Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
This Able Veteran Celebrates New Graduates
CARBONDALE -- This Able Veteran in Carbondale is getting ready to graduate its new crop of services dogs. The organization helps veterans suffering from physical and psychological effects of combat with a little help from man's best friend.
When most think of a dog they think of a household pet, but these dogs are much more than that.
They are helping veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder re-integrate into society.
Sarai Ekblad recently left the military. She says the service dog program helps her with her day-to-day activities.
"It really helps me when I'm struggling with my anxiety. If I just pay attention to him everything else just fades away."
This Able Veteran President Behesha Doan says she is happy to provide a helping hand to vets in need.
"The veterans really learn a lot about letting go of the past and really grabbing on with all the resourceful emotions and energies that they have, to a brighter future. That's work worth doing."
Army Veteran Dan McNeill says he is an example of the important services these dogs provide.
McNeill suffers from claustrophobia. He says he doesn't know what he would do without his pal Brooks by his side.
"Yesterday we flew with the dogs and there were so many things that could have triggered fear in him. He's an eight-month-old puppy and he handled it no problem at all. It made me stop and think that the world's not as scary as I'm making it out to be."
Dogs and owners go through a three week training program that include agility drills and behavior training.
Ekblad says all of the training received by the dogs and their owners come down to one thing, "Give up all hope of a better past. Just look for the future and make your future what you want it to be."
The group of service dogs and their veterans will graduate Friday, October 25th in Marion. The public is welcome to attend. You can get tickets by going to www.thisableveteran.org or clicking on the link in the related content tab.
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