FLAGLER COUNTY, Florida. – A local non-profit organization is looking for veterans or first responders to gift a service dog. Typically, these dogs cost between $15,000 and $55,000, but they are completely free for those in need. Although there is a small catch. You have to complete the training with the dog.
Old Glory Service Dogs 4 Veterans trains two 7 month old chocolate labs named Juliet and Glory. The pair are going through their training but need their future companion to help them complete it.
“The commitment we are asking of that person, first responder or veteran is that you come here and exercise with us once a week so that you and the dog stick together,” said Old Glory CEO and President Lauren Driscoll.
At Old Glory Service Dogs, they give at-risk dogs a new life as working dogs. The local nonprofit hopes to match them with a first responder or veteran in need for free.
“There are a lot of people who come back from the military and can’t leave the house or have no ambition. I want to give them a dog that will change everything,” said Driscoll.
A service dog is not a pet. The trainers describe the dogs as a tool that requires hours of training to master. The training can last up to two years.
“We’re training dogs to save a life, and that’s a big step and a big request, but that’s our benchmark,” said Bruce Miller.
Miller’s service dog Jób also saved his life in many ways.
“It gives you an inner confidence,” Miller said. “He knows me. He knows when I’m upset. He knows when I’m not feeling well and he lets me know that.”
Miller first came to Old Glory for a dog seven years ago, but stayed as a trainer. For him, this indescribable moment in which the two become one is priceless.
“It’s like your son or daughter going to college or getting married after they graduate. There goes my dog, my veteran. It’s almost a tearjerker because they’re leaving, but they’re leaving a better person,” Miller said.
If you are a veteran looking for such a dog, or perhaps you know someone who is, you can apply for one of the dogs here. You can also contact Old Glory for more information by sending an email to [email protected].