‘Shelter to Service’ Helps Save Veterans, One Dog at a Time
A new initiative aimed at harnessing the healing powers of the incredible bond between man and canine has officially launched. American Humane’s Lois Pope Life Center for Military affairs created the initiative in hopes of helping our veterans and their families, while giving a second chance to America’s homeless animals.
Daily, at least 20 struggling veterans take their lives as a result of the invisible scars endured during the war, while more than 670,000 dogs in U.S. shelters are euthanized each year. Scientific research shows that service animals have the potential to offer lifesaving benefits to military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.
The power of puppy dog eyes can greatly affect the overall quality of life for suffering veterans. The waiting lists for such dogs can lead to an extended wait time in addition to the time-consuming, expensive training process. In the end, the dogs can get a bit expensive with a price tag of almost $30,000 per dog.
American Humane developed the program geared toward decreasing veteran suicide while saving the lives of perfectly adoptable animals. The first graduating class of service dogs was recently announced by the country’s first national humane organization with hopes of allowing veterans to experience the unique bond with man’s best friend.
The program, called ‘Shelter to Service,’ rescues shelter dogs facing an uncertain future and trains them to become full-fledged service dogs. The new canine training center at American Humane provides dogs with specialized training for veterans with PTS and TBI, at no cost to the recipient.
The first class of service dog graduates was proudly introduced at the home of philanthropists Jewel and Robert Morris in addition to more than 200 humanitarian and celebrity advocates for our country’s veterans and animals.
More by Cynthia Haldeman