Canine Power: Unconventional Ways To Support Our Troops

This Veterans’ Day, we want to help our Military Working Dogs as well as Service Animals who assist those returning from combat.  These dogs assist our military personnel in unimaginable ways, so here’s some information on how we can all help them!

The most obvious way to help Military Working Dogs and their handlers this Veterans’ Day is to help them get the items they need to stay in tip-top shape overseas.  Organizations like K9s of the War on Terror and The United States War Dog Association take donations to send care packages overseas to our canine troops and also have efforts to get them the awards and recognition that they deserve.  The United States War Dogs Association also funds missions to rescue military dogs who were abandoned or left overseas as a consequence of battle.  While both of these organizations take monetary donations, The United States War Dogs Association also has a running list of items needed for their care packages that can be donated in place of money.

Another way to help veterans is by donating to programs that raise service animals specifically trained for those with PTSD.  These intensive programs need funding and the service dogs that have come out of these programs have dramatically improved the daily life of their veterans.  Puppies Behind Bars is one organization that not only trains puppies to PTSD trained service dogs, but also is a prison job program, teaching valuable skills to inmates and giving them the opportunity to connect to these animals and work together with other inmates as a team.  Puppies Behind Bars was even featured in the film Prison Dogs.  K9s For Warriors also trains service dogs for mentally and/or physically injured veterans, but uses rescue dogs from shelters.  One of K9s For Warriors’ biggest goals is to reduce the number of veteran suicides, which is reported around 22 veteran suicides per day.  Donating to these organizations allows the trainers to keep up the invaluable work that they provide to our veterans.

If you’re looking to adopt a dog of your own, both Puppies Behind Bars and The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have programs to adopt out dogs that have ‘failed’ their training programs.  These pups were just not meant to be PTSD or TSA dogs, but are still ready to be loving companions.  Pets that come out of Puppies Behind Bars are well trained and incredibly focused on humans.  These pups come with a high price tag, but that money goes directly back into the program and raising the next dog for the next veteran.  Dogs that don’t complete the TSA’s program are free to adopt and have some training, but will likely need additional training and are very active.  Dogs that come from either of these programs come spayed/neutered and fully vaccinated (but don’t forget they need additional vaccinations annually!).

We hope that all of our veterans are able to enjoy their day tomorrow.  If your service animal or retired military dog needs veterinary care, we hope to meet them here at Emerald Animal Hospital and thank them for all that they do!