Fidelco Receives $100,000 To Train Service Dogs For Veterans
Did you realize that there are more than 160,000 veterans living in the United States who are visually impaired? These stats were compiled by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and there’s more: close to 17 percent of those wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered a severe trauma to their eyes which resulted in vision loss.
These stats are what drove the US Department of Defense (DOD) to award Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation a grant of more than $100,000 to place two of its specially trained German Shepherd Guide Dogs with service members or veterans who experienced eye injuries while on active duty.
You see, the internationally acclaimed guide dog foundation is a non-profit that has become known for its rigorous training and high standards. In fact, each of Fidelco’s German Shepherd Dogs takes two years, 15,000 hours, and $45,000 to breed, train, and place – at no fee – to clients. And even after their pooches have been placed, they continue to provide 24/7 client support for the entire working life of the dog (typically 10 years).
To date, Fidelco has trained and placed more than 1,400 dogs throughout North America to individuals, law enforcement agencies, first responders and search and rescue organizations. Because they are dependent solely on the generosity and financial support of individuals, foundations, corporations, and civic organizations, the DOD grant represents a tremendous boost to their training budget.
“Trained guide dogs offer life-changing assistance for wounded and visually impaired veterans, allowing for independence and mobility that may otherwise have been out of reach,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) who was just one of the many congressmen and women supporting the initiative. “This federal award is a small recognition of Fidelco’s long-time commitment to our nation’s veterans, and the outstanding work they do to provide guide dogs to those in need.”
Fidelco’s “Share the Vision with Service Members and Veterans” program is dedicated to creating successful partnerships between veterans and guide dogs. Eliot Russman, Fidelco’s President and CEO says, “Fidelco has been raising awareness for the past five years among our nation’s leaders about the needs of its blinded military heroes…. we are most appreciative of the unanimous support received from Connecticut’s federal legislators.”
To learn more or to support this wonderful organization, visit Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation’s official website.
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