On this day of remembrance and gratitude, we celebrate the men and women who have bravely served our nation and fought to maintain our freedoms. For some the fight continues, long after they return home. We encourage everyone to be aware of the internal battles that veterans may face. Today, and everyday, we thank all veterans for your service, courage, and strength.
As of June 20 of this year, 185 veteran and dog teams have successfully graduated the SBF program. Each of these teams have witnessed first-hand the undeniable advantages of having a “best friend” and battle buddy. While we are extremely proud of their dedication and commitment to the program and each other, we are in complete awe with what these teams accomplish together in their day-to-day lives after graduation.
A true testament to the SBF program and mission is seen in the graduate team of David and Caleb. Like many veterans who have witnessed the harsh outcomes of war, David was living with PTSD, making it difficult for him to readjust to civilian life once he returned home. The obstacles David was facing made seeing the light at the end of the tunnel nearly impossible which prompted his decision to search for help. He reached out to SBF with the hopes of regaining control of his life and that is when he was introduced to Caleb. The two trained together to establish the trust, love, protection, and companionship they both lacked prior to meeting each other. Graduation came in August 2015 and things continue to look up for the dynamic duo.
LivAbility Magazine captured a piece of David’s life after Soldier’s Best Friend. He is involved in an assortment of community outreaches which includes providing resources to other veterans and their families and volunteering at homeless shelters for veterans and troubled youth. “I want to do as much as I personally can to give back because so much was given back to me”. We are beyond proud of David for not stopping at improving his own life but continuing to positively impact the lives of the veterans and families he comes in contact with.
Click here to read the full article on David and Caleb, pages 58-59, in LivAbility Magazine.
Soldier’s Best Friend was honored to join the Saguaro Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution as they hosted one of their monthly meetings. While there, Damian, who is our Director of Veteran Services, and his best friend Bella represented SBF and the extensive training veteran and dog teams go through while in our program. SBF is an organization dedicated to pairing, training and serving U.S. active duty and military veterans living with combat-related PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs. Most dogs in our program, like Bella, come from shelters all across Arizona which helps us maintain our mission of touching and saving two lives at once.
See below for the full transcript of the article or click on the picture above to visit the source.
Group learns about soldier dogs
Animals help veterans cope
By Stan Hughes
SPECIAL TO INDEPENDENT NEWSMEDIA
March 22, 2017 | Page A23
Sons of the Revolution members learned how important dogs are to helping American veterans returning from overseas.
Damian King and his dog, Bella, from Soldiers’ Best Friend, demonstrated at a meeting of the Sons of the American Revolution the training each went through to help each other. Mr. King is Soldier’s Best Friend veterans programs director.
The mission of Soldier’s Best Friend is to provide U.S. military veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury with service or therapeutic companion dogs. Most of the dogs are rescued from local shelters. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once.
The Sons of the American Revolution is the leading male lineage society that perpetuates the ideals of the War for Independence. Those who have an ancestor who supported the cause of American Independence during the years 1774– 1783 are invited to join the SAR.
The Saguaro Chapter is an active group serving all West Valley cities and communities. The Saguaro Chapter meets for breakfast the fourth Saturday each month from September to May at the Golden Corral, 17674 N. Litchfield Road, Surprise. Call Jan Huber, registrar, at 623-975-4805.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Hughes is a Peoria resident and member of the Saguaro Chpater of SAR.
Copyright © 2017 Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA, All rights reserved. 3/22/2017
Memorial Day is a time for the country to pause and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our nation’s freedom. As we take pause, we should also reflect on the service men and women who have returned home, but remain in a battle with their wounds of war. Soldier’s Best Friend is committed to serving these veterans by providing them a service dog to help lessen their symptoms of combat-related PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injury.
The most recent suicide data report from the VA (August 2016) states that an average of 20 veterans take their lives each and every day. One is too many; 20 each day is intolerable. Memorial Day can be a stressful time for some veterans. It’s a time to remember the fallen; for our veterans that is often a very personal loss. For some, it means reliving horrible memories. We hear from the veterans in our program, that some experience an increase in their symptoms around certain holidays. Memorial Day is one of those.
If you or a veteran you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts, contact the Veteran Crisis Line for help. They provide confidential, round-the-clock support with trained and experienced responders.
It’s important for people to know that while our returning military heroes aren’t in a battle zone anymore, many are still battling a dangerous fight every day. Please help share information about Soldier’s Best Friend so that we can continue to provide this life-changing program to veterans at no cost to them.
The Foothills Focus published an article on the front page of their March 8, 2017 issue highlighting the upcoming Rotary Club of Scottsdale North fundraising event for SBF. Tickets are available for this fun event on Saturday evening, March 18, at Pinnacle Peak Village. Thank you to The Foothills Focus for the publicity and to Rotary Club of Scottsdale North for all their hard work hosting this event for the benefit of veteran/dog teams in our program.
Entire article as published in The Foothills Focus on March 8, 2017: http://www.thefoothillsfocus.com/030817-RotaryClub.asp
Soldier’s Best Friend would like to sincerely thank the Petco Foundation for their steadfast support of our service/therapeutic companion dog training program. We have been fortunate to be awarded several Helping Heroes grants from the Petco Foundation in the past few years to support our program. This has provided training, equipment, veterinary care and support for dogs we have adopted and veteran/dog teams who work very hard to master the skills they need to be a successful team.
In honor of the World War I peace treaty signed at 11 a.m. on 11/11, the Arrowhead Chick-Fil-A donated 11% of their proceeds to the Peoria American Legion Auxiliary Unit 62. The Auxiliary raised the remaining funds to combine with this donation to sponsor a Soldier’s Best Friend veteran/dog team. This is a wonderful example of how teamwork in our community can benefit veterans. Soldier’s Best Friend thanks the Arrowhead Chick-Fil-A and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 62 for their support as well as their collaborative spirit to work together to accomplish this goal.
Entire article as seen in the Sun City Independent on December 7, 2016: Sun_City_Independent_20161207_A16_0