(SERVICE DOGS) K9s For Warriors is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit veterans service organization that specializes in providing service dogs to veterans suffering with PTSD, brain injury, or other trauma resulting from military service post-9/11.

The dogs are trained to help ease symptoms related to war trauma such as anxiety, isolation, depression, and nightmares. Ultimately, the organization’s goal is to empower soldiers to return to civilian life with a sense of dignity and independence.

As of July 2018, K9s For Warriors has rescued 880 dogs and 458 disabled veterans since 2011. Read on to learn more about this life-changing organization and its amazing success stories. — Global Animal

Tiffany Baker and service dog, Buddy. Photo Credit: Consumers Advocate

Consumers Advocate, Scott Smith

MEET JAMES AND DUNKIN

James Rutland is a 12-year Army veteran who served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004, followed by two more tours in South Korea. He left the military in 2014, suffering from multiple medical conditions related to his service, including mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), sleep apnea, and hearing loss, to name a few.

Most importantly, he suffered from depression and often thought about suicide. Thinking he could do it alone, Rutland tried healing from the trauma on his own. That wasn’t working. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got,” says Rutland.

“What Life Without Dunkin?” – James Rutland of K9s For Warriors

K9s For Warriors veterans walking with their service dogs. Photo Credit: Consumers Advocate

In 2016, Rutland finally rounded the bend of recovery when he was paired with his service dog, Dunkin. “I started focusing on “we instead of “me”, says Rutland.

He has a semi-colon tattoo on his right wrist, a known symbol of taking a pause when thinking about suicide. Unlike a “period” which ends a sentence, the semicolon creates a pause, for the reader, then continues the story. Rutland wears it proudly. “It’s a great conversation starter,” Rutland says.

He goes on to explain that breathing, family, friends, and the program that gave him Dunkin are what keeps him going.

Read the full Consumers Advocate article, here: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/features/k9s-for-warriors

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