BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling Operation Delta Dog whose mission is to rescue shelter dogs and train them to work as service dogs for disabled veterans who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and related challenges.
WBZ Cares features Operation Delta Dog, where shelter dogs are rescued, trained, and then become service dogs for Veterans suffering from things like PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and Military Sexual Assault. It's a completely free to the Veteran.
“This is a commitment. This is a relationship. We are here to support them as best as we can for as long as we need to,” said Nona Alexander, a veteran case worker.
Nona Alexander is their veteran case worker. With her knowledge of resources, Nona helps remove some of the potential road blocks to success.
“We're working with people who have pretty serious challenges. When other things come up in their lives, and they’re not sure how to navigate through that, they don't have a support system to navigate through that. We are here to be that support system,” Alexander said.
And not just through the roughly year and a half training program for the Veteran and dog teams.
“Really that's kind of forever. Once the dog graduates, we're still here. We don't step away. We just kind of add to their network to help them just be successful,” Alexander stated.
Marine Corps Veteran Matthew Gates has been working with his chocolate lab service dog Willow for just over 2 months, and they're clicking.
“I believe that we're off to a good track right now, especially ‘cause she's very attentive and she's very work motivated. It's very easy to not feel the pressure of I guess our experiences working with the dogs,” outlined Gates.
Willow helps him cope with his PTSD.
That and the support and sense of community Delta Dog provides have changed his life.
“It's hard not to smile when you're at Delta dog. It's really hard not to smile, especially when you see other veterans too who are in whole bunches, like whole bunch of different areas. You got some veterans who are to the point where they have the dog with them. You have veterans just starting with you. You got veterans who are about to graduate the program. So you got all these other veterans here who are in a similar boat as you, who, now you are exposed to as a community as well. That's an amazing thing. You know, I haven't been introduced to a community of veterans and I’ve been going to the V.A. for a while. And I can still navigate the V.A. without getting that sense of community. But here you get that, so that's really, that’s something that makes this kind of setup unique to me, honestly,” concluded Gates.
WBZ NewsRadio1030's Shari Small Reports