Hounds 4 Heroes foremost mission is to help reduce the number of suicides in our veteran, first responder, and exceptional children populations. Veterans have one of the highest suicide rates – 21 to 22 per day. Our first responders have a rate of 125 to 300 per year according to research posted in a September 9, 2022 article in the Psychiatric Times. And there is a high rate of suicides among the caregivers/parents of our exceptional children due to lack of services and support, along with financial burdens. To reduce these numbers, we will provide education about the need and the success of service animals to Veteran Hospitals and outreach centers, police departments, fire stations, children’s hospitals, and to the public. Most importantly, we will provide specialty training of service dogs tailored to each heroes’ specific need or needs.
Our main goal is to see more of our heroes receiving the service animals they need in a timely manner. We strive to eliminate long waiting lists and high costs that are deterrents for so many people. We want to help alleviate the stigma that is attached to needing and having a service animal. We believe that each person should have timely access to necessary medical equipment, including service dogs. Our specialized program pairs the potential service animal with a hero as early as 8 weeks old to begin the bonding process. We believe this is an important step in the success of the hero and canine. Then the formal training with a trainer begins. Training is done with the hero and canine under the direction of a trainer and “homework” to be done by the hero and canine pair at home between training sessions.