Grant Recipient SPOTLIGHT: Service Dogs

For dog lovers, the unconditional love of a canine companion heals the soul. For veterans suffering with debilitating physical and mental disorders, the canine companion not only brings independence and a feeling of safety, but also heals our warriors and saves lives by giving a new measure of hope and happiness. Service dogs are devoted companions, helpers, aides, best friends and a close member of their family.

While serving in Afghanistan, Airborne Infantryman and Tee It Up for the Troops supporter and warrior Reid Erickson was injured from multiple IED’s, an anti-tank missile, bomb blasts and was also shot. His constant companion and service dog, Melton, helps him cope with blackouts, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Like many other combat veterans, Melton has given Reid a reason to wake up everyday and is a distraction from the flashbacks of combat.

Because we believe that every hero deserves to heal, Tee It Up for the Troops supports several service dog organizations, including those highlighted below. These organizations help ensure that hope and happiness are obtainable for our disabled American veterans.

K9s For Warriors provides service canines to warriors 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 warriors to return to civilian life with dignity and independence. They are the nation’s largest provider of service dogs for disabled American veterans.

Warrior Canine Connection enlists recovering warriors in a therapeutic mission to train highly-skilled service dogs that provide years of mobility and social support to veterans with disabilities. By interacting with the dogs as they move from puppyhood to training to adult service dogs, Warrior Trainers benefit from a physiological and psychological animal-human connection. As a result of their efforts, veterans with disabilities receive the finest in trained service dogs.

The VA has engaged in a multi-year study into the use of service dogs for PTSD, but they have not announced their conclusions and deny funding them as a treatment  for PTSD. It’s only through extraordinary personal effort and grants, that thousands of vets have been paired with trained service dogs and the outcomes have been life changing.

The cost of service dog programs per dog is approximately $27,000 to train and place a service dog. Every hero deserves to heal! Help our veterans who need a highly-trained canine teammate by donating to Tee It Up for the Troops here: www.teeitupforthetroops.org/donate-tee-troops

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