July 18, 2016 – Earlier this spring, America’s VetDogs, a national organization that places certified service dogs with disabled U.S. veterans, was able to make modifications to its state-of-the-art training facility in part thanks to a $35,000 grant from the Patterson Foundation.
Each year, America’s VetDogs places around 60 dogs with disabled veterans from all eras. “Our service dogs undergo up to two years of training before they are matched and placed with a disabled veteran. Once our team understands the needs of an incoming veteran they build upon and work on training tasks that will specifically help mitigate each veteran’s particular disability. Opening and closing doors, retrieving a variety of items, turning on and off lights, and providing balance and stability are just some of the advanced tasks each dog can be trained to do,” said Andrew Rubenstein, director of marketing for America’s VetDogs. “With the help of the Patterson Foundation, we’ve recently been able to make an addition to our training facility to allow for greater space to train more dogs to help veterans in need as well as accessibility modifications so veterans can more comfortably move throughout our facility.”
Facility modifications include the addition of a new mock training center, adding wheelchair and scooter accessible gates and doors, and renovations to existing residence rooms. These modifications will help America’s VetDogs better match applicants with dogs and allow for an enhanced experience for trainers and students. “Service dogs can have such a tremendous impact on the lives of those living with disabilities, and the Patterson Foundation is proud to be able to help America’s VetDogs serve U.S. veterans,” said George Henriques, Patterson Foundation board member and Patterson Animal Health chief commercial officer.
America’s VetDogs is one of nine organizations that received a grant from the Patterson Foundation in June. The Foundation awarded a total of $134,654 in grants to nonprofit organizations across the U.S.
About the Patterson Foundation
Patterson Foundation is a private grant-making foundation that awards higher education scholarships to the children of Patterson Companies employees and provides grant funding to nonprofit organizations in the oral health and animal health fields. The Foundation focuses its grants on programs that provide dental care to disadvantaged communities, assistance dogs to people with disabilities and leadership opportunities to youth in agriculture. The Patterson Foundation is funded primarily by current and former employees of Patterson Companies, Inc. Visit pattersonfoundation.net for more information.
About America’s VetDogs
Since 2003, America’s VetDogs has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel. America’s VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation that relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual. America’s VetDogs was the second assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.
To learn more or to donate, visit www.VetDogs.org.