In 2004, Charlie Petrizzo left his corporate banking job and with his wife Sandy, purchased 3 acres in Waxhaw to start fulfilling a dream.
It was a dream derived from the joy and healing he received from a dog years after a near fatal accident when he was 5 years old.
It was a dream derived from the joy and healing he received from his dog Toby, while he recovered from another near fatal accident, this time when he was 16 years old.
In a lifetime riddled with immense emotional and physical pain, unconditional love from dogs have played a vital role in Charlie’s journey.
Charlie’s story is a remarkable one, one that defies reason but adheres to every adage about good things coming out of bad.
In 2010, Charlie and Sandy formed Project 2 Heal, a non-profit with a mission to breed and train Labrador Retrievers to enhance the lives of others.
Since inception, Project 2 Heal has donated hundreds of puppies to accredited service and skilled companion dog organizations, who then train and match the puppies with Veterans and people with needs.
These puppies have a purpose from the day they’re born, a purpose fulfilled daily both through training for their future jobs and through interacting with the community.
Project 2 Heal is focused on growing their outreach programs in Charlotte, programs which benefit the community and the dogs in training who, to be successful, need continued socialization and exposure to different environments.
Remarkably, though donations are appreciated, Project 2 Heal does not charge a penny for these programs.
Access to Project 2 Heal dogs, regardless of an individual’s income status, is an essential component of their mission.
Office Stress-Down Days
Project 2 Heal will bring a few of their dogs to your office for a distressing session. The puppies will come partake in selfies, elicit squeals, and impart affection.
Research on the science of cute demonstrates that when humans look at puppies, dopamine and oxytocin (feel good chemicals) are released in their brains.
It’s safe to say dog-friendly workplaces in Charlotte are run by happy people.
By appointment, children are invited to the property to play and interact with all age ranges of dogs. No proof of need or prescreening is required.
Project 2 Heal will also bring their dogs to offices to assist with therapy. Project 2 Heal puppies have helped children with Autism, depression, PTSD, anxiety, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, phobias, and other conditions.
Project 2 Heal puppies and dogs will visit libraries, hospitals, schools, senior centers and other facilities that can benefit from canine companionship or comfort, which is pretty much everywhere.
Project 2 Heal has purchased a 54-acre property in Waxhaw to help grow their breeding, community and therapy programs.
One of their main goals with this property is to contribute to reducing the cost and time it takes to place service dogs.
Veterans with needs can currently wait up to 3 years or longer, which is unacceptably long. Construction on this capital heavy (human and financial) project has not started yet, but knowing Charlie’s determination, I imagine it won’t be long.
Project 2 Heal relies mostly on donations and proceeds from events and fundraisers to fund operations. Support from local businesses are critical to Project 2 Heal’s success as are the 25 or so regular volunteers who help care for the puppy litters (currently they have 6 puppies and perhaps another litter on the way) and resident adult dogs (they usually keep one from each litter for breeding, some stay on site and some are fostered locally).