Service Dogs: Unsung Heroes To Our Injured Veterans

Milan Franklin, left, of Orange, shows Wyatt Dipko, 7, right, of Ladera Ranch, Brody's high-five trick. Tom Tackett of Tackett Service Dogs runs a nonprofit to train service dogs for veterans with PTSD as well as service dogs for those with disabilities such as autism.  

///ADDITIONAL INFO: org.dogs.0114 - ANA VENEGAS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER 

Tom Tackett of Tackett Service Dogs runs a nonprofit to train service dogs for veterans with PTSD as well as service dogs for those with disabilities such as autism.  The program runs out of Orange Acres and making a difference for people with disabilities.

War dogs have certainly been a boon to our military during their deployment to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. And service dogs are easily considered to be unsung heroes to our injured veterans after they return home.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states a service dog is

trained to do specific tasks for a person that he or she cannot do because of a disability. Service dogs can pick things up, guide a person with vision problems, or help someone who falls or loses balance easily. For example, a service dog can help a blind person walk down the street or get dangerous things out of the way when someone is having a seizure.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) similarly defines service animals but also specifies when businesses may prevent their presence in their facilities.

unsung heroes of our injured veterans.

The VA reviews each veteran’s request for a service dog. Once it is approved, the it will refer the veteran to accredited agencies where a needed dog can be obtained. Although the VA does not supply an animal, it does provide for its complete veterinary care and any necessary equipment (e.g. harness and/or backpack) to ensure its optimal use. Otherwise, veterans are required to provide for the daily care of their animal.

Two agencies that provide service dogs are Patriot PAWS and Paws For VeteransHowever, Operation We Are Here is an exceptional resource for military families that includes a list of over 100 service dog providers located across the U.S. Their “About Us” section tells us a lot about them:

If you are a loved one going through a deployment…we hope that in this site you will find an understanding of your situation…you are not alone. If you are new to the military community…we hope that these resources and stories will help you to not just cope with the military lifestyle, but to thrive.”

Amazingly, PETA is not a friend of service dogs. Their opinion:

Optimally, humans should be relied upon for support of the disabled rather than working dogs and other animals—it is too common for animals to be exploited and abused.

Obviously, PETA is out-of-touch with reality and cares not one whit about our veterans.

But most Americans do. And we are thankful for that!

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Additional Resources From The VA

Guide and Service Dogs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Fact Sheet on Guide and Service Dogs

Chuck Yarling has had many titles in his career thus far: veteran, engineer, math teacher, consultant, technical writer, book author and publisher, and triathlete. He was a member the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Bugles Across America, which plays Taps at military funerals and special events. Spec. 5 Chuck Yarling served with the 26th Combat Engineering Battalion in Vietnam as an awards clerk. His service with the U.S. Army resulted in being awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Army Commendation Medal. You may reach Chuck at [email protected]