Coleman Natural Foods has announced the first six veterans and service dogs to graduate from the American Humane Pups4Patriots program thanks to funds provided through the generous commitment the company made earlier this year.
“It was by chance that September is National Service Dog month, and the same month we celebrate our first class of graduates,” said Mel Coleman, Vice President of Coleman Natural Foods and 4th generation of the founding Coleman family. “We can’t think of a more opportune time to recognize these men and women, and their pups for their achievement and service.”
For many brave members of our nation’s armed forces, coming home as a civilian is only the beginning of another daunting battle. The invisible wounds of war can cause debilitating symptoms in veterans, leading to depression, social isolation and, far too often, suicide.
A growing body of scientific research shows that specially-trained service dogs can reduce stress and anxiety levels, mitigate depression, ease social reintegration, provide comfort and restore confidence in affected veterans.
However, waiting lists are long and the process is expensive, with intensive compulsory training costing upwards of $30,000 per service dog.
Coleman Natural Foods has committed $800,000 over the next three years to fund the identification, training and matching of more than two dozen dog and veteran pairs.
Graduates of the first training program that took place in Oklahoma over the past six months include:
- Chris (E-6, US Army) and Nora, a 1.5-year-old Border Collie
- Charlie (E-4, Army National Guard) and Duke, a 1.5-year-old English Mastiff
- Bill (E-3, Army) and Bo, a 6-year-old mixed breed
- Alicia (Lance Corporal, USMC) and Gabe, a 4-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever
- Tony (Staff Sergeant, Army) and Oakley, an 8-month-old German Shepherd
- Robert (E-5, Army) and Cowboy, a 9-month-old Dalmatian
“This is just the first of many classes to come through the program,” Coleman said. “In 2020 we hope to double our graduation numbers and celebrate a dozen pairs completing the program. It is an honor to be able to serve those who served us.”
For more information about Coleman Natural Foods, and their support of the Pups4Patriots program, visit www.ColemanNatural.com/Pups4Patriots
Source: Coleman Natural Foods