Patriot K9s of Wisconsin help Green Bay veteran
Veteran drives from Green Bay to Wausau to train his dog
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Patriot K9s of Wisconsin is helping veterans across the state.
The Patriot K9s is a non-profit organization that supplies psychiatric service dogs for disabled veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and military sexual trauma.
“We work with disabled veterans of all ages, from veterans getting off of active duty to Vietnam-era veterans as well,” said Lani Rethaber, executive director of the Patriot K9s of Wisconsin, “from 24 years old to 80 years old.”
Some of the dogs are veteran-owned dogs and others are part of the K-9 acquisition program that purchases puppies from qualified breeders. The dogs are trained for a year and then they are placed with a veteran to go on to the 24-week service dog course.
“The dogs are tasked trained to help each individual’s disability. Some veterans don’t want to go out in public so the dogs are trained to help them go out into public,” said Rethaber.
Scot Miller travels from Green Bay to Wausau every Wednesday to train his dog Buddy with the help of the Patriot K9s of Wisconsin. Miller served in the United States Army right out of high school. He attended the Army School of Aviation and was sent overseas to Germany in the 70′s.
“Without this organization, I honestly think you would probably see a lot more veterans choosing to take their life,” said Miller, also a retired Green Bay Police officer.
Miller was part of a flight crew on a helicopter. His title was crew chief. There, Miller had a traumatic experience that stuck with him for years.
“As the years went on, it seemed to get worse and worse,” said Miller.
Miller decided to visit his doctor to see what was going on. That’s when his doctor diagnosed him with PTSD. His doctor explained that traumatic events in anyone’s life can cause the disorder, but Miller was on the severe end of it.
“I saw a documentary on K-9 and veterans and they were called service dogs,” said Miller.
That’s when research lead him to the Patriot K9s of Wisconsin.
“Scot was an applicant and we purchased Buddy. We had two puppies here and Buddy went to Scot. Just right here on the floor, and just instant attachment,” said Rethaber.
Miller’s bond with his dog, Buddy, is unbreakable.
“I can’t imagine a day without Buddy. He goes everywhere I go,” said Miller.
The Patriot K9s of Wisconsin want to remind people that service dogs are not regular dogs that people can go up to and pet. The animals are doing a job and should be left alone.
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