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Authenticity           Integrity     
Respect      Teamwork       

Our mission is to provide animal-assisted therapy and other mental health services to military veterans and their loved ones living with service-connected trauma.  

Paws and Stripes offers unique and extensive approaches that set us apart from other organizations focusing on the same or similar populations.   


Paws and Stripes helps New Mexico veterans reintegrate into civilian roles and develop meaningful missions and goals within their lives as veterans. Focusing on catered mental health support, therapeutic services, and service dog training, Veterans enrolled in our programs are given the opportunity to learn life skills to create increased self-awareness in their environments and provide the insight necessary to deal with everyday civilian anxieties such as finances, career challenges, caring for children and maintaining a healthy marriage. 


Lindsey Kay founded Paws and Stripes and has served as its Executive Director since 2010. With her personal experiences as a family member of a veteran living with a brain injury and chronic severe PTSD, Paws and Stripes was born out of an understanding firsthand of the challenges of trauma and its repercussions on Veterans and their families.


The Veteran Service Dog Program’s unique model was first established to address the specific needs of veterans living with these invisible disabilities and is nationally accredited by Assistance Dogs International. Through the implementation of mental health in 2012, the organization has evolved to prioritize veteran wellbeing through a more holistic approach to service. To date, Paws and Stripes clinical staff have a combined 50 years of experience working with clients overcoming trauma and the organization has raised more than ten million dollars to support New Mexico Veterans.  



Paws and Stripes is committed to creating a safe and inclusive space for all veterans and their loved ones. Our team knows that our clients all have their own unique stories and perspectives and acknowledges everyone’s individual trauma and backgrounds.  


Paws and Stripes is a human services organization, and we stand with many others across the globe against systemic racism, against injustice, and against inequality. We know that our clients are just as diverse as the whole of our nation, and we seek to cultivate an environment of acceptance.  


We welcome and celebrate all veterans and their loved ones of any race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, ability, religion, age, ancestry, and other such identities as a part of our Paws community. 


"I spent nearly a decade of my life either as a wife of an active service member or as a wife of a veteran. When I was just 21, I lived in Ft. Riley, Kansas, working in a veterinary clinic and assisting in rescue work for pets in the area. During that time, I came to know and truly care for many US Army soldiers.


That late summer of 2008, most troops on base were finally on the cusp of deployment to Iraq – in many cases, it was their first deployment. I watched the faces of young folks in their early twenties swiftly harden and settle into the new expression of determination and anticipation. Living in a military town, you see soldiers in uniform everywhere you go. But one thing about these uniforms also changed before deployment.


On the right shoulder of every soldier’s uniform is a patch of the American flag. Normally, this embroidered full-color patch, however, when heading overseas, this patch converts to an infrared patch, which looks more of a tannish grey and black. This new patch ensures that while fighting in a foreign land, lost and far from home, they could still find each other. This patch ensured that with night vision, the symbol of the American flag would shine through the darkness. This was the beacon of one’s comrades.


A few years later, I found myself in New Mexico, facing a new frontier after living as an active duty spouse and with a partner accepting the new label of disabled veteran. When the idea of Paws and Stripes first took life, it needed a name, and it needed a symbol. Immediately, the image of the many soldiers’ infrared flags on their uniforms came to mind, and that inspired the Paws and Stripes brand that you see today. This image is a symbol of safety, camaraderie, of refuge. It is the symbol of community. And I would like to think, of hope."

-Lindsey Kay, Founder


Our team is dedicated to serving our veterans as individuals, sharing a community with them, as their family members, and veterans themselves.


Gabe Castro (he/him)


Presbyterian Healthcare Services

Kristin McLoughlin (she/her)

Vice Chair

PNM Resources


Allison Ritscher (she/her)


US Navy Veteran 

Keith Little (he/him)

Board Member

Blue Cross Blue Shield


Dathan Weems, J.D. (he/him) 

Board Member

Dathan Weems Law Firm 

Monica Holliday (she/her)

Board Member

Presbyterian Healthcare Services

Dan Hyman (he/him)

Board Member

ReSkin Medical

Loretta Quintana (she/her)

Board Member

Bank of Albuquerque


Charities look to local business for donations to support operating expense, to provide program funding, facilities upkeep and/or expansion, to sponsor fundraising events through cash or in-kind contributions.  Even the smallest of businesses can support their favorite nonprofit organizations through donations of items and services.

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