GREYHOUNDS AS VETERANS’ SERVICE DOGS
We owe our Veterans so much – especially the freedoms we enjoy and so recently have exercised, as exemplified by our elections. As we honor Veterans today, let’s take a look at Greyhounds trained as service dogs to help vets deal with PTSD, mobility issues, and many other challenges. We have discussed Greyhounds as therapy dogs before, and indeed, many are enthusiastic about a second career after “retirement”. But did you know that they can be trained for the specialized requirements of service dogs?
Greyhounds have a tremendous connection with humans, and have been handled and trained from birth by professionals. This creates a dog that is ready to go directly into the specialized training required to become a service dog. Their strong athletic bodies are perfect for the task at hand, and their gentle, loving minds are more than ready for a new challenge in life.
There are a couple of groups who are working diligently to find suitable retired racers to train as service dogs, none more noteworthy than Hounds & Heroes. The Hounds & Heroes Program was started in 2011 under the auspices of Awesome Greyhound Adoptions of Boynton Beach, Florida. Since then H&H has trained and placed 30 Greyhounds with men and women veterans of the Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy. Each one has a wonderful story, which you can see here https://www.awesomegreyhoundadoptions.org/placed-service-dogs
Only hounds with certain traits are suitable for the specialized training, which lasts for about six months with trainers, and then an additional month with the veteran and trainers: all at zero cost to the veteran. These service dogs help veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, MS, traumatic brain injury, and other health issues, plus those needing mobility assistance. In addition to the comfort a dedicated service dog provides, they provide structure to the veteran’s day and socialization opportunities.
This work is funded entirely through donations from individuals, businesses and the community. You can honor your favorite Veteran today by donating at https://www.awesomegreyhoundadoptions.org/hounds-and-heroes. You can even donate in honor of your favorite branch of service.
Hounds & Heroes has five dogs in training now and are "stocking up" with dogs from owners and trainers. Fosters are working on their "house manners" and doing some preliminary training. Barbara Masi, founder and head of Awesome Greyhound Adoptions says “We hope to have enough dogs for the program to last a minimum of two years (allowing for 6 to 8 months training time for each).”
We thank our veterans for their sacrifices on our behalf, and we thank Hounds & Heroes for helping so many veterans with their daily challenges.
I was so happy when I found this website because it just confirmed my own story.I am a civilian but I am struggling with PTSD and getting a Greyhound has changed my life for the better. My dog has been with me for almost 9 years now and I am so fortunate to have him. He has helped me overcome crippling social anxiety,eased my depression and even saved from getting bitten by a water moccasins. Greyhounds are amazing,and I hope more people will realize that they make perfect therapy dogs,in particular for people struggling with PTSD