This year continues to fly by, and yesterday already marked the first day of autumn. While welcoming the turning of a new season means the return of sweater weather, pumpkin lattes and apple cider-scented candles, American Humane is also pleased to celebrate autumn with five new graduates from our Pups4PatriotsTM program!
This lifesaving program provides specially trained service dogs to veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury. Once trained, service dogs can help mitigate symptoms associated with trauma. Meet our recent grads!
Brian is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Air Force Reserve veteran who served from 2009 to 2013. He was deployed to Afghanistan and also served as a New York City police officer. He lives in Arizona and is paired with Ginger, a female Labrador Retriever.
He noted, “Ginger IS AN ANGEL. She is a snuggle bunny that tunes into my anxiety and subtly nudges me to get me back on task. She is a happy addition to our family. Thank You!!!”
Lloyd is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971 as an Infantryman. He lives in Arizona and is paired with Murphy, a male Golden Retriever.
Lloyd said, “I now realize I would be lost without Murphy. He has become my 24-hour savior. He nudges me when I need it, listens to me (day or night) and gives the appropriate amount of deep pressure therapy that I need.
I thought I knew what a service dog was for, but I didn’t realize how much good they actually do and how much improvement they can make in your life in such a short period of time. Murphy seems to know what I need and when I need it before I do. It is amazing to watch him work and know that it is for me. The look in his eyes when he looks at me makes me feel that I am worth something again. Thank you very much for Murphy.”
Joseph is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served from 1998 to 1999. In addition to his PTSD diagnosis, he has had multiple surgeries on his knees due to an injury while in the service which affects his mobility. He lives in Tennessee and is paired with Kilo, a male German Shepherd.
Joseph noted, “I want to start off by thanking you for sponsoring Kilo & myself through Pups4Patriots. It has been a long journey for the two of us, but we have made it through. Kilo has come a long way since he joined our family in hopes of being more than just a pet, a “battle buddy” for everyday life. Kilo’s always with me from work to doctor visits to our hiking/camping trips. It’s nice to know that I have him watching out for me when we are out running errands or at my kids sports & school functions. He eases my anxiety in crowds having him between me & the people around me. Kilo pays good attention to my actions & gives me a nudge when even I am unaware that I’m showing signs of stress. We have your organization to thank for his training & my ability to be a bit more normal in social situations. Once again, I want to thank you for the support you give to veterans & our families. Thank you.”
Joey is a U.S. Army veteran who served from 2010-2012. During his enlistment, he served as an infantryman and deployed to Afghanistan. He currently lives in Tennessee and is paired with Bugg, a female German Shepherd.
Joey stated, “Thank you to American Humane Pups4Patriots and my sponsor. Bugg helps me in public by keeping me focused on her. She lets me know when people are getting too close behind me. Bugg is my rock in public. She is my best friend. She knows when I start to get nervous, and she calms me down. Just her being with me helps to calm me with everything I do. I am very thankful for Pups4Patriots.”
Joe is a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1991 to 2012, including deployments to Iraq and Bosnia. He lives in Oklahoma and is paired with Bellarosa, a female German Shepherd.
He said, “Bella plays a vital role in my life. Her attentiveness to my subtle movements when I am anxious or hypervigilant has fixed me greatly in improving my self-awareness. Her assistance with day-to-day tasks like walking are a great help. She has been assisting me in dealing with my PTSD, nightmares and night terrors. Her practical role as a life companion and partner has made her a friend that I trust with my safety and well-being.
Bella gives me purpose, the drive to get up and do something because I have to. Even when I don’t want to. She is there to help me and keep my depression lower than it has been in years. She has become not only a mission to see through, in caring for her and being a good owner, she has become like family (not a dog). Her desire to work is unlike anything I have ever seen in an animal. Her intelligence is truly impressive, and she pushes me to be better. She does this for me!
Her excitement when she sees me is a huge intangible. It makes me feel good no matter how my day is going. That love and codependency is solid. To put it more plainly, she has, so far, nudged me when I am anxious, broken me out of a daze and daymare, woke me from nightmares/night terrors, watched my back for me in crowded places and kept people at a distance by buffering.”
There are many obstacles in the way of veterans in need of service dogs, including long waiting lists and exorbitant costs. Here at American Humane, we are honored to harness the healing power of the human-animal bond to train pups who are in need of a forever home as service dogs for our nation’s brave warriors, at no cost to the veteran. We save lives on both ends of the leash through the generous support of our donors. Congratulations to all our recent graduates!