PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – Disabled veterans are getting some help from highly sought-after furry friends. Victory Service Dogs, a nonprofit that began in Colorado Springs four years ago, is expanding into the Denver metro area and northern Colorado.
Organization leaders say the expansion aims to address a shortage in veteran services.
Victory Service Dogs’s vice president Ken Morrow knows the need firsthand.
“I knew I needed help. And my wife, who is in the medical field, was afraid I was either going to do something to myself … or that … I was going to be arrested,” Morrow told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
He served in the Air Force through Desert Storm and multiple injuries, suffering now from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and a disease that causes severe vertigo.
“If I fall on the floor, I can’t see. I can’t hear,” Morrow said.
Thanks to his 3-year-old German shepard Tobias, he has some help getting through each day — and night.
“If I have a nightmare, he wakes me up,” he explained. “These are our battle buddies now, since we are out of the service.”
Veterans like himself, Morrow said, often wait years before they can get the assistance they need.
The nonprofit steps in to give them four-legged friends, trained as the perfect companions for their physical and mental conditions.
The organization is growing in an effort to cut down on Colorado’s higher-than-average suicide rate.
More than 200 dogs are currently serving, with another 50 pups in training and 30 vets on the waiting list.
“Suicide is not the answer. It’s not acceptable. And neither are drugs or alcohol. And if you can have an awesome animal like this that can help you function, why not get the help you need?” Morrow asked.
A total of 95 percent of the funding comes from corporate and private donations.
The groups also plans to expand to provide dogs for first responders.
April 27 – Mile High Harley-Davidson, Parker
May 11 – Takoda Tavern, Parker
May 25 – Memorial Day Run & March, Castle Rock
May 27 – Bolder Boulder, Boulder