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Ex-soldier who trains shelter dogs to become veterans’ companions to be honored on Memorial Day in Maryland – Baltimore Sun – Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland 2022-05-27 06:00:00 –

Chris Hardy remembers the moment when he realized that dogs could change his life. But he has to take a deep breath and try to hold back his tears to talk.

In 2006, Hardy, a Pentagon dog trainer in Afghanistan, regularly attended a field hospital to receive supplies with his dog, Dark. The nurse was holding a seriously injured baby. The baby suffered burns on his face, neck and body. She suddenly reached out to her pet’s dark, and her face brightened with a smile.

Hardy was later told that until that moment, the child had tolerated the stoic treatment and showed no emotions.

Her interaction with Dark in that short moment prompted a new connection to her life, and Hardy’s life. He and Dark returned several times and were asked by hospital staff if they could start visiting some of the military patients. The experience “really got me,” he said.

Hardy from the Eastern Shore, who served for the 82nd Airborne Division for 11 years, returned from there with strong memory and unfortunately post-traumatic stress disorder. Recalling the healing powers of Dark, he decided to help his fellow injured veterinarian by training service dogs for them.

Hardy, currently Managing Director of US Kennels Inc. in Salisbury, will be attending on Monday 55th. Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Durani Valley Memorial Garden At Timonium, he is honored for his plaque and donations to his organization.

“It’s our tradition to recognize Maryland organizations and institutions that support veterans and emphasize the true meaning of Memorial Day,” Jack Mitchell, president of Durani Valley Memorial Gardens, said in a statement. I am.

In 2017, Hardy and his wife Millera founded the non-profit US Kennels. They rescue the dog from the shelter and match the dog with a veteran who needs the help of a devoted companion. They provide veterans free of charge with a year of training at their facility for veterans and their dogs, along with food, veterinary care and all the supplies they need.

The organization matches about 50 veterans and dog companions, and they have even more waiting lists.

Sam Landis, Greenwood, Delaware, is an Army veteran with PTSD and has been training with a mongrel dog Bodhi in Kennels, USA since August.

The dog keeps a protective bubble around her and “takes me to a better space,” she says. He predicts her panic attack and puts her feet on her knees for her gentle pressure if she feels sick. Like a guardian angel, he never leaves her side. According to Landis, with the help of her bodhi, her world is expanding and becoming a less scary place.

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Danray Atkinson, a volunteer and lead trainer at US Kennels, was one of the first graduates. He retired from the Army in 2014 after 25 years and five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His dog gas is trained to provide comfort and stability between panic attacks that Atkinson has as a result of PTSD.

Relying on gas is “like always having a battle buddy with you. He always has your back. This program literally saved my life,” Atkinson said. increase.

In return, he said helping those in need is a way for him to get paid. “That’s all I need.”

Monday ceremony The Durani Valley honors Maryland-related military personnel who died in the past year, as well as all members of the army killed in the September 11 terrorist attack.

Especially recognized are US Navy NCO First Class Officers. Sara F. Burns Severna Park, US Air Force Petty Officer First Class Dewain A. Queen Anne’s County Chester Stevens, and Navy Lieutenant jg Aaron P. Fowler Of Oklahoma, a 2018 graduate of the Annapolis Naval Academy. Burns was one of five crew members who died in a helicopter crash during a training mission off San Diego in August. Stevens died in March at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and Fowler died in April during training at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Hardy’s loyal companion, a 3-year-old New Found Land named Brody, will accompany him to the event on Monday.

“There is no medicine like dogs. They save your incredible lives,” he said.

Ex-soldier who trains shelter dogs to become veterans’ companions to be honored on Memorial Day in Maryland – Baltimore Sun Source link Ex-soldier who trains shelter dogs to become veterans’ companions to be honored on Memorial Day in Maryland – Baltimore Sun

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