– Custom Canines is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and supporting lasting partnerships between highly skilled service dogs and individuals with diverse disabilities and impairments who rely on their companion to enhance their quality of life. Through its Heroes for Heroes program, Custom Canines pairs trained service dogs with veterans to aid them in their journey to healing and wellness after serving our country. Upon returning home, many veterans experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other debilitating mental health diagnoses. Service dogs help these individuals by providing stability and emotional support during times of heightened emotions. Matches are selected based on the owner’s capabilities, lifestyle, mobility, personality, and psychological needs. For veterans who have a dog at home, owner training services are available to assist the dog in taking on a larger, more significant role in their owner’s life.
Your Giving in Action!
Bob will never forget the Friday his friend approached him and asked him to raise Anke and teach her guide work. As a veteran, he was subject to the same scrutiny as the other participants in the Custom Canines program. His analysis revealed he had PTSD. Bob wasn’t surprised by the results, as he had often experienced a range of emotions he could never come to terms with.
With the tools the program gave him and the continued support from his fellow brothers and sisters, Bob began the healing process. Although he was grateful for this new start, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. Despite his progress and passion for training dogs, things that made him feel alive and in control of his destiny, Bob was alone and continued to face challenges that he did not see resolving on their own. He grew frustrated.
Working with Anke, Bob realized what he needed – it was Anke. Others observed how the pair interacted and how she empowered Bob. Custom Canines saw the perfect opportunity to give back to someone who has dedicated the past 40 years of his life to helping fellow veterans and their service dogs. When Bob came to the academy one day, he was given the most incredible gift he had ever received – Custom Canines and his friend gave him Anke as a full-time service dog. “She is my guardian angel, always having my back,” Bob explains.