OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – According to a study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans and active duty members take their own lives every day.
But the Healing Paws for Warriors group is trying to change that statistic by helping vets get service dogs.
And Friday, they did just that by hosting their sixth class graduation.
One of the co-founders of Healing Paws for Warriors says that through this program, the group is able to not just save one human life, but a dog’s life as well.
They rescue their four-legged friends from shelters and put them through 120 hours of training before they’re ready to meet their new companion, and the training doesn’t stop there.
“They actually train with the veteran, our lead veteran trainer, executive director, he’s also a veteran who has a service dog, he teaches those individuals how to use those dogs as tools, similar to like a wheelchair,” said Healing Paws for Warriors Operations Director, Shelia Hale.
“Now that I’ve had Herbie with me, that is, of course, my service dog, and I’m doing things that I would never do in a million years. He has actually challenged me to just go for it, you know, just want to wake up in the morning and just go and tackle anything,” said a Healing Paws for Warriors graduate, Figgy Figueroa.