As a dog trainer I am constantly fighting against the war of pit bulls being inherently “aggressive”. I will be posting more on this topic at a later time, but I have another issue to discuss regarding this “breed” (which according to AKC is just a term describing a mix of bully breeds). I am also a trainer for Train A Dog Save A Warrior. I work with veterans on either training their personal dog or finding a dog from the shelter to become their service dog. There are 22 veteran suicides a day, yet military installations and the VA put restrictions on the organizations they will accept as service dog providers. The only program they will recognize is unable to meet with the demands…again this is a topic I will dive into at a later time. Well, recently, both these wars I am fighting against collided and I am beyond angry and frustrated by this. I had a warrior who needed a dog and I found him a FANTASTIC dog (pictured above) at the shelter named Chaos (although this dogs personality does not fit the name). When I am searching for dogs at the shelter I will evaluate several dogs and they go through an extensive temperament test. Chaos passed with flying colors. There isn’t an aggressive bone in his body. In fact, when he sees another dog barking aggressively or lunging at him, he wants to get the hell out of there. When I was opening his mouth and had my hand inside he just kept licking me and wagging his tail. When I played with his paws (often a sensitive area for dogs) he got into the play bow and was trying to play with me. Not one thing Chaos did was aggressive or even slightly concerning. That goes without saying that his instincts for picking up and responding to PTSD symptoms were outstanding. If you didn’t already guess, Chaos is a pit mix. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not have any breed discriminations, but once Chaos went home with his warrior they were told that Chaos would not be allowed on our local military installations due to his breed. Now these and several other military installations have breed restrictions on personally owned dogs (obviously I don’t agree with this), but they have instilled the same restrictions on Service Dogs. It doesn’t matter that every dog (regardless of breed) that is eligible for the program has to go through an extensive temperament test and are therefore safe to be around anyone and anything. I think it is deplorable that military installations can completely disregard the ADA’s Federal Policy. By doing so, they are contributing to the 22 suicides a day. Refusing to work with other service dog organizations and placing breed restrictions on service dogs prevents veterans from obtaining service dogs and saving lives. What happened to “never leave a man behind”…that shouldn’t only apply down range. So what happened to Chaos? My warrior kept him for 3 weeks till we found a different service member to take him who does not need to visit military installations. My warrior and his family were devastated. I found him the PERFECT dog and it had to be taken from him. The last thing my warriors need is another tragedy and our local military installations did just that. This is beyond counter productive!
It is important for me to note that I am NOT anti military in any way. I support our military service members 100%. That is why I am fighting on their behalf to decrease the 22 suicides a day and help these men and women obtain a better quality of life after they have placed their life on the line for our freedom.