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K9s for Warriors Celebrates Veteran Graduates

K9s for Veterans and Animal Fair.

Animal Fair, a website dedicated to pet awareness, has launched the Bark Business Benefit Tour to help raise money for the K9s For Warriors program. The program seeks to match displaced doggs with veterans suffering from PTSD, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to the efforts of Animal Fair and their tour, over $120,000 has been raised.

One of the most recent stops on the tour was in Nashville where two veterans graduated from the K9s For Warriors program. The graduates, Alex and Melissa, have reported that their furry friends influenced their lives for the better.

Animal Fair reports that, "Alex, age 27, graduated from the K9 program in August 2012 after serving in the United States Army for six years along with Skip, a Labradoodle found wandering the streets of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Skip, Alex says, was the reason he was able to eliminate prescription medication and stop counseling.

"Melissa, age 40, served with the US Army as an SPC for eight years and graduated from the program in June 2012 along with Chauncey, a Golden Retriever who was dumped in an animal shelter by Ohio owners who simply didn't want him anymore. Chauncey has helped Melissa cope with her PTSD and assists with her balance and mobility. Prior to meeting Chauncey, Melissa had developed a stammer stemming from her PTSD, but after meeting the big, lovable boy, she discovered that her stammer disappeared."

Transitioning out of the military isn't always easy, and some veterans are forced to struggle with PTSD as they reclaim their lives in the civilian world. As the drawdown of operations in the Middle East create a surge of returning veterans, PTSD has come to the fore as an issue that must be addressed. The condition has a wide range of symptoms: some servicemembers experience trigger-induced anxiety, while others endure constant depression.

The work that K9 For Warriors has done shows that matching veterans with dogs can be a very effective way to deal with PTSD. A dog can bring loyalty, compassion, and friendship into the life an individual who's willing to receive it, and their healing effect should not be underestimated.

If you'd like to contribute to the Bark Business Benefit Tour, keep in mind that 94% of every dollar goes to veterans and dogs, and only 6% is left for overhead. You can donate via Crowdrise to support the entire project, or pick a specific location like San Diego. Another way to help out is to simply attend a Bark Business Benefit event at one of the following locations:

Washington DC – Friday September 20, 2013

New York Monday September 30, 2013

Los Angeles Saturday October 5, 2013

New Orleans – Friday October 11, 2013

San Diego – November 10, 2013

Dallas - Friday November 14, 2013

Philadelphia - Saturday November 16, 2013

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