Marine veteran and his Papillons work to serve those in need.
Several years ago, Disabled Marine combat veteran, Dan Hoffman, was given a Papillion puppy to serve as a PTSD therapy dog. Mr. Hoffman has since become a successful owner-handler and breeder of grand champion Papillion’s. In addition to his successful showing and breeding accolades, Hoffman is not providing Papillion puppies to other disabled veterans to help with their PTSD. He also serves as a national advocate and speaker helping veterans with PTSD and V.A. benefits. Hoffman resides in Columbia, S.C.
“Over a decade ago, I was undergoing treatment for sever PTSD and my wife was on the mend from foot surgery when a dear friend called to ask us for help with a new litter of Papillion puppies. It seemed that the mother was so sick, that she could not nurse the puppies, so we took them all in and hand fed the six little guys for the first six weeks of their lives. Both my wife and I ended up falling in love with the breed, and were rewarded for our help with the gift of one of litter. Within the next year we had already joined the local Kennel Club, and had purchased a male Papillion to show. We named that dog Koh Tang Dan, which had been my nickname in the Marine corps. (Koh Tang is a small island near the coast of Vietnam , and the last battle of the Vietnam war.) Koh Tang Dan became our first champion, and then a Grand Champion.
It is noted that Papillions have an amazing ability to sense and react to the needs of their owners. When I was at my worst with PTSD, Tang would not let me lay around being depressed. He would lick my face and jump on me, and command my attention to him and play with him. I then started taking him with me to therapy sessions with my dog at the V.A., sand they began to service utilize him with several other veterans as well. It wasn’t long before I was taking Tang to veteran events, state, ad and national conventions where he was always a big hit., and I spoke out more about PTSD. This outreach was instrumental in helping me and so many other veterans, we have begun placing puppies I have bred , with disabled veterans to function as a therapy dog. This feels very rewarding to me.
I also got involved in conformation shows and am proud to say that in 8 years I have had 3 Grand Champion Papillions. My GCH CH Zelicaon Amrican Pharoah just got his grand champion this past But my absolute favorite dog and best friend remains my GCH CH Koh Tang Dan that I still show occasionally as a veteran. These days I am really enjoying breeding and raising Tang and Pharoah’s puppies, and the younger dogs I am showing now. It is my aspiration to become a Breeder of Merit in the next year or two.