Strong Alone. Independent Together.
This Veterans Day, let’s honor and support our veterans who served our country—it is our time to give back. With a large population of veterans with physical and mental disabilities as a result of their service, Canine Companions supports our servicemen and servicewomen through our Veterans Initiative program on Veterans Day and every day of the year.
Donate now to provide veterans with life-changing service dogs – FREE of charge. Together, with your help and the help of other generous donors, we can gift enhanced independence to veterans to lead more confident lives.
What we know:
How service dogs can help:
Support Those Who Served
Canine Companions service dogs are expertly trained to assist veterans with physical disabilities and the invisible effects of war and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Canine Companions provides service dogs and ongoing follow-up, free to our clients.
Service dogs are trained in tasks to mitigate disabilities including:
Stories Of Independence
U.S. Air Force veteran Josh Gage with Maverick
As a result of his service in the U.S. Air Force, Josh Gage developed post-traumatic stress disorder, severe back injuries and neuropathy. Upon his retirement, it was up to his wife Sarah to care for his every need.
“We didn’t communicate, Josh didn’t want to talk,” Sarah recalls. “Josh didn’t go anywhere.”
Josh says he was at a low point in his life. “I was super depressed thinking I’d never be able to do anything ever again.” Then he found Canine Companions.
Josh was partnered with Service Dog Maverick, trained in tasks to assist with Josh’s physical disabilities and PTSD. Sarah knew that Maverick would provide a benefit to Josh, but she didn’t anticipate the true scope of Maverick’s impact on their whole lives.
“Maverick reconnected us – we do everything as a family now.”
U.S. Army veteran Victor Prato with Barbossa
On Victor Prato’s first mission to Afghanistan, a suicide bomber blew the doors off their armored vehicle, leaving Victor with significant injuries.
Victor received a Purple Heart and a service dog from Canine Companions. Since then, Service Dog Barbossa has helped Victor regain independence. Barbossa is trained in tasks including picking up items and pulling Victor’s wheelchair.
“Having Barbossa is one of the few things that has panned out the way it was supposed to following my injury,” says Victor. “He encourages me to interact with the world in a way I otherwise wouldn’t. We support each other.”
U.S. Navy veteran Tracy Claudio with Hannon
Tracy Claudio was diagnosed with PTSD while still in the Navy after witnessing traumatic events.
“My PTSD symptoms were getting worse – I was jumpy and afraid to come home because it was dark,” Tracy says.
A Canine Companions service dog named Hannon would make all the difference. Hannon assists Tracy with her symptoms of PTSD. She’s not scared to go home now. Hannon turns on the lights and even decreases her nightmares. He also makes sure Tracy doesn’t let her anxiety and depression keep her shut away.
“I worried that having a dog would make people look at me differently. It did, positively. Thanks to Hannon, I can finally talk about my PTSD.”
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