COVID May Rob Several South Jersey Veterans of Their Service Dogs
Cumberland County's 'NJ Dogs Of Honor' program unites veterans with service dogs that literally change their lives. This year, that may not happen due to fundraising efforts cancelled because of COVID-19.
The brainchild of Maurice River Township's former mayor Patti Gross and the director of the Cumberland County VA Diana Pitman, 'NJ Dogs Of Honor' pairs veterans suffering from post traumatic stress with a service dog that would have otherwise been euthanized, essentially giving both the veteran and a dog a new purpose and shot at life. According to NJ.com, the non-profit normally train five dogs per year which are then paired with their prospective veteran who is also heavily involved in the training process.
The founders say their goal was to set this program apart from others that normally place the dog with the veteran completely trained. NJ Dogs of Honor includes the owner in the training process which allows for an even deeper bond to grow at a faster rate between the veteran and the dog. Unfortunately, this year the organization will not hit its goal of five pairings per year. Due to several fundraising efforts getting cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they've only been able to train two dogs so far. Sources report that no one even knows how that training will be paid for.