No one left behind: Howell service dog group connects vets to help

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HOWELL, Mich. (WLNS) – September is suicide prevention month and service dog month, both important to veterans. A Livingston county non-profit on a mission to pair vets with service dogs.

“Obviously, in the military you never leave a brother behind, you never. You always have to help. Basically, we saw a need,” said Kirk Lanam.

An Air Force veteran, Lanam’s passion to help others continued in civilian life. Him and his team at Veteran Service Dogs in Howell have connected around 700 veterans with dogs. James Green and Gunner are one of those pairs.

“I think, you know, having a service dog and going through the training process, really helped me establish and control over my chaos,” the Navy veteran said.

Along with having gunner, the organization allows Green to train with veterans of all ages, which he says helps lower his social stress.

“These guys understand if you have an angry outburst and can’t come in that day. They get it,” he said.

Lanam says that they typically rescue these dogs from shelters and train them. The group has even made an exemption for stray dogs, like Doc.

“He was on the streets, so nobody knew what his life was like prior to this. We did a lot of one on one with Kirk and this is a completely different dog,” said Navy vet and corpsman Edgar Jones.

Doc was paired with Jones and the due has been inseparable.

“The bond is there. It’s really amazing what he does for me. So he’s a good guy,” he said.

For Lanam, he says that’s what this is all about.

“That purpose of helping all of your brothers and sisters out, that’s all your need,” he said.

More information and donations to the non-profit can be made at the link on Seen on 6 section.

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