Dogs have been serving their human counterpart for centuries.
There are depictions of a dog guiding a blind man in the ruins of ancient Roman cities and in Chinese Scrolls. The first guide dog in the United States was Buddy in 1928.
Dogs have helped man as protectors and hunters and have expanded into so many realms. War dogs, Service dogs, K9 dogs, cancer detection dogs and so on. The number one job is as family companions, with an average of 1.6 dogs per household in the U.S.
In the mid 70's, trainers starting expanding the task that dogs were doing for disabled people and more and more the dogs were used for much more than leader dogs for the blind. There are so many task a dog an be trained to perform and research has proved that the dogs trained to assist someone with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) has helped the person gain confidence and function in society.
Every 80 minutes in this country, from 2015 statistics, a Veteran with PTSD commits suicide. These dogs are lifesavers.
Partners For Patriots was formed in 2009 in Tennessee and relocated to Iowa in 2013. Funding is always on the front burner as we obtain, train and provide service dogs to disabled Veterans free of charge. The dogs are delivered and the Veteran is provided with up to 15 days of training.
Partners For Patriots has provided 5 to 10 dogs per year and recently are in negotiations to purchase a property for the purpose of constructing our Partners For Patriots Canine Complex which will allow us to provide 25 to 40 dogs per year and up to 60 or more at full capacity.
Most of our dogs are taken from Shelters and Rescues. We feel we are saving a life to enrich another. We have had breeders donate pups and older dogs also.
IN the Beginning…
Before Partners For Patriots was established, a couple were on the way to the store and came upon a little puppy by the side of the road. Both were dog lovers and the wife had been training dogs for 24 years after graduating from Drexlers in 1983 as a Certified Trainer/Behaviorist. Running a full service kennel since 1983 the couple took in the little pup, a female Beagle and nursed her back to health. The pup was one of 6 that had been hit over the head and thrown in the river, 4 died, 2 survived. The couple had placed the other female and kept the original pup they found.
River was bloated from worms, anemic, and emaciated from lack of proper nutrition. Full of fleas and foot rot on the bottoms of her feet, the couple began to treat her and slowly but surely her health improved.
During this time the husband had been suffering from chronic health issues and severe depression from the chronic pain. Life was hard and the emotional struggle was very hard. The husband found days hard and was emotionally on a very destructive path as the pain was so hard to handle and the outlook was bleak for any relief from the constant pain after going from doctor to doctor.
River, on the other hand, believed that no matter what the situation, life was good and each day was a new adventure. The little Beagle would not give up on her companion and her loyalty and love and constant companionship slowly brought the husband out of a dark place. River followed him everywhere. Every time he turned around, there she was, when he woke up, there she was.
The needy puppy became the care giver. The couple had put a lot of time into getting the little pup back to health, but the couple could never pay back the loyalty, love, companionship and help that River gave to the husband. Somehow she sensed the husband needed her and she became his constant companion.
Finally finding a doctor that helped with the husbands health issues after a couple of years of chronic pain, the couple are still in amazement of the emotional support that River provided during a very dark time. This little dog went on and above the call of duty. Having trained dogs for everything from obedience, protection, search & rescue, law enforcement K9's and service dogs, they were aware of the benefits of dogs but had never personally been affected as they were with River.
River was taught to bring the phone to the husband if he ever needed it in case of an emergency, but the emotional support that River provided can never be measured, and this from a dog that had started life out abused by the humans she trusted.
River is there for the husband and was there to cuddle the wife after her mother passed away. The couple decided to take the funds acquired after the passing of the wife's mother and to establish a non-profit. The husband's father had been a Marine as well as County Attorney in Woodbury County, Iowa until his death in a plane crash in 1959, and the wife's mother was very supportive of the military as the wife's sister is a Captain in the Air Force (Now Retired) and the husband's cousin is a Marine (Now Retired). The decision was made to provide service dogs to disabled Veterans.
Partners For Patriots was established in 2009 in Tennessee. The couple started fund raising and providing service dogs for disabled Veterans. The need was great and a decision had to be made. Get funds to get a larger place in Tennessee or move back home to Iowa. Partners For Patriots became a non-profit in the State of Iowa in January of 2013. Short term plans are to put up Partners For Patriots Canine Complex in the Siouxland area and future plans are to put up a center in Tennessee and New Mexico to cover the East and West as well as the Midwest.
About Service Dogs
A service dog is an invaluable asset to a disabled Veteran. These dogs, besides giving companionship and loyal service, help the Veteran in many ways. PTSD can be debilitating and can keep the Veteran from functioning in society. These dogs react to the slightest hint of anxiety and intervene by bringing the Veteran back to reality. Always with them, the dog helps them to gain confidence and independence. Traumatic Brain Injuries can cause balance issues and the dogs are always there to support the Veteran, holding as they use the dog for balance or breaking a fall. The dogs are used as support while going up or down stairs. Items dropped are retrieved by the dog. Getting up from a chair can be difficult but with the help of the dog, they can get up and the dog will help by bracing for support or by using the harness hold, the dog helps with forward momentum.
Veterans confined to a wheelchair can depend on their dog to assist in many daily task from getting objects for them, helping to open and hold doors, support when transferring from wheelchair to furniture and back, helping to take off shoes, socks or jackets and bringing the phone in an emergency situation are just a few of the amazing task they perform. These dogs require a lot of training and depending on the condition of the disabled Veteran, are in training for 6 months up to 1 1/2 years.
We rescue dogs from shelters and rescue groups whenever possible so we are changing two lives for the better. The dogs go through medical and temperament test to assure they are sound in body and mind. These dogs are put through training in many situations so they can accompany the Veteran anywhere they have to go whether it is to a doctors appointment or just out to eat with the family.
It is impossible to describe what these service dogs do for the Veteran on a day to day basis. We are determined to provide the best trained dogs to assist these men and women. We feel they deserve whatever any of us can do to help them achieve a quality of life. These men and women have made such a sacrifice for us and we ask you to please donate as much as you can to help us to provide service dogs to disabled Veterans.