Upstate program matches rescue service dogs with veterans

UPSTATE, SC (WSPA) – “Service Dogs for Veterans” is an upstate program that matches rescue dogs with veterans and puts them through an eight-month training to become a licensed service dog .

Instead of most programs giving a veteran an already licensed service dog, the vet bonds with their dog as they both complete training together.

7news spoke to two veterans who have completed the program.

James Ault and Travis Cobb are both Army veterans who struggle with PTSD after their time in the military. They both said their companions saved their lives.

Ault said he attempted suicide before adopting his dog Elsa and eventually participated in the Service Dogs for Veterans program.

Ault said he wanted to give back and is now a trainer in the service dog program and has even trained Cobb his service dog Kam.

Cobb said he was in a bad place before going on the program with Kam.

He said, “we are two broken souls and together we are one perfect soul.”

Ault tells us the program helps veterans struggling with PTSD, anxiety, or depression, and in some cases the dogs help veterans come off some of their medications.

“These dogs are their medicine,” Ault said.

Since the program began in 2014, more than 100 veterans and dogs have completed the training.

Currently, more than 20 people are enrolled in the program.

More information on the Service Dogs for Veterans program here.