Roots of Change is a storytelling platform dedicated to the Alumni community of The Funding Network Australia. Here we share their stories of ingenuity, courage, determination, spirit, growth and the impact these grassroots organisations have had, as a direct result of funds and support received from The Funding Network community.

Happy Paws Happy Hearts

Happy Paws Happy Hearts


By connecting isolated Australians with rescue animals in need

Happy Paws Happy Hearts (HPHH) is effectively addressing two significant social problems: social isolation for veterans or people living with a disability, and animal abandonment.HPHH puts individuals at the centre of its services to restore their sense of purpose. They deliver on a broad range of outcomes including improved well-being, increased social participation and new employment prospects. They are seeking funding to deliver a 6-month program where veterans will train their own rescue dog to become a support animal.

2018 Pitch

Funds Raised: $50,200

Pitching at TFN Brisbane, Zoe wanted to address two significant social problems: social isolation and animal abandonment. Zoe was raising funds for a program that would pair veterans and shelter dogs together to undergo training together to overcome isolation and make the dogs more adoptable. 

The impact…

Australia has been involved in active conflicts internationally for the last 20 years, meaning that many of our veterans have first hand experience of warfare and the stress that can inflict. This trauma is something that is carried with them, even after they leave the defence force, resulting in poor mental health, isolation and higher rates of suicide.


Speaking at TFN Live Brisbane, Zoë and Tom spoke about the difficulties faced by veterans returning from service, and their new program to help themselves, by helping an animal. Rescue dogs and veterans can both carry trauma and anxiety, leading them to struggle to reintegrate into society. The Bonding program is about helping eachother, and thanks to the funding received, they were able to launch the program with 5 veterans helping train 5 puppies. One of these veterans is Tom..

“Tom is a Veteran who served this country for 30 years, a huge commitment considering the average service time is now less than 12 years. When Tom returned home, it was a forced discharge. This was hard to grapple with and Tom’s struggles extended to his home and his relationship with his wife.

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Tom speaks of the intense nature of his time in the force, of having had his purpose and pride stripped away and feeling as though he had let down everyone around him. Fortunately, Tom has found a great connection to the dogs he has worked with at Happy Paws Happy Hearts and the group of Veterans involved in training our Bond puppies.

It has been our great pleasure to include Tom in the Bond course because he waited a long time to see it come to fruition and helped pitch the benefits at the TFN Funding night. We have seen him grow in confidence and adopt a dog from the shelter (Zeus) who he is transferring his dog training skills to. Tom also reports that things are much calmer at home.

Bailey - A litter of four puppies were surrended to the RSPCA in January. The puppies were separated from their Mum at just 5-6 weeks old and would need lots of time and attention to help with their socialisation skills. Puppies taken away from their Mums at a young age struggle with socialising as they have no role model to learn from.

Through the Bond program, Bailey has improved dramatically in dog social skills and shown great potential to become a working "Assistance Dog". He has also benefited from time in a loving foster home where he rebuilt his trust in humans.” - Zoë Black

Read their Impact Report

Meet the paws!

Learn more about Happy Paws Happy Hearts

Pathways to Resilience

Pathways to Resilience