It’s National Military Appreciation Month, and what better way to celebrate than with the graduation of three new Pups4Patriots pairs: Steve and his service dog, Harley; Dean and his service dog, Bama; and Mike and his service dog, Scout!
Research shows that specially trained service dogs can reduce stress and anxiety levels, mitigate depression, ease social reintegration, provide comfort and restore confidence to veterans struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury. However, there are many obstacles standing in the way of veterans in need of service dogs, including long waiting lists and exorbitant costs, often upwards of $30,000 per service dog. Here at American Humane, we harness the healing powers of the human-animal bond by training dogs in need of forever homes and pairing them with veterans who need help – at no cost to the veteran.
For many brave veterans, the return home from war can be yet another daunting battle. Every day, 184 veterans are diagnosed with PTS and, tragically, 20 take their own lives as a result.
Service dogs can make all the difference. So, this National Military Appreciation Month, join us in congratulating the new graduates!
Steve served for 25 years (1995 to 2020) in the U.S. Marine Corps. He deployed to Okinawa, Kosovo, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan, before retiring as a Captain. He now lives in Oklahoma and is paired with Harley, a female Golden Retriever.
Note from Steve:
“I wanted to extend my heartfelt gratitude for bringing Harley into my life. The struggles and stigmas dealing with PTSD are a daily occurrence. Harley more than helps me cope with those events; she helps me move beyond them to live a more normal life. Harley might be the most gentle and happy dog I’ve ever encountered and is the exact pairing I needed. She understands when I’m in a state of need and helps me manage my disability. We both continue to learn alongside each other every day… My family is truly grateful for the American Human organization and for what it does for veterans.”
Dean is a U.S. Army veteran. He served as a medic in Iraq and now currently serves as a National Guard reservist in Tennessee. His service dog is Bama, a male Goldendoodle.
Note from Dean:
“Thank you for all you have done for me. I now take Bama everywhere. He has helped by keeping me calm and focused on what we are doing instead of watching around me. He is a blessing to me and our family.”
Mike is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served from 2001 to 2009. He worked as a chemical warfare technician and in emergency management. He currently lives in Tennessee and is paired with Scout, a male Labrador Retriever Mix.
Note from Mike:
“My family and I are so grateful to American Humane and their donors for funding Scout’s training. The VA had been trying for years to get me to have a service dog for my PTSD, but I couldn’t imagine bringing another dog into our house. God had other plans as he sent Scout to us – Scout came out of our woods when he was about 5 weeks old. At that point, the VA recommended I contact American Humane and they were gracious enough to fund Scout’s training. I could never have imagined how much having a service dog would have impacted not only my life, but that of my family. As my 8-year-old daughter said, “God showed you, Dad!”
We are honored to help America’s veterans and we hope our service dog graduates bring their new handlers a lifetime of friendship and joy.