It was a merry Christmas indeed for Army veteran David Towne, his wife Kelly and their children Dawson and Charlotte.
“Pito” was delivered on Christmas morning by Tehama County Supervisor Candy Carlson, Bruce Riecke and Kylie Irwin of Home Again K9s for Veterans of Tehama County.
Home Again K9s for Veterans was formed in response to veterans requesting the opportunity to choose a companion dog and be involved with the obedience training of their new furry friend.
The program provides professional companion dog ownership support and resources to veterans who are motivated about establishing this relationship.
This is a unique program in that it allows for individualized selection and instruction of companion animals. Veterans can choose a companion with the assistance of the program staff from sources such as local shelters and rescue organizations, or the veteran can choose a dog independently.
The Home Again K9s for Veterans model allows veterans the opportunity to bond immediately with their new companions. With the guidance and training of approved trainers, the program intends to provide the results that lead to a rewarding companionship relationship.
Veterans with special needs that require a service animal are beyond the scope of this program; however, volunteers will seek to refer these clients to appropriate organizations.
The program offers limited training assistance with approved trainers to veterans at no charge. To enroll, the veteran will complete a questionnaire and be interviewed by a review team prior to participating in the program.
Free courses cover basic vocabulary and obedience instruction used to prepare dogs for companionship work. Each veteran will be able to use training topics and lessons at home with their companion dog to re-enforce the commands.