K9 Veteranʼs Day honors the service, dedication and companionship provided by military working dogs. There is a rich and storied tradition of manʼs best friend as they relate to military service starting as far back as the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians.
Today, that tradition continues on modern battleﬁelds and through Legacy of Valor partner Southeastern Guide Dogsʼ Paws for Patriots program.
The military working dogʼs role in service includes courier duties, guard and sentry duties, and occasionally direct-action against opposing forces (think biting and take down). They also contribute significantly through the use of their highly developed sense of smell by detecting hidden explosives. Above and beyond all of those duties, the military working dog provides friendship, comfort, and companionship to its handler and is always treated with respect and dignity.
An example of this dignity is that military working dogs are given military ranks, always higher than their handlers, to ensure that human soldiers never forgets to place the dogs' needs above their own. K9ʼs are also paid as soldiers. The pay covers their care, feeding, and contributes toward their eventual retirement from military service.
This kind of companionship is carried over after military service ends and that is where Southeastern Guide Dogsʼ Paws for Patriots comes into the picture. They provide service animals to disabled military veterans at no cost to the veteran as a way of saying thank you for their dedication to our country. The dogs are trained and certiﬁed as therapy dogs or guide dogs before being handed over to the veteran -- always to the beneﬁt of both the animal and handler.
These dogs often provide SIGNIFICANT improvement in quality of life to the veterans. Their canine presence enables the veteran to participate in simple activities that you and I take for granted or provides peace of mind in an otherwise desperate situation.
The breeding and training process is expensive, costing about $40,000 dollars per animal. Southeastern Guide Dogs is able to continually provide this service through the generosity of community partnerships, challenge or matching donations, and national fundraising. In fact, through their participation in the Unified Legacy of Valor Opportunity, Southeastern Guide Dogs raised more than $75,000 through 357 donations, which was matched by The Patterson Foundation and will benefit Paws for Patriots.
If you have an interest in the organization, I encourage you to look them up at www.guidedogs.org.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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