“I can’t save them all, but I want to keep the hope alive.”
—Shad Meshad, National Veterans Foundation
You may have seen documentaries about returning veterans, in one of which, a veteran was talking, “When I was hitting the bottom, I adopted my dog. It’s because of him, I’m alive today.” Another veteran also said on camera, “When a thought of taking my life came back to my head, my dog put his face on my lap and looked up at me. Right at that moment, he snapped me out of it. I immediately grabbed the leash and we went on a hike instead of the unthinkable.”
There are wonderful organizations that train service dogs for disabled veterans, but training such dogs is very costly, and there is a long waiting list. Yet, there are veterans who only need good canine companions. They do not need their dogs to actually perform services like opening a door, picking up items from the floor, turning on and off switches, etc.
Among many dogs Forte Animal Rescue has saved, some have actually become bona fide service dogs, and there have been others who had the quality to become one but did not necessarily get certified. These are the dogs who gave us an idea to present to the veterans who just need best friends. We will select certain dogs and give them basic training, so that they will be ready to pal around everywhere with the veterans who desire such company.
Our founder felt compelled to make this happen because when the president of the National Veterans Foundation told her, “I can’t save them all, but I want to keep the hope alive,” it truly resonated with her because we too cannot save all dogs, but we are saving one dog at a time, and every time we place them at their permanent homes, it empowers us to “keep the hope alive.”
We are currently assisting the veterans through National Veterans Foundation, and will plan to expand as we receive donations and grants from the community to support this program.