Click here to learn more.
Four years ago, Ari Schiff, a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, started the Annapolis 5K Run and Dog Walk in support of America’s VetDogs — and today it’s still going strong. America’s VetDogs is a nonprofit organization that provides free guide and service dogs to disabled veterans of all eras and to active-duty personnel. It also provides physical and occupational therapy dogs for Veterans Affairs and military hospitals, as well as combat stress control dogs to be deployed overseas. More than 450 participants, many with their canines in tow, came out to support the growing nonprofit, raising nearly $50,000.
America’s VetDogs began in 2003 as a program of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. The dogs perform a range of highly specialized tasks — guiding the blind or vision impaired, providing balance for veterans with head injuries or missing limbs, nightmare interruption and PTSD therapy, seizure alerting and more.
Though some dogs in the program are rescues, the majority are black and yellow Labradors specifically bred for qualities that allow them to perform the special jobs they do. When service dogs enter the program as puppies, they are trained by inmates at correctional facilities in Connecticut, Maryland or Massachusetts. The inmates become 24-hours-a-day trainers with weekly guidance from VetDogs' training specialists. For about a year, the pups in the program follow a service dog curriculum, which means inmates teach them to do tasks such as turn on lights, open doors and retrieve dropped items. On weekends, the pups live with "weekend raisers” to get socialization experiences they can’t get in prison, such as riding in cars, being around other animals or going to restaurants. After the dogs' training is complete, veterans then get about two weeks of training with their new helpers on campus with VetDogs.
More on Vetstreet.com:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
The group Rescue From the Hart took
in canine best friends Monica and
Chandler from the streets of Los Angeles.
Most people who bring a new pet home
have the best intentions. But what if the animal you adopt isn't a match for you?
We asked the pros what it takes to get a
cat recognized as an official breed in the
United States, Canada and the U.K.
We’ve rounded up the most important
senior health and behavior information
from our team of animal experts.
Snakes can be great pets — but are you
prepared to meet their very specific
environmental and dietary needs?
When she's not curled in your lap, the affectionate and elegant Birman will gladly play fetch or chase a ball.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.