Pennsylvania Program Trains Rescue Dogs to Assist Wounded Veterans

Posted by Katherine Ripley
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The dogs serve as assistants and companions.

A program, called Operation Save A Vet, Save A Pet, has been training rescue animals to become disabled veteran service dogs. The program was started by Justin Slep, a former Marine and the director of Franklin County Veteran's Affairs.

According to ABC News, the rescue dogs first get screened to determine whether they are a good fit for the program. They consider all breeds of dogs, but they first need to make sure that they have a good temperament and the ability to perform the tasks that their future owners will need help with.

Once a dog is accepted into the program, it goes through training, and then is paired with a veteran. The program is completely free for the vets who are involved.


Helen Carlson, the one who trains the dogs for the program, said that so far they have screened about 70 dogs, and they have six currently in the program. She says it can be difficult to find rescue animals who are well-suited to be veteran service dogs.

Save A Vet, Save A Pet will also train dogs who are already owned by disabled veterans to be assistants. For this service, they charge a $50 fee.

For those veterans who have already been been paired with their dogs, the benefits are tremendous. Not only do the dogs help veterans with tasks that they might not be able to perform because of their injuries, the dogs also provide unconditional love.

This companionship can be especially helpful for veterans who are coping with hardships such as PTSD. Dogs provide a constant source of comfort, which is needed to recover in a difficult time.

This post was originally published on May 30, 2016. 

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Pennsylvania Program Trains Rescue Dogs to Assist Wounded Veterans