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Hero Dogs Gets State Funding

$10K helps make veteran-service dog matches

From left: Hero Dogs Executive Director Nikki Charles; Department of Veterans Affairs’s Dana Burl; Hero Dogs Founder and Program Director Jennifer Lund; Sen. Bryan Simonaire; Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings and Deputy Secretary Robert Finn.

      Trained to retrieve items, alert their partner to important sounds such as a doorbell or alarm, operate light switches and seek help in an emergency, service dogs help many veterans and first responders with disabilities achieve independence. Partnering with a service dog is free.

       But preparing those dogs is an expensive and specialized business. The cost of the dog, medical fees and training can run close to $25,000.

      Now, Maryland will help pay the bill.

      Hero Dogs of Brookeville was awarded $10,000 in a service animal program grant from the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.

     Two additional service animal organizations participate in the program: Warrior Canine Connection and Fidos for Freedom. Each may receive grants.

     The fund grant program, which reimburses a group for successful veteran-service animal matches, was introduced into law in 2017. This is the first grant made from the appropriation of $150,000 in general funds. 

      “As the son of a veteran, I so appreciate the tireless work of Hero Dogs,” said Sen. Bryan Simonaire,” who sponsored the legislation.