Sign In

Service Dogs Helping Veterans

July 3, 2020

A nonprofit providing service dogs to veterans and first responders at no cost in Pittsburgh is making a real difference. Their actions and local support are making us proud to be from Pittsburgh.

At a Grove City park, five military veterans gathered after being paired with their newest support animals.

“It’s just remarkable, I cannot believe it,” said James Grossman of Hermitage.

Veterans like Grossman suffer from invisible wounds, like PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury. With the help of dogs from the Florida-based nonprofit Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, they’re regaining their independence.

“I would be very sheltered. I would not feel like I would be well to be out in public. Something might flare-up, I might be anxious,” said Dustin Schneider of Pittsburgh. “I might have a breakdown with her. She doesn’t let me get that far, she just wants me to be okay.”

The nonprofit gives 90% of their dogs to veterans and first responders. Guardian Angels founder Carol Borden said they see a lot of need and support from our region.

“We have just a wonderful, wonderful base of corporate sponsors and philanthropic-minded individuals who have welcomed us wholeheartedly over the past five years that we’ve been there in their area,” said Borden. “We have paired dozens and dozens of dogs in Pennsylvania.”

Pittsburgh professional sports teams, PNC and local foundations are just a few of the groups supporting the training for each dog, which cost $25,000.

Guardian Angels employee Joanne Werner said she loves being able to give dogs to people that need them.

“Just paying back all the respect that we have for them, giving them something that’s going to give them a new normal,” she said.

The support is appreciated by Schneider and his dog Spangle.

“Pittsburgh has been a very large staple in my recovery here,” said Schneider. Borden said they plan to expand by building their first campus, which will provide more dogs to more people.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more