CATLETT, V.A. (WDVM-TV) – From shelter to service,Â canine companions are not only man’s best friend, but a necessary support for wounded military veterans who are trying to find their place back into society while dealing with their battle scars.
â€śWe bring in one to three rescue dogs to be trained as service dog candidates every one to three months,” Chris BaityÂ said.
Chris Baity is the man with the plan. The retired marine combat veteran who served time in Afghanistan is training these dogs to help his fellow services members in need. His organization, Semper K9, does just that.
“We saw there was a need. I was given an opportunity to pilot program first, taking rescue dogs and training them to be service dogs for these disabled veterans. That essentially,Â turned into SemperÂ K9. As a kid, I always knew I would do something with animals when I was younger and I got the opportunity to use dogs to some of the coolest things out there,” BaityÂ said.
Baity says the best thing is seeing how a family benefits from their dogs. He says training takes anywhere from one to two years.
â€śWe try to take natural behavior from dogs and modify that and train them to perform what we call disability tasks that can directly alleviate challenges, because of the disability.
Baity saidÂ the best part about his job are seeing the success stories.
â€śI get to see veterans do great things and overcome challenges that they never would have been able to without some kind of support without the community stepping in,” Baity said.
Image courtesy of WDVM-TVÂ