ANTHON, Iowa (KTIV) – Those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country often aren’t the same when they return home.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, suicide rates for veterans climbed 26 percent between 2005 and 2016.
According to the department, more than 6,000 veterans are dying by their own hands each year. That comes out to nearly 20 suicides a day.
“We believe this is a way we can help them to come back because they go and they serve and they’ve seen things and been through things most of us can’t even imagine,” said Cindy Brodie, Director/Lead Trainer for Partners for Patriots.
Partners for Patriots is a non-profit organization that provides service dogs for disabled veterans.
The canines are trained to do a number of things to become the appropriate assistant for those who need them.
“They are there for them,” said Brodie. “Even with PTSD, if they start getting anxious they’re right there to calm them down. Night terrors, they’ll turn on a light and wake them up. They are there for them if they need life skills if they need the dog to pick up things because bending over after a traumatic brain injury is sometimes very difficult.
Before becoming an official aid for a veteran, the dogs must go through a series of training.
“It depends on the task that the dog needs to perform,” said Brodie. “PTSD we might have them 4-6 months, they still do have to go out-public access- they have to go to malls, stores, and learn how to behave. And the other dogs, depending on the number of tasks that they need to learn, it’s maybe six months to a year.”
Brodie says it is impossible to describe what the service dogs do for the veteran, on a day-to-day basis.
“If you see a veteran with a service dog, ask them what a difference this dog has made in their lives,” adds Brodie.
Partners For Patriots was formed in 2009 in Tennessee and relocated to Iowa in 2013.
For more information on how to get involved or donate, click here.