Dogs For Our Brave is on a mission to provide service dogs to those US Veterans wounded while defending our country. The dogs are meant to assist them in their everyday lives with everything from routine tasks that the veterans can no longer do for themselves because of their injuries, to unusual functions such as dialing 911, turning light switches on and off, bracing, opening doors, or even waking those with PTSD from their devastating nightmares.
Founder Andy Gladstein was inspired to inaugurate this organization after meeting the man in charge of the Navy Seal Base while in a telecommunication store in Coronado California in May of 2013. After the two befriended each other Andy asked his friend if he had any suggestions for a memorable anniversary present for his wife Marylynn. His Navy Seal friend who had been deployed 28 times suggested he buy a dog, have it trained and give it to a soldier that came back from war without limbs.
Andy did exactly that. He discovered an organization that matches soldiers with dogs however the cost of training a dog is $25,000. In addition, the soldier would have to be burdened with the added cost of equipment, feeding, and veterinary charges. Andy’s wife Marylynn had a special place in her heart for veterans since her dad was one. Andy came to the realization that what these soldiers needed was someone who would fight for them as they had fought for us and “Dogs For Our Brave” was born. Andy decided that most veterans could not afford the cost of training a dog and then caring for it so it was decided that “Dogs For Our Brave” would completely cover those costs.
I spoke with Andy in his endeavor to raise funds and awareness for this cause and was completely surprised and even shocked about some of the facts he spoke of……After speaking to Andy I realized that these dogs are actually saving someone’s life.
Your organization pays for everything is that correct?
We pay all of their expenses. You take someone that comes home and has no job and three kids and a wife and 100 percent disability. What do you do, pay your rent or take your dog to the vet? Buy food for the family or take your dog to the vet? This isn’t fair. Giving a guy a $25,000 dog, which by the way is not a pet but is a service dog changes their life. It gives them a purpose. Many of them are by themselves. They are shut-ins and they don’t want people around. They have food delivered to them…. and these dogs help bring them out of their shell. People don’t realize it but 22 veterans a day commit suicide.
Twenty-two a day commit suicide. That’s 8,000 a year. That fact is swept under the rug by the VA and the media. Obviously we can’t train 22 dogs a day which would come out to about $300 million a year to do that, but when you can get these veterans dogs, and see the change in their life,……it literally saves their life. So that’s what we do.
You hope to build this organization?
Marylynn and I can’t afford to do this forever. It’s really a labor of love. To get to know these guys… they are really sweet, they are kind and I’ve yet to hear one of them say “why me?” We have one guy in Jacksonville who said “I’m so glad it happened to me instead of one of my guys.” This guy has no legs at all, nothing from the hips down. He’s getting a dog in a couple of months. You get close to them. He has four children, a wife and only gets $3000 a month from the VA.
Andy are you a veteran?
Where can people learn more about this an be able to donate?
If you go on the website you can watch some of the videos and really get a feel for the organization. For example, when one of our trainers says “get help get help”, the dog will bring somebody back. If they are hypoglycemic and they need orange juice, the dog will go to the refrigerator and bring them orange juice. The dog will even get their pills. They are very, very smart animals. We have a Facebook page too https://www.facebook.com/DogsForOurBrave/
How You Can Help:
You help gives us the opportunity to rescue dogs in need, provide them with the proper training and match them with their injured service member.
Donate to Dogs For Our Brave here:
For more information go to https://www.dogsforourbrave.com