Lending A Helping Paw
Therapy dogs help soldiers cope with PTSD.
By day, Bob Lander runs a cabin rental and spa, but his passion is dogs.
Now he is using this passion to jump-start another passion.
"The more I've gotten into the issue, the stronger my drive is," Lander says about his newest project. "It means a lot to me to be able to help our local veterans."
Lander never served in the military, but he watched his dad deal with post-traumatic stress for years.
Now he's training his own dog, Ozzie, and his newest acquisition, a young black Labrador retriever, as his first Battle Buddies -- service dogs for veterans.
"A lot of veterans have a hard time dealing with things of public appearance or being out in large crowds," Lander says.
The purpose of a Battle Buddy dog is to provide space for the veteran, to help with panic attacks, and to do what all dogs do: make them smile.
Lander hopes to match up three to five Battle Buddies a year with vets in the Blairsville, Georgia area.
"We're not striving to be some big national organization," he says. "We want to help our community."