Group looks to place Mid-South veterans with service dogs

MEMPHIS, Tenn.– A non-profit is looking to place dogs in a forever home. However these aren’t just any dogs going to any home.

Mid-South Canines for Veterans trains dogs to be service companions to veterans coping with PTSD.

On Wednesday the organization introduced us to Star.

“She’s very affectionate. She loves to cuddle,” group volunteer Kialie Jones said.

It’s clear looking at the two-year-old dog, rescued from Collierville Animal Services, she is attentive.

“One of the things that makes her a really good anxiety dog is she’s always up in your face and she wants your focus on her,” Jones explained.

Jones showed us how Star follows commands and shows her affection to those she interacts with.

Star has gone through special training.

Rebecca Wilson, President of Mid-South Canines for Veterans, said her organization goes into local animal shelters.

“We select dogs based on a specific criteria and we train them for eight to 12 months to become PTSD dogs or service dogs to veterans with PTSD.”

Dogs like Star sense their owner’s feelings, provide emotional support and calm to help veterans get through tough times.

“It helps them in times of when they feel either panicked or anxiety,” Wilson said.

The non-profit has been around about two years, placing six dogs with veterans.

Wilson hopes the dogs can help reduce startling statistics.

“Veterans commit suicide 22 veterans a day,” she explained.

Wilson and Jones are not veterans but said they have family and friends that are so helping those who have served our country hits close to home.

“We just want to give back to the community and this is our way of doing it,” Wilson said.

After completing her training, Star is now ready to find her forever home, to live with and help a veteran.

“I’ll probably cry when she goes but she’s helped me just with my general anxiety and I know she’s going to do so much more just with whoever she gets placed with,” Jones said.

If you are interested in Star or future dogs you can visit their website.

The group is also looking for volunteers and have several upcoming fundraisers as well, including on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Casual Pint on Highland.

Their will also be a ‘Dogs on Hogs’ event on Nov. 11 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.