Five puppies are on a very special mission to help veterans

These pups will go from wiggly babies to life-saving animals thanks to specialized training.

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Nonprofit Leashes of Valor is set to train five adorable Labrador puppies for one very important mission – to help veterans. 

Leashes of Valor typically scouts animal shelters for the perfect service dog candidates, trains them up, and donates them, free-of-charge, to veterans with PTSD or other physical handicaps. However, this summer, due to an increased demand for service dogs and an influx of donations, the organization has purchased five Labrador puppies from Hero Labradors, a breeder specializing in service dogs, in order to expand their program and meet the high demand. 

“Every day we take calls from veterans whose condition has been worsened during this pandemic, the quarantine and isolation,” said Navy veteran and Leashes of Valor President Danique Masingill to ABC 8. “Increasing the size of our program is just the right thing to do.”

Very soon, these puppies will be sent home with foster families who will provide basic training and socialization for the dogs until they are ready to be paired with a veteran and begin their formal training. Each dog will have specialized training based on the needs of their veteran, including skills like identifying physiological changes caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, retrieving medicine, waking veterans up from nightmares or performing roles specific to physical handicaps. 

“I’m so incredibly grateful for the families who are helping us respond to this crisis,” Masingill said

In order to accommodate the high demand, Leashes of Valor will increase the typical 16 day dog-and-veteran training program from one veteran at a time to four at a time. 

“We know how these dogs can help, especially in times like this,” said Leashes of Valor Founder and Marine veteran Jason Haag in a press release. “So, while we don’t want to sacrifice the quality of our program, because that’s what makes these partnerships successful, we need to step up.”

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