Did you know that the cost to train a service dog is $35,000?
That number may sound high, but those costs cover two years of specialized training beginning when the puppy is just 8 weeks old. Each dog receives training to perform a specific task to help a human companion with a physical or mental disability. Tasks include, but are not limited to, retrieval of medications or supplies, operation of light switches, opening/closing doors, seizure and/or medical alerts, and PTSD/nightmare interruption. The service dog is there to provide dedicated support 24/7.
Here at Kim’s Urban Hounds, we believe in the importance of supporting our veterans when they return home from service. This is why we are so excited to announce our newest partnership! Our very own, Lori Sittner, who provides exceptional dog walking and pet sitting care for our sister company, The Loudoun Pet Sitting Company in Loudoun County, serves as COO for an organization that works to provide a valuable service to veterans in need.
Veterans Moving Forward
Veterans Moving Forward is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization located in Dulles, VA that has been training service dogs to complete the above tasks and more, and placing them with veterans in need since June of 2010. Their mission is to provide service, emotional support, or skilled companion dogs to Veterans with physical and/or mental health challenges at no cost to the Veteran or their family. VMF is a national organization with dogs currently working in VA, MD, DC, CO, NC, CA, and IN.
Led by President and CEO Gordon Sumner, an Army Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, Veterans Moving Forward has just two other full-time staff. Lori Sittner, COO, works alongside Program Director and Head Trainer, Kathleen Poulson. The pair works to bring in pups and work with them every step of the way. In addition to these staff members, there are 60 volunteers who assist in running the organization. These volunteers of all ages come from a variety of backgrounds and bring their own unique skills to the table. Working together, they are integral to helping VMF run smoothly.
Want to know more about Veterans moving Forward and how you can help?
Visit their Website at: vetsfwd.org
Or check out what the service dogs in training are up to by visiting and liking their Facebook Page