I saw this story Friday night, Veterans Day, and wanted to share it. It's about a group called Shelter to Soldier which brings Veterans & dogs together started by Graham Bloem, president & co-founder of the organization & Rich Barnes, president.
"We adopt dogs from shelters and rescues after careful evaluation, and we bring them into our program to train them as psychiatric service dogs. The program, on average, is 12 to 18 months of dog training to prepare these dogs and we're able to place them with post-911 combat Veterans in need, at no charge," explains Bloem.
Statistics at www.sheltertosoldier.org show that an average of 20 Veterans and one active duty military personnel die of suicide every day. Meanwhile, nearly 1,800 dogs are euthanized nationwide. Bloem says the staggering statistics are the reason they started the program.
Bloem says as dog-lovers and professionals in the dog-training realm through Shelter to Soldier, he's found that "these dogs provide an incredible sense of comfort, stability, motivation and they're tasked-trained to support very specific medical needs."
Anyone wanting to support the organization or a Veteran looking for services can visit their website for more information.