American Legion Post 81’s “K9 Service Dogs for PTSD” program to present service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder continues to grow.
On Thursday, Dec. 3, Post 81 Commander Shane Thomason and Pam Carter, a dog breeder for Carter Shepherds, presented two pure-bred saddle back German Shepherds to veterans James Dawson, of Leitchfield, and Kevin Cilone, of Edmonson County.
Additionally, Thomason said he would be presenting a third puppy to another veteran on Friday, Dec. 4. These three presentations bring the total number of service dogs presented by Post 81 to five.
After a veteran is selected for the program and he or she has been paired with a puppy, the two will attend service dog training together in Leitchfield with trainers Dr. Joseph Petrocelli and Tammy Nugent, with whom Thomason has coordinated K9 Service Dogs for PTSD.
The cost of the training is about $2,500 per puppy and is covered entirely by Post 81.
Following the presentations this week, Post 81 has no more dogs readily available; however, Legion officials are continuing to work to find more, Thomason said.
This is where the support of the community becomes crucial because, in addition to funding the dogs’ training, Post 81 also purchases the service dogs.
“To make this work, we do need donations,” Thomason said.
To make a donation to the program, visit American Legion Post 81, located at 415 Lee Ave. in Leitchfield. Donations in the form of checks should be made payable to American Legion Post 81 for K9 Service Dogs for PTSD.
For more information about the program and/or how to participate, call Post 81 at 270-259-6293 and leave a message for Thomason.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.