Operations Pits Healing Heroes "will rescue and train pit bull candidates to become service and companion dogs, and help veterans regain physical and emotional independence," according to a Guardian press release.
Each veteran applicant will go through a training program with his or her canine counterpart, ensuring that the dog "is trained specifically to the needs of their veteran partner and can develop a lifelong bond from day one," according to the release. (Training lasts from five to nine months).
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The brand-new program has only one partnership so far: Justin Masters, a former Marine suffering from PTSD, has been paired with Pancake, a pit who was stolen from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter in November 2013 and later returned by a good samaritan. That's a kick-ass couple right there.
OPPH Director Lauren Masters says, "Studies have shown that dogs provide a therapeutic interaction that can improve temperament and build confidence. Pit bulls are natural people pleasers with the heart and mind to be more than a family pet, which makes them an excellent fit for this type of rehabilitation program."
And it's not just a benefit for the veterans, but for the dogs as well. Guardian points out that "by using only pit bulls, the program will help save the lives of countless dogs, provide a free community service, create positive ambassadors for the breed and help rehabilitate the reputation of the most misunderstood dogs in America."
Here's the thing: The program, run entirely by volunteers, could use a few bucks to reach as many veterans as possible. Please visit the OPPH website for info on how to donate.