Dogs are more than just a friend to many; they can be life-savers. A local program aiming to help both veterans and shelter dogs is Operation Save-a-Vet Save-a-Pet.
Through a grant from the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund, Veterans Outreach Fund, and donations, Franklin County veterans can receive a service dog that has been trained to help with their disabilities, free of charge. Veterans can also enter their own dog to attend classes to become a service dog at a small fee.
This service is dedicated to helping Franklin County veterans with service-connected disabilities that will help them life happier, healthier and more productive lives.
Disabilities that dogs can be trained to help veterans with include seizure disorders, diabetes, PTSD, psychiatric disorders, stability and traumatic brain injury.
Dogs come from local rescues and are put through a year-long training at no cost to veterans by Helen Carlson, who owns and operates Good Dog Boarding, Doggie Day Care & Training with her husband, Brad, in Greencastle. Carlson, has been training dogs for over 36 years and leads the dogs in the three-phase intensive program which ends with a final phase between the veteran and dog before being certified.
The public can support the program by making a donation to the Franklin County Veterans Affairs Office at 425 Franklin Farm Lane, or by indicating a preference to donate on the PA driver’s license or registration renewal for the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund.
For more information about Operation Save-A-Vet Save-a-Pet, contact Justin Slep at the Franklin County Affairs Office at 717-263-4326.