First responders and veterans have long relied on service dogs for assistance. These loving and fluffy animals help their owners perform day-to-day activities and tasks. Others are also specifically trained to help their owners with PTSD, diabetes, and other severe conditions. Unfortunately, with the growing number of veterans and first responders, the wait time to acquire service dogs is only getting longer.
This reason pushed Debbie Kalmus and her partners to establish 2gether Furever. It is a non-profit organization that helps train local rescues to be service dogs and pairs them with individuals who need a new canine companion.
What is 2gether Furever?
2gether Furever is a relatively new organization that functions and operates to achieve and accomplish a positive goal. It’s to offer veterans and first responders training for service dogs by using dogs from local rescues. The organization aims to aid these individuals in finding the perfect animal companion to help reduce their specific medical needs.
“Finding dogs, pairing them with up with veterans, and training them as service dogs at no charge to the veteran or first responder.”
Since acquiring a trained service dog is quite expensive, 2gether Furever aimed to make it more affordable for vets and first responders. For that, the organization decided to use local rescues and train them as service dogs.
This way, not only does the veteran gain the chance to get a canine companion, but more rescue dogs are also given a chance to come home with a new owner! The organization helps with the initial training so the dog can better assist their new human companion.
“We train the dogs to the needs of that individual.”
Find The Perfect Canine Companion and Partner
“We don’t personally train the dog and then give them to somebody. We help the person, for lack of a better term, shop for their dog.”
Before a veteran can bring home a dog, the organization will evaluate them first to ensure they will be paired with their perfect dog match. According to Debbie, the evaluation is a simple process.
It mainly consists of interviewing the veteran and reviewing their personal information and living condition. The organization will look at temperament, age, and, sometimes, health. It will narrow down the choices to 2 or 3 dogs before the veteran meets them.
They will meet the dogs and see who they’ll establish a connection with. Debbie said they usually let them decompress for about three weeks before starting the training. In week 4, they will begin with basic obedience training, and in week 10, they will introduce socialization.
Currently, the organization has 18 dogs in their program. They are mainly focusing on acquiring a new facility and helping more veterans and first responders in the future.
“We are trying to educate people on the importance of service dogs and just dogs in general and what they can do for us.”
Visit their official website if you’re interested in what 2gether Furever offers. It contains all the information you’ll need to donate, schedule an appointment, and contact them.