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September is Service Dog Awareness Month

Canines for Service, which trains and places service dogs with veterans, invites you to see the dogs in action this month
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 11:23 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - September is Service Dog Awareness Month, which highlights the importance of service animals in so many lives.

Canines for Service, an organization that connects service dogs with veterans, is celebrating its 25th year as it marks Service Dog Awareness Month too. Founded in 1996, the organization provides service dogs at no cost to veterans from all conflicts.

“We partner with shelters to adopt dogs from local shelters and we do have some dog breeders who donate puppies,” said Bethany Leighton, the organization’s executive director. “We train them for 16 months and we partner with veterans who have PTSD, a traumatic brain injury or mobility challenges who are looking for a service dog to overcome that challenge.”

Congress recognized the work of service dogs with the passage of H.R.1022 or the PAWS Act of 2021

The PAWS Act establishes a 3-year program in which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs would provide grants of up to $25,000 per veteran to eligible organizations to pair veterans suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with service dogs. The bill authorized $10 million for program through 2024.

“All of our veterans have some degree of PTSD and the dogs are able to assist them by clearing space in a crowded room for them, they enable them to wake them from a nightmare, if they are having a panic attack, they are able to help calm them. There’s a lot of different ways that are service dogs assist our veterans especially those who have PTSD.”

Canines for Service invites the community to see the dogs in action at an event on Thurs., Sept. 30. Dogs & Donuts is at 8:30 a.m. at the organization’s facility at 221-1 Old Dairy Rd., Wilmington.

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