The Patriotic Service Dog Foundation, a nonprofit based in Orange County, Calif., helps veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by training service dogs to provide companionship to the warriors. It’s estimated that 460,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of war alone struggle with PTSD or traumatic brain injury.
According to the foundation’s website, “These conditions can lead to sleeplessness, depression, anger, anxiety and isolation.” Those are the underlying causes that lead to 22 veterans committing suicide every day. The Patriotic Service Dog Foundation’s mission is to reduce that statistic from “22 to Zero.”
“Our close knit community of volunteers and professional trainers work alongside deserving veterans to develop a lasting and meaningful bond with dogs that provide so much more than just companionship,” the foundation website says.
With the help of the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation, wounded veterans are matched with well-trained, highly skilled service dogs. These companion animals allow the veterans to become more independent and help them better acclimate to life outside the military. Led by Tom Takcett and his team of professional dog trainers, the foundation takes an active approach to helping veterans with mobility and emotional issues and other disabilities.
Tackett, a competitive dog trainer and behaviorist based in Orange County, Calif., is a leading authority in animal obedience and protection and has served as an expert witness in court cases and on television shows. He has been recognized for his work by organizations, such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the Wounded Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Tackett and his team train the service dogs in a variety of areas, including protection and physical needs, such as turning on and off lights and leading the blind.
The foundation provides its services at little or no cost to the veteran and is funded through donations from the general public.