Military Veteran Service Dogs Train in Jud, North Dakota - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Military Veteran Service Dogs Train in Jud, North Dakota

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North Dakota veterans who suffer from PTSD and are in counseling can now apply for a grant that would pair them with a service dog.

Service Dogs for America in Jud, North Dakota trains the dogs who are now waiting for their new best friend.

North Dakota veterans with PTSD are now able to apply for a grant for a service dog through the North Dakota Office of Veterans Affairs.

Service Dogs for America Executive Director Pam Standing says the idea came about to save lives.

"There were veterans that were taking their lives and they just felt like people were dying unnecessarily and that there were people that were getting dogs and these dogs were actually changing this veteran's life." says Service Dogs for America Executive Director Pamela Standing.

And some of the dogs in the program like Buddy have been saved as well.

"Just like a veteran is getting a second chance at life, we will work with rescue dogs." she says.

While every dog is different, most of these furry friends train for about two years before becoming a team with their new best friend.

They learn many skills, from waking up a vet during nightmares to calming them during anxiety attacks.

"It really is a specialized training stream. It's very different than what we do for a seizure or for a diabetes alert dog." says Standing.

Standing says the dogs in the program have a certain personality. She says they are intuitive and attentive.

"There's a real high level of compassion in these dogs. It's uncanny," she says.

And sometimes it's not the human who senses a special connection at first.

"A lot of times the dog will pick the person. They know what that person needs. --I don't know. I don't understand it i don't even take it for granted it's just it's that relationship that humans have with four legged's," she says.

But, Standing says the most important thing these dogs do is help the vets feel comfortable in public again.

"This dog is just another tool to help them have a fuller, physical, emotional and social life," says Standing.

Standing says the first grant from the VA is for four service dogs.

SDA has eight dogs right now ready for placement in North Dakota.

According to Standing, the cost to train the dogs is around 20-thousand dollars over the years.

That will all be supplied by the VA grant.

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