By Andrea Watts

Not every abandoned dog that is rescued is ready for adoption. Abuse, neglect, or malnutrition affects a dog’s emotional health, and in these cases, rehabilitation is needed to prepare the dog for a new home. As its mission implies –rescue, rehab, and rehome – Purple Heart Rescue provides this specialized care, “because there is such a need in this area,” said Deb Harp, one of the organizations founders.

Formed a little over ago by Deb Harp and Laura Patterson, Purple Heart Rescue has a mission of finding forever homes for severely abused animals. It’s a specialized niche, to be sure, and Laura and Deb bring years of experience to their organization: Laura has studied dog nutrition for over 10 years while Deb has over 12 years of training and rehabilitation experience.

The future home of Purple Heart Rescue will reside on 12 acres of land, courtesy of Laura, and funds are being raised to build the Purple Heart Rescue Rehabilitation Center that will serve the dual purpose of housing 15 dogs and providing on-site medical services in a wellness and care clinic. The center will also feature a training area where classes will be held so people can become educated on how to properly handle their new pets, because what we have to do is education, to make people understand there is a better way of treating their animals, Laura said.

Though Purple Heart Rescue doesn’t have a facility yet, the organization is quite active out of its volunteers’ homes. With the work of five foster homes, nearly 150 dogs were adopted last year, and only one hasn’t been adopted yet, Laura said. Dogs that are adopted don’t leave “without being spayed or neutered. Not even an option,” Deb added. Prospective adopters are carefully screened to ensure the pairing is a good fit, because Purple Heart Rescue is committed to the dogs it saves.

The rehabilitation of the rescued dogs may be three to six months depending upon the abuse, severity, and age; there are so many factors involved that it’s hard to quantify, Deb said. This is a reason why some dogs are ready for adoption within a week while others may require two years of rehabilitation before being ready. Many of the dogs that Purple Heart Rescue rescues are found on logging roads where they’ve been dumped, and this is such a common occurrence that Deb does sweeps to find these abandoned strays. Puppy mills and hoarders are also other source of dogs, and a reason why Deb and Laura emphasize the need for education to stop this cycle of abuse and abandonment.

Laura and Deb expect to have the Purple Heart Rescue Rehabilitation Center built within two years. Their organization is a 501(c)3 and has an active Facebook page that visitors can visit and donate to support their mission. With the constant need of rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned dogs in Lewis County, Purple Heart Rescue will be a much-needed organization for the foreseeable future.

If you are interested in adopting from Purple Heart Rescue,  visit their website at

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