An 86-year-old Vietnam veteran is seeking an assistance dog to help him integrate back into society, and the amazing team at Whiskey’s Wish Inc. is working with Best Friends Rescue to make his special wish come true.
“With the full support of his aged care facility, this Vietnam veteran is aiming to claim back some of his independence, and has reached out to our support network to request a trained assistance dog,” says Whiskey’s Wish Co-founder, Liz Jackman.
“He says he would dearly love to get out and about without the stress and anxiety of trying to cope alone, and a trained assistance dog is a perfect solution,” adds Liz. “He’s very excited about the prospect of getting a dog and being accepted into our program, it’s given him something to look forward to and work towards.”
Keen to get the training process started, the Whiskey’s Wish team has been looking for a well-socialised medium-sized working breed cross with a good temperament - ideally six to nine months old, toilet trained, and with general obedience to help speed up the training process so the veteran will get his dog sooner. A puppy has already been kindly donated by Best Friends Rescue, and is currently undergoing assessment for suitability.
“Since we founded Whiskey’s Wish in 2014, we’ve discovered that rescue dogs make the very best match for our veterans and first responders. Both parties - the person and the rescue dog - are in need of love and someone to care for them and they find that in each other. It makes the bond strong from day one,” says Whiskey’s Wish Vice President, Marilyn Kench.
“We’ve now made it our policy to only recruit rescue dogs into our training program and have been recruiting rescue pups from Best Friends Rescue and Working Breeds Rehab with great success,” adds Marilyn. “But we would love to hear from other rescue groups in any state who may have a young dog in their care that may be suitable for assistance dog training.”
Every dog recruited into the training program is carefully selected to fit the requirements of the program and the specific needs of the veteran or first responder who has applied for an assistance dog. What’s more, the intensive 12-to-18-month training course is carefully planned and coordinated to ensure the dog is capable of performing tasks that meet the individual needs of the recipient.
Take these three adorable adopted siblings - Sophie, William Baxter and Boo from Best Friends Rescue. They’re all being trained by the Whiskey’s Wish team to support veterans/first responders with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and those in need of psychiatric services. These special rescue pups are being taught how to stop negative behaviour, give reminders to take prescribed medications, and alert, protect and calm a person who is having an anxiety attack. Sophie is doing particularly well and just passed the test to earn her training jacket.
Miles, from Working Breed Rehab, is also currently being trained to provide mobility assistance to his veteran. He’s learning how to open and close doors and drawers, pick up and retrieve dropped items, pull a wheelchair, provide stability while his veteran is walking, and help his veteran get up from a chair or the ground.
If you are a PetRescue-registered rescue group, and would like to support the program by supplying rescue dogs for training, please contact PetRescue via firstname.lastname@example.org