CHICAGO, IL – For many, when thinking about combat and troops, the last thing that comes to mind is the traumatic events soldiers endure by witnessing harmful acts to other people – even to the enemy. According to a major study conducted by RAND Corporation, as of September 24, there at about 2.7 million American veterans or Iraq and Afghanistan wars. At least 20 percent of these veterans live with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD), a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events. Many soldiers suffering form this disorder have difficulty adjusting and coping to their life after returning from war. Understanding the seriousness of this condition, 1 FUR 1 has taken an innovative approach to treating people with PSTD and is offering new grant in partnership with Heartlands Service Dogs to help heal veterans in Illinois and Indiana.
Dogs have long been called humankind’s best friends, but for veterans, the bond can go even deeper. Few understand this bond better than the volunteers behind 1 FUR 1 Foundation, a Chicago nonprofit that maximizes the impact of smaller nonprofits focused on animal-assisted therapy (AAT), animal-assisted activity (AAA) and service dog programs with a unique incubator model, providing one or more of the following to each grantee: strategic direction, volunteer support and/or financial support. The foundation’s latest grant, awarded to Heartland Service Dogs, will allow more veterans to benefit from highly trained service dogs who also offer therapeutic canine friendships.
1 FUR 1 Founder Michelle Djonova shares, “Our veterans do not get nearly the support that they deserve for the sacrifice they have made for our freedoms. Every day, 22 veterans lose their battle with PTSD and commit suicide. 1 FUR 1’s mission is to help one veteran at the time battle this statistic by placing a highly trained service dogs to help gain independence in their civilian life without pain, anxiety and depression.”
Heartland Service Dogs is a nonprofit providing specially trained service dogs for adults and children with mobility needs, hearing impairment, diabetes, PTSD, and other disabilities. The goal is to bring hope, inspiration, and independence to individuals in Illinois. With 1 FUR 1 Foundation’s strategic guidance, a new campaign called Heroes of the Heartland has been launched to assist more veterans suffering from combat related l injuries and/or PTSD will get a helping paw from this wonderful program. After being matched with a dog, veterans can benefit in a host of ways — the dogs can assist with tasks from detecting and alerting panic attacks for PTSD sufferers to reminding owners to take their medication.
The founder of Heartland Service Dogs, Linda Fox said: Heartland is very happy to have the opportunity to partner with 1 FUR 1 in a mutual mission to help our very deserving veterans. Every week we receive more requests for PTSD dogs from veterans. We have a new group of dogs getting ready to enter advanced training and we hope to partner 3 possibly 4 dogs this year with vets. We currently have one dog, Crew in the final stages of training and plan to have him paired this fall.
Perhaps most importantly, animal companionship can be a huge comfort and stress reliever to their owners — particularly for combat veterans, who suffer from PTSD. To learn more please visit www.1fur1.org
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About 1 Fur 1 Foundation:
|1 FUR 1 Foundation’s mission is to rescue struggling and/or new animal assisted programs by creating long-term partnerships with related nonprofits and building healing bonds between humans and animals. As a 100% volunteer-based nonprofit, 1 FUR 1 accomplishes this by providing financial grants, business acumen, strategic and logistical support to like-minded 501(c)(3) public charities, directly impacting their ability to expand their reach and help more people, more often. The Foundation also works to expand public awareness of service dogs; animal assisted activity and therapy grant programs.|
*** Veterans and PTSD.com – RAND study