Service dog shortage for those in the military - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Service dog shortage for those in the military

By: Stephanie Jacksis

CENTRAL TEXAS - There's a current shortage of service dogs available for those in the military.  

That's because more troops are coming back from overseas, and soldiers are now seeking help for their disabilities and PTSD.

"They're all coming home at once," PatriotPaws Trainer Bonnie Hoard said.  "And PTSD is now being more recognized.  So veterans and soldiers are more willing to talk about it."

Hoard's service dog Barney helps her focus throughout the day, and keeps her calm at night.

"He helps me with nightmares.  Reduces them significant, and the intensity is tremendously less," Hoard said.

For organizations like PatriotPaws, it can take as long as two years to train a puppy to become a service dog.  Which makes it difficult to keep up with high demand, because PatriotPaws is only able to train 40-60 dogs a year.

"They learn the loose leash walk, sit downs, to the more advanced, 'get the prosthetic leg' to 'get the wheelchair," Hoard said.

She said the dogs are life savers.  They're trained to retrieve medication, they can open doors, wake a soldier having nightmares, and can even call 911 for help.  

The organization is continuing to work hard to provide quality canines for those in the military, but for now there are still 43 people waiting for their service dogs. 

You can help by visiting their website, at www.patriotpaws.org and donating training toys, food, or money.  

 

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