Hampton VA Medical Center
America's VetDogs visit Hampton VA Medical Center
Hampton VA Medical Center (VAMC) hosted its annual Health and Wellness Fair Oct. 1, promoting a variety of services available to Veterans at the VA. One special exhibitor was America's VetDogs. Founded in 2003, this unique organization provides Veterans with canine companions that can assist Veterans in need of their unique service.
Guide dogs and service dogs find, follow, clear paths, maneuver around obstacles and stop at curbs to help their owners maneuver in their environment. The increased mobility a VetDog provides means an increase in independence for Veterans who need help from their four legged friends. Additionally, service dogs can assist their owners by providing balance, fetch and retrieve dropped items, and even aid amputees getting in and out of their chair.
America's Vetdogs also provide Veterans with combat stress control dogs. These special animals offer their owners emotional support that can help Veterans deal with combat stress, home-front issues and sleep disorders.
Sam and Gene were two special black Labradors from the America's Vetdogs that greeted Veterans and employees who attended the wellness fair.
"I am honored to be here interacting with so many Veterans that served our country," said Kim Stasheff, instructor from American Vetdogs. "Our dogs also go overseas to serve," she stated.
The special canines were handled by Stasheff, who brought the dogs from Smithtown, NY.
"Many Veterans and their family members showed appreciation for the Labs. The event is awesome," said Amy Fox, wife of an Army Veteran.
VetDogs is just another way of recognizing the sacrifice made by the men and women in uniform. After talking to Stasheff and meeting her dogs, fairgoers agreed that with a VetDog at a Veterans side, today's Veterans knows they're not alone.