Help wanted: Raise puppies for nation's heroes

By Ashley Harding, General assignment reporter, aharding@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 27 2013 05:57:40 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 27 2013 08:29:55 PM EST

VIDEO: A local charity designed to help our nation's heroes finds themselves in need, and they're hoping you can do something to help.The group is called Patriot Service Dogs and they're in charge of training and fitting service dogs with disabled veterans or those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A local charity that helps our wounded warriors is finding themselves in need and looking for help.

Patriot Service Dogs trains and fits service dogs for disabled veterans or those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"These are guys and gals with PTSD, mobility impairments, balance issues, loss of a limb. We train our dogs to help out with any of these disabilities," said Susan Bolton, the group's CEO.

Getting these dogs properly trained is not a simple task. When a puppy gets to be about 8 weeks old, a puppy-raiser takes them into their home. That person is then responsible for taking care of them as well as getting them to weekly training classes.

The dogs are trained to help veterans as they're out and about, but also with day-to-day things like opening doors and picking things up off the floor.

Right now, the organization is dealing with a situation very new to them. They don't have nearly enough puppy-raisers to accommodate the 100 veterans on their waiting list. For Bolton, this is a major concern.

"We want to be able to help as many people as possible. Our organization, although small, we want to be able to help as many people as we can," said Bolton.

Bolton says even though the demand for puppy-raisers is high, she says people need to think long and hard about becoming one. It's an 18-month-long commitment, but says the benefits are worth it. Especially for the heroes.

"They put their lives on the line for us ,and it's time to help them," said Bolton.

To find out how you can become a puppy-raiser, you can go to the charity's website, or call: (904) 777-1371.

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