Local nonprofit trains dogs to fit military veterans’ specific needs.
More than 30 stray or unwanted dogs are currently preparing for boot camp at Planet Petopia in Phoenix, Ariz. Each dog will be vetted and evaluated to possibly become a service or therapy dog for military veterans. Walter Hart Jr. had been training service dogs for senior citizens for years, before his son, Walter Hart III, inspired him to change directions. “He said, ‘Dad listen. We gotta get back to training dogs for veterans.’ I said, ‘Okay let’s do it.'” Father and son brought Canine Companions LTD to Phoenix, where they, with the help of Planet Petopia and newly added trainer Destiny Hawk, will train dogs to meet the specific needs of military veterans. Each dog goes through basic and intense obedience training, before being match with a veteran. Afterwards, the dog is trained to deal with the specific veteran’s trigger points that might cause stress or anxiety. The dogs are completely free for veterans. Fundraising is key, as Canine Companions LTD holds weekly car washes and will host a charity golf tournament at McCormick Ranch Golf Club in March.