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KNIGHTDALE — Air Force veteran Ray Odell recently returned home to Knightdale with his new service dog, Rose. The rescue-turned-service dog was trained to helped Ray manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from his military service.
On why he applied to K9s For Warriors, Ray said, “I would like to be stable enough to go back to work. I would also like to discontinue some or all psych meds.”
Upon arrival to K9s For Warriors, Ray was paired with Rose, who had already completed formal service canine training in the months prior. Along with the other members of their class, the team trained in public every day, received instruction on matters of service dog access, dog health care and more, and established a bond to facilitate Ray’s healing from the invisible wounds of war.
“There’s an epidemic of veteran suicide in our country,” K9s For Warriors CEO Rory Diamond. “Service dogs are a proven method of alleviating the debilitating symptoms of PTSD — like suicidal ideation. They not only get our veterans back on their feet, but they also help them regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. Most veterans with PTSD think they’ve lost that forever.”
K9s For Warriors is a national nonprofit that takes eligible shelter dogs and trains them to be service dogs to mitigate symptoms of PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma for post-9/11 service members and veterans. It operates from two facilities in North Florida that perform the work of procuring and training the canines, pairing them with an incoming veteran, then training the veteran and canine pair together.