SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Did you know every 69 minutes a U.S. veteran commits suicide and every day 3,200 dogs are euthanized nationwide.
With that statistic in mind, Graham Bloem had an idea to save not one but two lives at a time. He's the founder and training director of a Poway non-profit called Shelter to Soldier. He joined News 8's Dan Cohen along with army veteran Jonathon Marroquin and his service dog Berkeley.
Be The Light Charity Gala
Hyatt Regency at Aventine, La Jolla
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Guests will enjoy live music by Kinnie Dye, unique silent and live auction items with auctioneer Clint Bell and memorable moments with service dogs and their veteran handlers. Also included: valet parking, hosted beer from Lost Coast Brewery, wine from Barefoot Wine, passed hors d’oeuvres, plated dinner and dessert.
Shelter to Soldier is a nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other injuries associated with traumatic service experiences.
Every day, 20 U.S. veterans and one active duty service member are lost to suicide. That’s an average of one life lost every 69 minutes. The suicide rate among the nation’s military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago. PTSD is a major problem for our men and women in uniform, and its effects last far and beyond the battlefield.
According to Shelter to Soldier, approximately 7.6 million animals enter shelters every year across the United Station and more than half of those animals are dogs. In 2017, 1.2 million dogs will be euthanized due to space, behavioral problems, or medical complications. Many dogs are often overlooked at shelters for behavior issues such as protest when left alone, different levels of classic separation anxiety, unruly (non-aggressive) behaviors, barking, poor house manners, and housebreaking issues. Our team of professional dog trainers are experts in behavior modification, and in most cases, are able to modify unwanted behaviors and continue to train the dogs at the elite level of service work needed for their new job.