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.
Millions tuned in to the Thanksgiving Day
NBC broadcast to watch as judges
crowned 4-year-old Nathan Best in Show.
A Golden Retriever stepped in to nurse
a litter of African wild dogs after their
mother showed a lack of maternal…
Take a look at the Best in Show
winners of the last decade. Plus, meet this year's National Dog Show champion.
As you brine the turkey or cheer for your
favorite football team, take time to be
thankful for your furry family…
From "drop it" to "wait at the door," Mikkel
Becker shares commands you should
teach your pup…
Decorate your home for the holidays
without compromising your cat's safety
with tips from a cat style expert.
We’re sharing our favorite budget-friendly
gifts, from a custom smartphone cover to
the perfect dog treats for…
The plus-size Maine Coon has an adorable chirping voice and gets along with everyone, even the family dog.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.