“Most visitors view Falls Park in downtown Greenville as a tranquil escape. But dogs see the park a little differently, from birds flying by to the crowd of strangers milling around.
It’s a lot of eye candy in one place, and Jo Anne Creed of the nonprofit Battle Buddies says that made it the perfect setting to train service dogs.
“So, I kind of like wanted to work on distractions more today,” she explained to a group of veterans last week. “Especially because there’s ducks, and there’s stuff going on.”
It was part of a five-day boot camp for their service dogs, and the golden retrievers were ready to get work.
To test them, Creed made a racket, flinging a dog bowl to the ground to see how they reacted.
“Perfect!” she says, after one pooch ignored the sound.
“Good boy! They don’t want them to step back and recoil,” she explained.
Eight years ago, Jo Anne co-founded Battle Buddies with her husband John, who’s a Marine veteran.
“We were starting to discover just how bad PTSD was a problem, that 22 veterans a day commit suicide,” Creed said. “And my husband and I talked about it and said, ‘We’ve gotta do something about this.'”
Battle Buddies trains and provides service dogs for vets with PTSD and other issues at no cost. Boot camp is the final stretch, acclimating the animals with the vets.”
View the whole story here: https://wlos.com/news/local/service-dog-battle-buddies-asheville-veterans