Saving lives on paw print at a time
Operation Save-A-Vet, Save-A-Pet found in Chambersburg Pennsylvania is dedicated to helping veterans find their furry friends.
Located in Franklin County, veterans with service-connected disabilities lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives with the help of service dogs. The Save-A-Vet, Save-A-Pet program trains dogs to assist veterans with various types of disabilities, such as diabetes, seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychiatric disorder, as well as traumatic brain injury.
This program benefits not only veterans but the dogs as well. All dogs in this organization are from local rescues and shelters and are given a second chance at finding a forever home.
These doggos are led through a rigorous year-long training process, that consists of three phases. This training program is assisted by the help of “Good Dog”, more commonly known as a training facility. The pups will complete Boarding, Doggies Day Care & Training in Greencastle, PA.
The founder of “Good Dog” is Helen Carlson, who is assisted by her husband Brad Carlson. Together Mr. and Mrs. Carlson have been training dogs for over thirty-six years. Each veteran-dog pair must complete the certification exam that will assess obedience, public behavior, and specialized skills trained to support that veteran.
It is important to this organization that throughout the training process veterans are not responsible for training costs, initial veterinary care, or other incidental expenses that might be incurred. Operation Save-A-Vet, Save-A-Pet is supported by a grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs Veterans Trust Fund.
All remaining costs, including training, initial veterinary care, or food for the dog throughout the training process are paid for through donations to the Franklin Country Veterans Affairs Outreach Fund. The Save-A-Vet, Save-A-Pet organization continues to grow, catching the attention of veterans every day. Veterans that have undergone this program such as Shawn Burgener, Jay Depp, Clinton Goshorn, and Jennifer Small (seen in the photo above), have completed a six-month probationary period before ownership of their dog.
Although I was unable to reach Justin Slep, director of Franklin Country Veterans Affairs, he said in a recent news release pertaining to this program, “There is no better feeling than providing an invaluable resource to veterans who will benefit from it each and every day.” Slep, a marine combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, began working as the Director of Franklin County Veterans Affairs in 2014.
Since then, he has established multiple programs, as well as annual events to give Veterans the opportunity for assistance and aid if they decided they were to need it. “My goal is to help streamline the coordination of veterans’ services, making the process less of a burden for veterans and their loved ones in Franklin County and across the Commonwealth”
Slep says in an article that dives deeper into why he decided to form the organization Save-A-Vet, Save-A-Pet. He strives to be a voice for unheard veterans and will go through any lengths to help his troops. “Veterans and their families are my top priority and responsibility” Slep says. Franklin County is home to over 13,500 veterans, not including the thousands of current military personnel who also maintain residency.
This program is to allow veterans to have services improve the quality of their life as well as the lives of their friends and families, close to home. Save-A-Pet, Save-A-Vet, can be found on 425 Franklin Farm Lane in Chambersburg PA. For further details call 717-263-4326, or email Mr. Slep at email@example.com.
For more information:
va_save-a-vet-save-a-pet.pdf (franklincountypa.gov) : Operation Save-A-Vet, Save-A-Pet flyer
Franklin County, PA (franklincountypa.gov): Details about Save-A-Vet, Save-A-Pet news release
Franklin County, PA: State Appoints Justin Slep to Veterans Services Advisory Committee (franklincountypa.gov): Further details on Justin Slep