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Dogs Help Wounded Warriors Adjust to Civilian Life

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers. It’s also a day to find a new best friend

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers. It’s also a day to find a new best friend.

    For wounded veterans, adjusting to life back stateside presents a myriad of challenges, but without a strong support system, the task becomes even more daunting.

    Now, ten San Diego County wounded warriors will have some helping hands – well, paws actually.

    Trained assistance dogs were given to the veterans as part of a new program launched Friday in Oceanside.

    Canine Companions for Independence has partnered with PetSmart to pair the loving pets with people who need them most.

    The PetSmart for Patriots program officially got underway Friday at a graduation ceremony, where the human-dog teams wrapped up two weeks of intense training.

    These are just the first of many veterans expected to receive animals. For the next 6 to 12 months, any veteran with a disability can visit any PetSmart store to learn about what they need to do to get their own assistance dog, free of charge.

    Since 1992, 102 military veterans have gotten a furry friend through Canine Companions. Most were men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, coming home with spinal cord injuries, limb amputations and deafness.

    Antedoctal evidence shows that pups also help veterans suffering from PTSD, not just physical injuries.