1Pet 1Vet brings awareness for veterans with PTSD at Girls State

Mary Ellen Greenburg, Staff Photographer

The organization 1Pet 1Vet came to speak and bring awareness about veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD and service dogs at Girls State, Tuesday evening in Taylor Hall.

1Pet 1Vet is an organization that provides for veterans who suffer from PTSD, and provide them with service dogs free of charge.

Three representatives from 1Pet 1Vet came and spoke with Girls State.

“We started as a group of veterans, wanting to help other veterans, wanting to help shelter dogs.” Eric Carlson, Training Coordinator for the 1 Pet 1 Vet, said.

According to a flyer handed out at the event, veterans need to qualify for applications by a list of requirements. They must be honorably discharged, have a DD-214 (certificate of release/discharge from active duty), have a medical diagnosis of PTSD, currently in treatment for PTSD, and complete the program application and interview process.

According to their website,The Veterans Administration says, there is an average of 20 veterans who commit suicide every day in the United States, they aim to lower this statistic by using the proven positive effects of service dogs and emotional support.

They use Peggy Moran’s School for Dogs in Manteno, Il as their training facility.

“The veterans spend two days a week, from the time the dogs are pups, teaching the dogs to know their different cues and what comforts them. The process takes about a year and a half to years from start to finish, so that the veterans have time to adjust and get to know their service dog.” Carlson said.

The organization helps veterans decide if the bloodline of specific dogs is right for the training process, and they provide counseling services for the best match. You can bring in your own dog, or be paired with one that they provide.

“If you see a dog in a public place, vested or not, especially where you wouldn’t normally see dogs, it’s probably a service dog,” Monica Moran, Assistant Trainer at Peggy Moran’s School for Dogs said, “If you see a service dog in public it’s best not to approach them, the veterans or the owners have a reason for having the dogs and some of them have anti-social issues. And, making eye contact with the dogs or trying to pet them can distract them from their job in helping their veteran or owner.”

Mary Ellen Greenburg can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].