Nonprofit That Trains Service Dogs for Veterans Expands to the Northeast


Credit: Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs Inc

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. is expanding its services from Florida to include the northeast with a $20 million project to open a campus in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Capital–Star. The new location will allow veterans in the area who are struggling with injuries or mental health to get help from specially trained service dogs. The nonprofit is nearly halfway towards their goal of $20 million which will expand the number of dogs they have to meet the needs of the veteran community. 

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. rescues, raises, and trains, “the highest caliber medical service/assistance dogs.” Each dog is paired with an individual with a disability with a particular focus on veterans wounded in combat. The goal of the nonprofit is to build and restore “independence and [improve] quality of life, for both the recipient and the dog, while minimizing reliance on government, communities, caregivers, and families.” According to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, “the campus will have multiple training facilities for the dogs, along with a dormitory for veterans to spend two weeks getting to know their dog before they go home.” 

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The nonprofit’s part-time regional development director, Jack Wagner, explained that the organization has “trained a total of 400 dogs – which takes more than two years and costs about $25,000 each – and has helped veterans in 30 states over the past six years, including Western Pennsylvania,” adding that “a single campus in Florida is not sufficient for the demand of the dogs. Keep in mind, the dogs are provided to veterans with serious visible and invisible injuries. Western Pennsylvania has a high concentration of veterans.” He noted that the expansion will double the amount of dogs that can be given to veterans each year. 

Wagner shared that the expansion is going to be a “worthwhile” investment because it helps our country’s bravest find comfort with a service animal. For veterans struggling with physical or mental health, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. is giving them the hope they need with each dog they train, and changing both of their lives with the love that grows through their companionship.  

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