The numbers are staggering. According to Department of Veterans Affairs estimates, 100,000 service members in Massachusetts struggle with disabilities today. At the same time, 80,000 dogs end up in state shelters; nearly half will be euthanized. The founders of Operation Delta Dog saw those two desperate needs and realized they could tackle both problems at once.
“Our service dogs have been used to help treat depression, reduce stress and manage the panic attacks often associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury,” says Charlotte Troddyn, development officer for the non-profit. “We find canine candidates from shelters and rescue groups, then train them for a new life filled with purpose and affection.”
Depending on the veteran’s need, Operation Delta Dog trains the canines to perform a variety of tasks, including providing stability for those with balance issues, offering comfort during night terrors, serving as a physical barrier in crowded spaces and providing comfort during anxiety attacks.
It’s a win-win operation. “The dogs get the loving homes they need, and the veterans get the support they deserve,” Charlotte emphasizes.