Hero Pups is a New Hampshire-based, non-profit organization that pairs support dogs with veterans and first responders throughout New England who have been diagnosed with service-related psychological challenges. Laura Barker founded the organization after her son was wounded in Afghanistan. Hero Pups was founded on the belief that since our Heroes have already given so much, it’s the least we can do to provide them a companion to help them lead a happier life, free of charge. Hero Pups received 501(c)(3) status in 2016. Our program is headquartered on 50-acres of private, rent-free land in New Hampshire. Before our program’s second anniversary, community members, local businesses, and volunteers came together to make our kennel building and quarantine zone for incoming dogs possible. And by our fourth anniversary in 2020, our sponsors and volunteers helped to turn an existing building into a training building. This included new flooring, insulation, garage doors, and furnace repairs. Our facility is not excessive, but the dogs have everything they could need and are very comfortable. We choose to focus on the dogs and Heroes – not fancy swimming pools or career aspirations. Hero Pups is 100 percent volunteer-run with no paid staff.
Operation Delta Dog is a nonprofit based out of Hollis, NH that rescues homeless dogs and trains them to become service dogs for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and other related challenges. Most service dog training organizations use trainers or prison training programs to train their service dogs, and then veterans must travel to their facility for a short period of time at their own expense to learn how to work with their new service animal. The veteran then returns home with the animal and little is done by way of follow-up with their success or struggles. Operation Delta Dog takes a hands-on role in the training of their service dogs and continues support throughout the life of the dog and beyond. Veterans are matched with a dog after the dog goes through an extensive twelve-week foundation training program with Operation Delta Dog’s training director, dog trainers and kennel assistants. Veterans then start attending classes with their dog at least twice per week to make sure the match is a good one for both the veteran and dog. After another four to six weeks, if the match works, the dog will move in with the Veteran and they will continue to come to classes together, have one-on-one home training sessions, and attend educational opportunities and meetings with veteran caseworkers until the dog is fully trained.
In 2020, Swim With A Mission presented Annie’s Angels Memorial Fund with a check for $200,000 to fund 6 service and support K9’s for New Hampshire Veterans. Chris’ Pets For Vets (a program of Annie’s Angels) works with local animal shelters to adopt animals and train them to be paired with a Veteran in need so they can more easily deal with PTSD and help heal the deep emotional scars caused by war and their military service. This fund was created in honor of Christopher Journeau for PTSD awareness. Chris served with the US ARMY, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team while fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom. At the age of 23 and six months after his return home to Stratham, NH, he took his own life. The end result was he had been suffering from PTSD and nobody knew it until it was too late. If you are interested in a service or support dog, click the link below to contact Annie’s Angels.