Angel Canines for Wounded Warriors

The mission of Angel Canines for Wounded Warriors (ACWW) is to insure that all ill or injured veterans in need of assistance from a service dog will receive free air transportation to a vetted service dog organization.

There, the veteran will be matched with a dog trained to adapt to his or her specific medical condition and will undergo training to build a mutually trusting relationship. ACWW understands the profound healing that is developed in this partnership.

The wounded warrior now has a reason to get up, a trusted responsibility to manage, and the confidence that comes from the service dog's special abilities. Together, they can navigate the challenges of life toward a hopeful future.

Funds, if available, may be used for other wounded warrior priority medical or rehabilitative travel.


About Us

"An estimated one in five veterans deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 has or will develop post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression." This figure, reported recently in the New York Times, is a major reason Angel Canines for Wounded Warriors was established in 2009. The article continues: "What these service men and women need is a service dog."

Whether they suffer from PTSD, mobility disorders, blindness, loss of hearing, amputations, or an illness or disease that makes it difficult to manage day-to-day living, our nation's heroic veterans can count on ACWW to provide free air transportation to a vetted service dog facility.

ACWW is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Partnering with American Airlines through their Veterans Initiative program, we receive requests for assistance from service dog organizations and individuals. Our mission coordinator arranges the round-trip flights. In the words of a grateful client: "Thank you for helping me by flying me and my service dog to required training. Without your help and assistance it would have been a great hardship for me to even have a service dog. May God bless you all."


We cannot operate without the generosity and support of our partners and valued friends. Any gift, large or small, makes a difference in our ability to help wounded warriors.

Click here to give securely online.

ACWW is also a participant in the Combined Federal Campaign. If you are a federal employee, you can donate to us through that program. Our CFC Number is 19800.

Or, if you prefer, you can always send a check directly to our headquarters.

4620 Haygood Rd Suite 1 Virginia Beach, VA 23455

Angel Canines Partners with Top Dogs

by Stephanie Singer, Intern, Virginia Wesleyan College

Hampton Roads Hounds for Heroes is a new nonprofit in Portsmouth, Virginia that provides service dogs to individuals who suffer from military-related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Their founder and executive director is Linda McAbee. The organization is a new partner of Angel Canines for Wounded Warriors, a charitable program of Mercy Medical Angels in Virginia Beach that will provide transportation for veterans to acquire the canine companions.

Filling a Void

Ten years ago, Linda's son worked with the Pentagon as a neurobiologist. His specialty was combat-related PTSD. Specifically, he wanted to remedy the high number of veteransuicides that were related to it. He even wrote a suicide prevention book.

the time, Linda was a veterinarian with 30 years of practice. Her son had recently found out that service dogs could help veterans with PTSD.

"He kept saying, you should do this," Linda said. But she was well into her career and had no intentions of quitting.

e moved to Virginia in 2014 and began working at a small pharmacy, but that job was unfulfilling. She then realized a need: there were no organizations that provided service dogs for vets. Her son's insistence came to the front of her mind.

Linda made a business plan in her head. She filed for a domain name on the internet,

"I quit my job the next day," she said.

Starting Out

Once the necessary paperwork was filed and processed, Hampton Roads Hounds for Heroes became a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit.

"They said it would take four to six months," Linda noted. "I was surprised how quickly they finished."

After that, she found an old post office in Portsmouth. The building had been completely empty for four years. It was a perfect training facility.

The Path to Service

She explained the process that is followed when acquiring canines for service. First, the dogs are selected from shelters. "Some of them are too smart for the average household," Linda said. People often misinterpret a highly intelligent or strong-willed dog for an ill-behaved dog. These dogs end up not getting adopted.

Besides intelligence, the dogs must behave properly around very young children and cats. Few of the shelter dogs meet all these criteria. Once selected, the dogs go to the training facility in Portsmouth. They start with basics, such as walking on a leash.

Trainers use only positive reinforcement. If a dog does something "wrong," the trainer doesn't resort to some kind of punishment. Rather, the dog figures out that there is a natural consequence to every action. They're smart enough for that.

When the dogs are fully trained in private and in public, they are matched with veterans who have PTSD. The dogs know when a veteran is having a nightmare or flashback, and can help prevent the reactions.

On the Same Team

Robb Alpaugh, the CEO and president of Mercy Medical Angels, wanted to help Hampton Roads Hounds for Heroes. "We're very pleased to be partnering with Hounds for Heroes. Our role is to help veterans suffering from PTSD to acquire and train with a service dog in Portsmouth by providing transportation that might not be available otherwise," he said.

Big Goals

There's a huge waiting list for veterans to receive a service dog. Linda hopes to rescue, train, and send out 24 dogs per year. So far, Hounds for Heroes has the capacity for eight dogs annually. She intends to find more room as the organization grows. "Our goal is to have a separate kennel in a rural area."

If that happens, the current training facility could be used for administration and as the meeting place for the veterans and service dogs.

Doubling the Good Work

Hampton Roads Hounds for Heroes is actually serving two causes in one. The first is obvious: helping veterans with PTSD. The second is animal welfare; many animals that go to shelters do not make it out alive.

"It's a double rescue," Linda said.

A successful partnership, a strong sense of mission, and strong compassion come together in this organization. Hampton Roads Hounds for Heroes are truly the top dogs!