America's VetDogs in Smithtown cuts wait time for service dogs from 3 years to 12 months or less
America's VetDogs in Smithtown is celebrating 20 years of training and placing service dogs with veterans who have disabilities.
The organization has helped connect 1,000 pups with veterans across the country.
"It's really helped them get their lives back after pretty significant injuries or PTSD after conflict," says America's VetDogs President John Miller.
To celebrate their 20th year, they unveiled 20 newly renovated rooms that veterans use as lodging while they train to care for their service dogs.
The nonprofit also announced that it has cut the wait time for a service dog from three years to 12 months or less, which will help veterans like Howard Stillwagon.
The Vietnam War veteran from Glen Cove suffered physical and emotional wounds in the conflict and says he kept the horrors of combat bottled up inside for half a century.
Stillwagon received a service dog named Cruiser from America's VetDogs in October 2020 and says the companionship helps him battle PTSD.
"Cruiser is my soulmate - he is always with me," Stillwagon says. "His job is to be with and to take care of me and he does it."
For more information of America's VetDogs and how to get a service dog, click here.