WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, November 8, 2019 — American Humane, the country’s oldest national humane organization, hosted a special luncheon yesterday in San Francisco to honor our nation’s two and four-legged heroes in advance of Veterans Day, including service dog graduates and their veteran handlers. Military dignitaries, including American Humane Board Member, Col. Scott Campbell, USMC, Ret., and American Humane Ambassador and veteran George Fowler, spoke at the Pups4Patriots™ Luncheon that took place in the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel.
Former U.S. Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, who served five U.S. presidents, and former USA Today journalist and New York Times best-selling author Maria Goodavage, presented to an invitation-only audience of 140 people from the San Francisco area about the tremendous value of working dogs in the lives of soldiers and veterans.
Pups4Patriots is a national program from American Humane that trains life-saving service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), at no cost to the veteran. There are two-year waiting lists for service dogs, and the training process is time-consuming and expensive, costing as much as $30,000 per dog.
Col. Campbell explained, “There is an epidemic of veteran suicides in this country.” He talked about 18 of his fellow Marines who died upon return to the U.S., half to cancer, the others due to suicide. “American Humane knows that service dogs can help veterans cope, generating benefits on both ends of the leash.”
He continued, “When we say this is a lifechanging program, it’s because we hear it from the program’s graduates. Just a few months ago, one of our veterans said this about his new service dog, ‘With Nattie by my side, I feel confident to go out in public…and feel like I have a new purpose. [She] saved my life.’”
Two veteran/service dog pairs from the Pups4Patriots program attended the event: U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jeff and his service dog Charlie and U.S. Army veteran Kellie Jo and her service dog Panda.
American Humane thanked Coleman Natural Foods and American Airlines for serving as Pups4Patriots corporate sponsors. Ninety-one cents out of every dollar spent at American Humane goes directly into its programs.