Contributed by Jin Park, 9 to 5 Pets
On Veterans Day, we honor the millions of brave men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Many veterans come back home to pick up their lives, but for some that is not always an easy task. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), about 11-20 out of every 100 veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Enduring Freedom (OEF) have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a given year.
The VA recommends different types of psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medications as effective treatments for PTSD, but fails to recognize the use of service animals. K9s For Warriors, the largest provider of service dogs for disabled American veterans, is working hard to add the use of service dogs to this recommended list.
K9s For Warriors provides service dogs to American veterans suffering from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and/or Military Sexual Trauma as a result of military service post-9/11. Their goal is to empower veterans to return to civilian life with dignity and independence. The program is backed by new scientific data that proves the use of service dogs as an effective treatment for PTSD. For example, veterans coming into the K9s For Warriors program are on an average of 10-14 prescription medications. After training with their service dog, 92% of veterans reduced or eliminated their medication use.
What is a service dog? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Under the ADA, service animals generally must be allowed in all areas where the public is normally allowed to go.
Is there service dog etiquette? It is always important to remember that service animals are working animals, not pets. Any distraction from saying hello to trying to feed the dog is a BIG NO-NO! So when you see a service dog, please refrain yourself from interacting with them so they can do their job. It is also important to never ask the handler about their disability. Disclosing any personal information to a stranger can be uncomfortable for anyone so remember that a handler has the right to keep their disability private.
If you are interested in how to thank a veteran this year, please consider donating to K9s For Warriors. On this Veterans Day, your dollar will go twice as far to rescue and train a shelter dog and pair them with a veteran that is in desperate need of a K9 buddy. The Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund has offered to match all donations, up to $60,000, as long as donations are received by November 11th!
9 to 5 Pets is proud to be a monthly “Guard Dog” supporter of K9s For Warriors. There are many ways you can help be a part of their life saving mission; whether it be through making a one-time or monthly donation, fostering a dog, raising a puppy, or donating a dog to their mission. To learn more, please visit: Ways To Give
You can also follow K9s For Warriors Adoptable Dogs for a listing of their “adoptable” dogs who were rescued from shelters in hopes of becoming service dogs for their organization, but did not meet the requirements throughout training. Health issues, behavioral issues, or breed/age restrictions can disqualify a dog to be a service dog.
The dogs listed on this Facebook page are not service dogs, and are available to be adopted by ANY loving family that will provide a good, caring home. All of their adoptable dogs are located on site at K9s For Warriors in Ponte Vedra, FL. If you are interested in adoption, the process begins with completing an Adoption Application, which can be sent via email. After your application has been reviewed, K9s For Warriors will set up a meet and greet with your family and any dog you may be interested in. If it is a good fit, an adoption agreement will be signed, medical records and transition food will be provided, and you will go home with the newest member of your family!