White Dog looks up with sad eyes as we follow together the politics of budget compromise in our nation’s Capitol. We both shudder at the notion that so many social programs are on the chopping block. So many already in need will slip even further under the waves. We worry about the forgotten ones, including those who have served our country and now find no help to fix the scars they bear; we pray for the country’s homeless dogs who through no fault of their own find themselves the disinterested taxpayers burden. Surely someone cares?
When we read about Operation Heroes and Hounds we felt that all was not lost to dollars and tradeoffs and wooing voters. At a grassroots level, people who care are trying to bridge the gap and help those forgotten in the debate. Just people attempting to make another's life bearable…
Heroes and Hounds : Dogs & war veterans help each other adjust.
By Julie Jessup Wednesday, Mar 23, 2011 NBC LA
Both were struggling to find their way in a society that couldn't find a place for them. But through Operation Heroes, they have each other.
U.S. veterans suffering from brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder and dogs who were on "doggy death row" and considered unadoptable have found comfort in one another.
"The dogs are from the streets, just like the men and women we work with," Rachel Feldstein of New Directions, a veteran advocate group that helps aid the project.
"He's a lover, he's just so great," said vet Sonny Patrick of her dog, Sarge. Patrick struggled with alcohol and homelessness after serving in the Marines, and says veterans haven't always been taken care of after returning home.
Feldstein says veterans participating in Operation Heroes report a 35 percent increase in life satisfaction. Meanwhile, the dogs are saved from being euthanized.
"It's remarkable to see these guys helping the dogs so much, and in return, the dogs just love them to pieces," said Tamara Geller of Operation Hero.
Operation Heroes & Hounds' presents injured members of the United States military with the unique opportunity of coaching and living with shelter dogs. Operation Heroes & Hounds participants include "the walking wounded" of the United States military suffering from non-visible ailments such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Shelter dogs selected for the program are in need of behavior modification through kind, nonaggressive training. Both service members and shelter dogs learn a new set of skills that will make a positive impact on their future.
Operation Heroes & Hounds aids both two- and four-legged participants. Service members gain a renewed sense of purpose, confidence, and life skills to aid their transition back into society. Shelter dogs learn canine good manners, experience unconditional love, and have an increased chance of adoption into a forever home as a result of the program. The pilot program of Operation Heroes & Hounds was implemented to aid wounded marines at Camp Pendleton, California. Our goal is to offer this valuable program to other members of the armed forces and shelter dogs across the country in need of assistance.
People helping each other and pups to help themselves …now THAT makes for a wonderful world!