K-9 graduates to give back to veterans in need

Posted on May 18, 2017 by Mat Pellegrino

Three service dogs will soon be giving back to veterans in need.
One of those dogs, “Hero”, who was sponsored by the Navarre Area Board of Realtors (NABOR), graduated with two other veteran service dogs last Friday from the Healing Paws for Warriors training academy, run by Steve Kotowske of What’s Up Dog by Von Herder Haus Kennels.
The two other dogs, “Brave” and “Tango”, who were donated by ERA American Real Estate, also attended the graduation ceremony last week at the Air Force Enlisted Village in Shalimar.
NABOR and other local agencies have been a powerhouse behind giving back to local veterans, and this is one of the many causes they support. Healing Paws for Warriors (a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) is dedicated to providing post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from service related emotional injuries with rescue-to-trained ADA-certified service dogs. Once those K-9s go through their certification, they attend a graduation ceremony. And that’s what the three K-9s did last Friday.
Hero has already been matched with a veteran named Heidi and will serve her for years to come, according to NABOR Executive Director Angela Campbell. Campbell said Hero will help Heidi on her road to recovery, independence and self-empowerment.
“Today we did something special… we made a dent in the #22ADay number of veterans who commit suicide due to service related emotional injuries,” Campbell said.
Even though the agency graduated three service dogs doesn’t mean they were stopping anytime soon. NABOR’s latest recruit, Hurbie, was introduced to the assembled audience during the ceremony last Friday. Hurbie is NABOR’s second Healing Paws for Warriors dog. Previously serving as a long-time resident at the Walton County Animal Shelter, Hurbie displayed “just the right temperament and characteristics” to be trained as the perfect partner for another veteran in need, Campbell said.
To learn more about the program, visit: http://www.healingpawsforwarriors.org/.