In the News: Service Dogs for Veterans

A Wall Street Journal article caught our eye this morning. It’s about dogs in service, helping veterans not only with physical injuries but also with post-traumatic stress disorder, which can affect many who have served in combat zones. Check out the article and accompanying video feature  for an interesting take on how these dogs change lives for the better–and in more ways than you might think, because their trainers, as well as the veterans the dogs go to, are benefitting from working with the animals.
The WSJ provides more evidence of what we already know: dogs ARE man's best friend!

The WSJ provides more evidence of what we already know: dogs ARE our best friends!

The video starts after a brief ad, and the feature lasts under four minutes, for those of you in a hurry!

Aside from the great story itself, what particularly struck us here at Full Cry was this part of the article:

Tuesday was eight weeks old when he and five siblings were turned over to Puppies Behind Bars, who moved them to New York’s Fishkill Correctional Facility. The pup shared a cell with John Pucci, a convicted killer who assumed primary responsibility for molding Tuesday into a service dog.

“No one thought he would make it,” said Mr. Pucci, explaining that Tuesday would fall asleep in other prisoners’ laps as they watched television and would sometimes hide under Mr. Pucci’s bed and refuse to leave the cell. Inmates bet Mr. Pucci some cigarettes that Tuesday was too affectionate to be a service dog.

Mr. Pucci discovered that Tuesday loved the jail’s small inflatable pool and would run through commands perfectly if he was in the water. In nine months, Mr. Pucci taught Tuesday to respond to 82 commands geared mainly toward helping the physically disabled — turning on lights with his nose, retrieving food from shelves, helping load washing machines.

“I got released before I could collect the cigarettes,” said Mr. Pucci, 64 years old, who served 29 years and now lives in San Antonio, Texas, where he continues to train dogs.

The dog Tuesday’s transformation from problem child to solid citizen is one we’ve seen in working foxhounds, too. The philosophy at Iroquois Hunt  is that any hound, given enough time and training, can become a successful member of the pack. The key is to find out what makes the individual tick, then use that knowledge to train the hound. Not always easy, but always worth it, for hound and human both.

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