For about a decade after he retired from 26 years of service in the U.S. Army in 2006, Larry Debar didn’t think he needed a service dog to help him in his civilian life in Homer City.
“I thought the dog would benefit someone else other than me,” Debar said.
But seeing a working dog in action on a trip to Florida earlier this year started to change Debar’s mind. At the urging of his wife, Holly, he soon dropped off an application for a free service dog through the Guardian Angels nonprofit program in Williston, Fla.
“It wasn’t but maybe a month or so — it might’ve been sooner — I have a phone call that said I was qualified,” Debar said. “Happiest day of my life.”
The Old Man says there may be skeptics who do not understand the immediate impact of a pairing of a Veteran and a service dog. There should be no skeptics. Each day that there is a connection between a dog and Veteran is one day when there is, possibly, one less suicide. Right now those skeptics are rearing their ugly heads in the form of politicians who are reluctant to support legislation that would provide funding and support for Veterans and their service dogs. That funding will enable organizations like the Guardian Angels and other 501c3 non profit organizations to make the connect! There must be an effort to reach out to those members of Congress who can make that funding happen.
A number of Veterans who fall victim to the last desperate act of suicide do so because they have lost the will to live. The will to be part of life! They are afraid of getting out and living. Provide a veteran with a service dog and you energize him to get off his ass and live, again. A service dog enables the process of healing.
Having a dog requires interaction; it’s a two way street. Your dog is there for you and you must be there for your dog. That means getting out and being active. The veteran and the dog are active together, walking, exercising, and being out in public feeling life! The dog aides the Veteran in dealing with the emotional and physical challenges of that activity. No longer is the Veteran alone and afraid! Then the healing begins!
Take a moment and visit the Guardian Angels website and learn about the work they do, their commitment and the success stories they share!.
Read more of the story that inspired this post! Courtesy of: Service Dogs ‘Life-Changing’ For Local Veterans | 90.5 WESA