We recently hosted a special paella lunch at the American Humane Sanctuary where members of the Palm Beach community had an opportunity to meet and hear first-hand the amazing stories of veterans who found their saviors in the form of four legs and a wagging tail. Our Pups4Patriots™ program finds and trains dogs in search of forever homes to be specialized service dogs for veterans in need, at no cost to the veteran. In attendance at the luncheon were recent Pups4Patriots graduate teams Air Force Veteran Mike and service dog Justice, and Air Force Veteran DJ and service dog Gabe.
Mike, who built a career in law enforcement after serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, says having service dog Justice at his side is like having a partner, “watching your back all the time.”
After retiring, Mike began to process his years of service in the military and in law enforcement. According to him, “things started to go off the rails… it hit me pretty hard. I became really introverted – I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was angry, depressed and anxious. So, we stopped doing things that we used to enjoy doing, going out for dinners and things like that.”
DJ is a U.S. Air Force veteran who spent nine years working with Security Forces. His service dog is Gabe, a 2-year-old, male Border Collie. With Gabe by his side, DJ feels much more comfortable in public – he can re-direct his focus to Gabe instead of the people around him. According to DJ, “he knows when to get into your business and let you know that everything is going to be alright … (Gabe says) pet me and stop worrying about the world.”
We are so grateful to these brave veterans who have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedoms and are honored to be able to help them in their time of need.
If you’re a veteran in need of a service dog, you can learn more about our Pups4Patriots™ program and apply for a service dog here: https://www.americanhumane.org/initiative/pts-service-dogs-for-veterans/.