Helping Veterans Re-acclimate to Life with Canine Companions: with Hearts 4 Heroes and K2 Solutions, Inc.
Trainer Scott with Madonna
Hearts 4 Heroes (H4H) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans re-acclimate to life after deployment. Currently H4H is partnering with K2 Solutions, Inc. to create a canine handling program for veterans.
“K2 specializes in training dogs for military, security and search and rescue work,” says H4H president Key Burns. “Now they’re expanding their efforts to help train service dogs for veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
K2 will work with shelters in North Carolina to procure suitable dogs to participate in the program. “After medical evaluation, the dogs will be trained by K2 for 16 weeks of obedience and agility,” Burns says. “They’ll also be completely house-trained and desensitized to people, situations, and other household activities.”
Participating veterans will be matched up with an appropriate dog during an immersion program that includes team building exercises, problem solving tasks, and seek-and-find games. “Our H4H mental health specialists will be present during all phases of the program to mark any PTSD experiences and discuss any mental or emotional issues that arise throughout this program,” Burns adds.
After another 10-week curriculum with trainers and mental health specialists veterans may have the option to adopt their canine partner. “It is our hope that this team building will restore some of the loss of unit, structure, camaraderie and friendship that our PTSD veterans are missing,” says Burns.