In honor of Veterans Day – a salute to veterans and the service dogs who help them
Charlie stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. “When I was injured, I had been in the best shape of my life. Then I ended up in a hospital bed for over a year. My wife had to do everything for me. I was depressed and in a bad place. For 18 months after my injury I still had my right leg. I had several surgeries to try to save it, but I was in so much pain I decided to have it amputated.”
Canine Companions for Independence matched Charlie with Devon, a service dog trained to help him. “Devon takes care of the simple task of bending over to get something when I’m in a lot of pain,” says Charlie. “Some days I would have chosen not to participate in life and just stay in the house. But Devon is there to put his head in my lap as if to say, ‘Let’s go.’”
“Devon is skilled at bringing my prosthesis when I’m sitting on the couch. He can go to my wife to retrieve something and bring it to me. Just having someone with me to help do things that are difficult for me really affects my life positively.”
CCI has helped a lot of veterans like Charlie by training assistance dogs that can help the veteran be more independent.
A salute to CCI which, for the last couple years, has worked with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs on a study of how to best help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Veterans like Lorrie.
Lorrie served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. When she came home, flashbacks and other PTSD symptoms caused her to be fearful. She become less independent.
Then she was matched with a partner named Kaplan. “Receiving Service Dog Kaplan has made a positive impact on my life,” says Lorrie. “I now go shopping, run errands and even attend my daughter’s high school games, all with Kaplan by my side.”
In 2018, Canine Companions for Independence will start its own pilot program to place service dogs directly with veterans who have PTSD. “Give Veterans Independence — and Give a Dog a Job” will provide trained CCI dogs free of charge to veterans suffering from PTSD.
As a result, says Lorrie, “This program will mean that the lives of many more servicemen and women will be changed forever.”
Read more about Charlie and Lorrie and other Stories of Independence at Canine Companions for Independence. If you’re interested in learning more about Give Veterans Independence — and Give a Dog a Job or would like to support this effort, find details here.