Alpha Bravo Canine® fundraiser raises money to help veterans

by June Portnoy

The 3rd Annual Strolling for Service Dogs Fundraiser, held April 20th at the Garden of Reflection 9/11 Memorial Park in Yardley, raised over $29,000.

Proceeds will benefit Alpha Bravo Canine®, a Bucks County non-profit organization that raises, trains, and donates service dogs to US military veterans suffering from combat-related mental health afflictions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

On May 6th, Pennsbury High School student, Nicholas Christopher, who was instrumental in launching this annual event and continues to oversee it, proudly presented the fundraising check to several directors and team leaders of Alpha Bravo Canine.

“This walk was our biggest one so far with over 600 attendees,” said Nicholas, who was accompanied by his best friend, Ben Ruepp, and Stryker, the Alpha Bravo Canine’s mascot. “I hope it continues to grow so we can help more veterans.”

Ben helped Nicholas prepare this event. Both boys have been involved with Alpha Bravo Canine since its inception. They are both junior trainers who help train the service dogs.

“The money raised at this fundraiser is so important to maintaining our mission because it costs $25,000 per dog during a two-year time frame before each one is ready to be placed with a veteran,” explained Jennifer Green, Alpha Bravo Canine Founder and Director.  “This money covers the cost of food, veterinarian care such as spaying and neutering, and any other incidentals necessary to prepare these dogs for worthy veterans.”

Jennifer, who has worked with veterans with post deployment struggles, said that “raising and training these dogs is our way of giving back to veterans who often feel isolated. These dogs can change their lives for the better by lifting their spirits, resulting in a reduction of suicide among veterans.”

Training begins when a puppy is 8 weeks old, at which time each dog goes to a qualified volunteer puppy raiser’s home.

“We use all Labs because they are easy to train and super adaptable,” explained Jennifer. 

All dogs are currently trained in a borrowed ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) completed training facility in Newtown where Jennifer works as a certified personal dog trainer.

Jennifer added that it’s on her wish list to find a permanent training facility for these service dogs. Susan Perras, a Yardley resident and puppy raiser for Alpha Bravo Canine, routinely brings her dog to the Newtown facility for training. 

She explained that all service dogs are named after a fallen soldier, and that her dog, Mae, was named after a World War II nurse.

“It’s so rewarding watching Mae acquire new skills during each training session,” said Susan. “It’s also gratifying knowing that Mae has a higher purpose in life.”

Susan, who has three children at home, along with her own dog, takes Mae all over Bucks County to help develop her socialization skills. “I’ve taken Mae to PTO meetings, band and orchestra concerts at school, and even to movie theaters.”

According to Tracy Ruepp, who oversees this organization’s puppy raisers, this non-profit usually trains six dogs at a time, but she says, “We would train more service dogs if we had more puppy raisers.” 

Tracy looks for puppy raisers who have flexible schedules and who have a need and a willingness to give of their time. Many active retirees or people who work from home make great puppy raisers. She emphasized that puppy raisers are carefully screened before they are selected.

Thus far, 11 veterans who fought in wars ranging from Afghanistan all the way back to the Vietnam War, have received service dogs, and as Alpha Bravo Canine continues to train more and more dogs, it’s certain that more veterans will benefit as a result of this organization’s mission.

To make a difference as a volunteer, puppy raiser, or sponsor, contact Alpha Bravo Canine at 267-689-1593 or email Also visit for more information.

PHOTO CAP: Yardley resident Susan Perras, an Alpha Bravo Canine puppy raiser, walks her service dog Mae outside the Newtown training facility.

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