Since the project's inception on the Global Giving network in March 2010, the Dogs4Vets program has raised $8,265 online with a matching grant from a donor for a total of $20,765. We are so grateful to all of you who have given so generously—thank you!
The program is scheduled to officially kick off the third week in July at the new Friends of Animals Rescue and Rehab Ranch located in Summit County, Utah. The 16,000 square foot facility will be celebrating its grand opening on June 26th and we are blessed to have such a wonderful space for our dogs to stay while they are in our program.
We will launch our 6-8 week pilot program with 4 shelter dogs, 4 veterans from the Salt Lake City Veterans Administration, a clinical psychologist, a dog trainer and a number of volunteers to help care for the dogs during their stay at the Ranch. We are very hopeful that the pilot program will also allow us to train a few volunteers and some other dog trainers so that with the next phase of the program we will be able to rescue even more dogs from local shelters and match them with veterans with PTSD. We already have an amazing amount of interest from the community and anticipate that the number of veterans interested in having the unconditional love and support of a furry companion is going to be overwhelming.
It is our goal to eventually take the program into youth correctional facilities. Our trainers will provide the education and support necessary for the incarcerated youth to care for and train the dogs during their stay in the facility. When the dogs are able to achieve “good canine citizen” status they will then move on to find their forever home with one of our veterans. This planned extension of our program will allow the prisoners to experience the joy, compassion and sense of responsibility that can come from rehabilitating and training a dog, as well as learn valuable skills that can help them find a job upon release.
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