keyboard_arrow_up
Warrior Canine Connection

Warrior Canine Connection Uses Service Dog Training to Help Wounded Veterans Avoid Incarceration 

Grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation makes WCC Veteran Treatment Court Service Dog Training Program possible for veterans in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 13, 2017

BOYDS, Maryland – Warrior Canine Connection is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to launch the WCC Veterans Treatment Court Program. This pilot program will utilize service dog training as a community service option for Veterans with mental health and legal issues being served in one of two California Veterans Treatment Courts. The program contributes to the diversion and community reintegration emphases of these Courts.

WCC will employ its Mission Based Trauma Recovery model in the Veterans Treatment Courts in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to provide a canine-focused community service program with mental health benefits. The program utilizes the MBTR model to give Veterans who have legal issues a novel opportunity to help train service dogs for their fellow Veterans.

The 2017 grant follows a 2016 grant from Bob Woodruff Foundation to develop and implement a feasibility plan to use service dogs as a community service option. With that plan having been met with approval, WCC will launch the pilot program in June 2017.

“We are honored to have received this additional grant funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to launch a program that we believe will have a profound impact on our nation’s Veterans in need,” said Rick Yount, founder and executive director, Warrior Canine Connection. “Thanks to the support of the Foundation, together, we can provide much-needed treatment, support and an improved quality of life for those who have given so much of themselves for our country.”

As of 2008, states and counties in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs created a system of Veterans Treatment Courts throughout the nation. To date, these VTCs have used treatment to help rehabilitate more than 10,000 Veterans with mental health and/or substance dependence and legal issues. Despite these efforts, tens of thousands of Veterans continue to need similar assistance.

Through the WCC Veterans Treatment Court Program, MBTR will be offered to Veterans as a community service option. Veterans will work with service dogs in training to not only help meet their legal community service obligations but also to fulfill a time-honored military tradition of Warriors helping Warriors. In doing so, the Veteran will also benefit from the therapeutic aspects of MBTR.

“This program is really innovative in that Warrior Canine Connection is addressing the underlying causes of criminal behavior in Veterans,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “The program offers a positive and rewarding outlet for Veterans to negate the symptoms of combat trauma, while at the same time providing severely needed service dogs for fellow Veterans.”

The WCC Veterans Treatment Court Program is planned to continue for one year and will utilize up to 10 service dogs in training under the guidance of seasoned service dog training instructors. Veterans will participate in both group and individual sessions over the course of eight weeks. At the conclusion of the year, and after the cumulative effort of this program has been achieved, some of the dogs will be placed with a Veteran with disabilities, while others will continue with training.

In the spring of 2017, the Bob Woodruff Foundation awarded $3.3 million in grants to 32 nonprofit programs that meet the needs of post-9/11 Veterans, service members and their families. The Bob Woodruff Foundation identified strategic priorities and awarded grants based on specific issue areas that are emerging or insufficiently supported by the public and private sector. The latest awards emphasized quality of life programs, including those that seek better legal outcomes for those who have served, provide healthy activities to engage veterans in their communities, and provide respite and support for caregivers and families.

For more information, please contact Beth Bourgeois at beth.bourgeois@warriorcanineconnection.org or 719-216-3206.

About Warrior Canine Connection

Warrior Canine Connection is a pioneering organization that utilizes a Mission Based Trauma Recovery model to empower returning combat Veterans who have sustained physical and psychological wounds while in service to our country. Based on the concept of Warriors helping Warriors, WCC’s therapeutic service dog training program is designed to mitigate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other challenges, while giving injured combat Veterans a sense of purpose, help in the reintegration back into their families and communities, and promote consideration of a potential career path as a service dog trainer. For more information, visit warriorcanineconnection.org.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s Veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $42 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered more than 2.5 million impacted Veterans, service members and their families. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.