By Joe Toscano
This September, in honor of National Service Dog Awareness Month, Purina Dog Chow will be launching its fourth annual “Service Dog Salute” campaign to highlight the life-changing benefits that service dogs can provide to veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Over three million military veterans suffer from PTSD, and service dogs are proven to reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms and suicidal behaviors. Unfortunately, due to the cost and time it takes to train a service dog, less than one percent of those in need can obtain one. Dog Chow is on a mission to help change that. The Service Dog Salute campaign supports the care and training of more service dogs for America’s military veterans to ensure that every hero in need can find a canine hero of their own.
Dog Chow is continuing to help fund organizations who train service dogs for veterans with PTSD, donating $850,000 since the program began in 2018. This year, Dog Chow’s donations will support Got Your Six Support Dogs in Illinois and Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in California.
PTSD service dogs are not he same as emotional support, therapy or companion dogs. Like service dogs for the blind, deaf and physically disabled, PTSD service dogs for veterans must be specifically trained to help their handler perform tasks they cannot otherwise perform on their own. The training process can take from one to two-and-a-half years to learn to perform tasks such as:
Purina Dog Chow and Purina associates are working to bring more awareness and support to veteran service dogs. Here are three ways you can help us: