This month, American Humane proudly celebrated two new graduates from our Pups4PatriotsTM program – Veteran Amber with her service dog Sophie, and Veteran Gary with his service dog Jasmine.
The Pups4PatriotsTM program trains carefully selected dogs and pairs them with veterans who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury. For some veterans, coming home as a civilian is only the beginning of another daunting battle. Here at American Humane, we are devoted to harnessing the healing powers of the human-animal bond to help veterans deal with the invisible wounds of war. These specially trained PTS service dogs can reduce stress and anxiety levels, mitigate depression, ease social reintegration, provide comfort and restore confidence in affected veterans
Amber is a U.S. Marine Corp veteran who served from 2001 to 2007, including deployment in Iraq. She lives in Michigan and met with her American Humane trainer on a regular basis for approximately one year. Amber and Sophie recently passed their veteran/service dog team assessment with flying colors. Sophie is a 3-year-old Bernie-Doodle.
After a year of meeting regularly with their American Humane trainer and plenty of public access practice, Gary and Jasmine also successfully completed their veteran/dog team assessment. Gary served as a U.S. Army Sergeant from 2005 to 2007, including a deployment to Iraq. His service dog, Jasmine, is a female Australian Shepherd. Gary is starting to bring Jasmine to work and she is helping his anxiety immensely. Following his graduation, Gary noted the following:
Thank you to American Humane and the Pups4Patriots sponsors. Without your support, veterans like me could not afford this training for me and my service dog. Without this experience and opportunity you have given Jasmine and me, I would have never left the house. Having to train with Jasmine got me out of the house and something to look forward to. Having Jasmine with me everywhere to support me has just released so much of my anxiety from work, everyday stresses and, of course, my PTSD symptoms when I got outside. I’m no longer concerned that I will have an anxiety attack from PTSD in public.
Your support has given me courage to talk to people about my service dog Jasmine, what she does for me and public awareness about servicemen and women who suffer in silence with PTSD. We show the public that a medical disability isn’t just a physical disability. I have even met so many veterans in public who ask about how I got my service dog. I always tell them about my story and how American Humane and wonderful people who support this worthy cause has changed my life for the better. Everyday I get a little piece of my old self back bit by bit.
Thank you to my trainer, Ann, and American Humane for this wonderful PTSD service dog program and to all of the generous supporters that support this program. You are making a difference everyday by giving back to those that have sacrificed in service to our great nation.
Service dogs are an invaluable asset to veterans with trauma, and we are so excited for Gary and Amber to move forward in their lives with their new special companions. American Humane is committed to putting more healing leashes into the hands of more veterans in need, at no cost to them. To learn more and fund lifesaving service dogs, visit Pups4Patriots today.