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John Miller, founder of America’s VetDogs, appeared on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Saturday morning to discuss Shea, a 6-month-old Labrador Retriever, who is training to be a service dog for a lucky veteran or first responder who qualifies.
Volunteer Tom Rubing also appeared on the program to discuss the training process for the animals.
The pups, once they’re trained and are about 16-18 months old, are ready to be paired with the right individual.
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“The biggest thing we do is socialize them,” said Rubing.
That socialization includes preparing the animals to navigate such everyday tasks as grocery shopping, traveling, going to doctor’s offices and more.
Citi Field — home field of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets in Queens, NY — “is a great training venue,” he added.
“Our mission is to help those who have served our country honorably live with dignity and independence.”
Miller said, “We’re a national organization that provides service dogs to veterans and service dogs. Everything we do is free of charge, so partnerships like the one we have with the Mets, with Shea, is really vital,” he added.
“The best way to get to us is VetDogs.org, our website, and you can volunteer there, donate there — and if you need a service dog, you can apply there, too.”
The organization’s website explains that America’s VetDogs specializes in placing highly skilled service and guide dogs to individuals with physical injuries, PTSD, hearing issues, vision loss and seizures.
“Our mission,” the group says, “is to help those who have served our country honorably live with dignity and independence.”
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The campus is located in Smithtown, New York.
Founded in 2003, America’s VetDogs explains that those who are veterans or first responders should check out the information to see if they meet the organization’s eligibility requirements.
It lists the following requirements — plus others as well — for eligibility.
You have served in any of the branches of the US Armed Forces from any era and have received an honorable discharge.
You are a first responder who has a work-related disability.
The eligibility requirements for a service dog include being able to meet the physical and emotional needs of the pet.
You are visually or hearing impaired or physically disabled.
You can participate in our two-week training program and will be committed to our training program and schedule.
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You are dedicated to maintaining the dog’s training throughout the life of the team and can provide for the well-being of the dog, which runs about $100 per month.
You are able to meet the physical and emotional needs of a dog and have an appropriate support system in place to do so if/when you are unable to yourself.
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For more information, anyone can check out VetDogs.org.
All services are provided at no cost to clients — including the dog, transportation to and from the Smithtown facility, instruction and more, the group says.