Abandoned Shelter Dogs Become Service Animals

Maine-Based Organization Helps Abandoned Shelter Dogs Become Service Animals for Veterans

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Nonprofit organization K9s on the Front Line is saving dogs to save people.

Rescue dogs are canines who have been given a second shot at life. Most of them were abused, neglected, and starved to death. A rescue group saves them, and now all that’s left for them to do is wait that someone will offer them a new home. Sadly, most rescue dogs are overlooked, as people think they’re damaged, having gone through a lot, barely surviving every ordeal.

These dogs end up staying at the shelter weeks, months, years more. But one organization has found a way to save these dogs from having to wait longer: by giving them new purpose.

Abandoned Shelter Dogs Become Service Animals for Veterans

Maine-based NPO K9s on the Front Line is committed to providing service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If they receive an application from a veteran seeking help, they ask about the size and type of dog they need and search for the best candidates. The group has made it a point to visit shelters to look for the dog the veteran desires. The canine is then trained to be a service animal before undergoing another training, which they take together with their veteran partner. The intense training usually lasts as long as 16 weeks and is supervised by police K9 handlers.

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Service Dog

The goal of the training is to help the veteran and the service dog form a bond that is strong and mutually beneficial.

Now why dogs? K9s on the Front Line vice president, Lina Murray, shared, “Anyone who’s had a dog knows what a dog can do for you. Dogs can absorb negative emotions.”

These dogs are trained differently. The kind of training they receive depends on the needs of their veterans. If their new master tends to get nervous when people are around, the dog is taught to form a blockade that separates the veteran from the crowd.

By getting them them out of the shelter and helping these abandoned dogs become service animals, K9s on the Front Life is giving new life to both the dog and the veteran they’re paired with.

Head trainer Christian Stickney said, “Really, what we’ve kind of found is, we’re rescuing some of these dogs, and then we’re rescuing the handlers. It’s just a win-win scenario.”

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