.

Families in the Program, which was piloted in late 2021, participate in regular group dog training sessions with RSPCA Queensland rescue animals. Along the way, the program aims to improve individual and family communication, wellbeing, and engagement.

Following the successful pilot, Happy Paws Happy Hearts is launching a second round of the program. The next sessions commence on Saturday 23rd April 2022 from 3:30pm-5:30pm and will run for six-weeks at RSPCA Queensland’s Wacol Animal Care Campus.

Participants learn basic animal behaviour, handling, and training skills - a huge benefit to those families with pets at home or considering bringing a pet into the family. In addition, people meet a range of furry and non-furry friends in a welcoming, relaxed environment - with plenty of puppy cuddles for participants of all ages to enjoy Zoe Black, CEO and Co-Founder of Happy Paws Happy Hearts says the partnership with RSL Queensland means the charity can now support families as well as individuals.

The value of the experience was summarised by one veteran who said:

“These programs are really important for veterans and their families to help individuals feeling socially isolated. Happy Paws Happy Hearts courses save lives.”

RSL Queensland’s General Manager for Veteran Affairs and Policy, Troy Watson said we are proud to provide funding to this program.

“Extending this program to veterans and their families is just one of many ways we can improve mental and physical resilience as well as encourage social connection.”

This program is offered specifically for veterans, currently serving members of the Defence Force and their families. Places are limited.

Interested families are invited to express their interest in the program by contacting Happy Paws Happy Hearts Foundation on 1300 077 984 or via

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