Operation Freedom was developed to help returning war veterans and military personnel transition from active duty and combat to civilian life. Servicemembers and veterans are placed with highly specialized service dogs that help them find a new level of independence in their post-combat life.
Many returning military personnel and veterans face a myriad of challenges including PTSD, depression, immobility and inactivity. As of 2011, the United States reflects upon eight years of war in Iraq and a decade of involvement in Afghanistan. Left in the wake of these conflicts are 1.6 million veterans, 21% of whom suffer with a service-connected disability according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While some veterans find themselves making a relatively easy transition to civilian life, many face a much more challenging path — homelessness, crime, drugs and alcohol become commonplace for far too many. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grimly estimates that veterans account for nearly 20% of the 30,000 suicides that occur in the United States each year.
In order to combat the problems that arise from veterans with disabilities transitioning to civilian lives, the local VA’s, community groups and on-base transition battalions have been sent to the front lines. However, despite the important work of these organizations, the fact remains that these veterans are saddled with mental and physical disabilities that do not cater to a normal workday schedule.
Their disability, mental, physical or both, does not care if someone is around to assist with picking up dropped items or provide assistance when getting out of bed. The disability does not wait for a mental health professional to be available to level a dissociative situation or trigger a disturbing flashback.
If you’re ready to apply for a dog please fill out an application here!