A service dog can assist a veteran with PTSD and/or TBI by providing them with a best friend and companion as well as reducing anxiety, renewing social re-integration, and providing an improved sense of belonging and increased confidence. Service dogs can also be trained to perform specific tasks such as turning lights on/off, opening/closing doors, and other tasks difficult for some injured veterans to perform.

Four FOCUS Graduates have received service dogs from a program known as This Able Veteran. It is located in Carbondale, Illinois and specializes in training service dogs for injured veterans. Behesha Doan, a friend of FOCUS Marines Foundation, is the founder, chief trainer, and President of TAV.

It costs approximately $25,000 to train a service dog. Each dog goes through eighteen months of training at the kennel. Prior to receiving a dog, the veteran and his/her dog go through two to three weeks of training to help each recognize signals and form a bond strong enough to carry the veteran through the challenges of recovery.

FOCUS Alumni who have received Service Dogs from this Able Vet include:
Eric Calley (FOCUS 0612) (Liberty)
Howard Mattice (FOCUS 0612) (Maverick)
David McArthur (FOCUS 0612) (Delilah)
Jerome Smith (FOCUS 0912) (Joey)

Veterans may apply to receive a service dog by calling This Able Vet’s office at (618) 964-1162.