September 7, 2017
DogWatch Meets Our Sponsored Service Dog
As we announced earlier this year, DogWatch Inc. is sponsoring a service-dog-in-training with America’s VetDogs. DogWatch’s sponsorship helps to cover a portion of the costs associated with final training for one dog on its way to becoming a working service dog.
Last month, the DogWatch Corporate team had the truly inspirational opportunity to witness the graduation ceremony for “our” dog, Reka, and the veteran with whom she was matched.
Reka (see photo at right) is a 14 month old Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix who has been in training since the day she was born at the Guide Dog Foundation in Smithtown, NY. Dogs who are selected to continue their training then spend a year living in a prison where most of the general training occurs. When ready, the dog returns to the Guide Dog Foundation to be matched to a veteran. After the match, the dog receives training specific to the disability of the veteran. To complete the training, the veteran and the dog spend two weeks living together at the Foundation.
Reka was matched with a 32-year Army veteran whose career included 8 deployments, beginning in Vietnam. Reka is trained to assist her veteran in managing his PTSD symptoms, including specific techniques for waking him up if he has nightmares, calming him if he has panic attacks and maintaining positions to protect and reassure him in stressful situations.
Our corporate team reports that it was a pleasure to spend time with both Reka and her veteran. They are equally delightful! It is a gratifying experience to see firsthand that DogWatch’s contribution is having such a direct impact on improving the life of someone who has given so much to protect us and others around the world.
The America’s VetDogs assistance programs were created to provide enhanced mobility and renewed independence to veterans, active-duty service members, and first responders with disabilities. All of these services are provided at no cost to the individual. To learn more, visit www.vetdogs.org.
Photos courtesy of America’s VetDogs