America’s VetDogs, a national non-profit that trains and places guide and service dogs with veterans and first responders with disabilities, hosted a ribbon cutting event on Tuesday, July 6 at their campus in Smithtown to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated, state of the art, training facility.
With the ever growing demand for service dogs, the need for expansion of the training facility will assist in placing more guide and service dogs with veterans and first responders with disabilities. The expansion and renovations were made possible by the support and donations by the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation, Francis & Gertrude Levett Foundation, Manual Barron, Ludwick Family Foundation, Scaife Family Foundation, Van Sloun Foundation, Manitou Fund and the The Omer Foundation.
Notable attendees included New York State Senator Mario Materra, New York State Senator Alexis Weik, New York Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army Steven Castleton, Senior Veterans Services Officer for Suffolk County Retired U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard Master Sgt. Melissa Pandolf, Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, America’s VetDogs Board Chair Don Dea, and VetDogs Board Member and HIA-LI Board Chairman Joe Campolo.
“To increase our capacity to train service dogs, America’s VetDogs embarked on an ambitious renovation of our training center to create additional spaces where more instructors will be able to train their dogs at the same time. Among these improvements is a mock apartment, which includes a kitchen, living room, and bedroom areas that will allow instructors to train their dogs in “real-world” scenarios,” said President & CEO John Miller of America’s VetDogs.
It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog; however, all of VetDogs’ services are provided at no charge to the individual. Funding comes from the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations, businesses, and service and fraternal clubs. To learn more, visit www.VetDogs.org.