The Defense Department estimates that more than 45,000 men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan will come home wounded.
With this in mind, and considering the shortage of dogs available to veterans, a group in Montgomery County, Maryland has established a new program to provide service dogs for local vets at no cost. Jennifer Lund recently founded non-profit Hero-Dogs Inc.
The professional dog trainer based the new organization in Brookeville, where she and an army of donated dogs and volunteer puppy raisers prepare the dogs for their work. The puppy raisers say they are determined to give these soldiers independence and the freedom to live a normal life.
The puppies have all been given patriotic names. “Scotty” is short for Francis Scott Key: another is named General Eisenhower.
During 500 hours of basic training pups will learn to open doors, turn lights on and off, and retrieve objects. It’s a time investment that will pay tremendous dividends when the dogs leave the custody of their current caretakers and embark on a new journey, providing a lifetime of service to those who have so proudly served our nation.