To help restore lost freedom and peace of mind to Kentuckiana wounded heroes and their families by providing specially trained and certified assistance dogs.
The nonprofit Dogs Helping Heroes (DHH) addresses the increasing demand for trained assistance dogs for first responders and military personnel injured during the course of their careers. Our inspiration is to improve the daily lives of disabled military veterans, wounded first responders and Gold Star families who would benefit from an assistance dog.
David Benson founded Dogs Helping Heroes in 2013 to help fill the growing need for service dogs. David has seen firsthand the effect that dogs can have on disabled veterans. His brother-in-law, who was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Iraq, found it difficult to remain in a public place for more than a short period due to anxiety attacks. David gave his brother-in-law a trained Labrador Retriever several years ago, and the dog has changed his and his family’s lives by helping him calm himself when anxiety strikes.
The idea for Dogs Helping Heroes was born when David saw how this service dog helped his brother-in-law. With 13 years of professional dog training experience, David is eminently qualified to recognize dogs with the potential to help heal our wounded heroes and their families. With each dog trained and matched with a hero, we achieve our goal of restoring the freedom and dignity to first responders and military veterans, as well as comforting the families of lost heroes.
Collaboration with the Kentuckiana community enables DHH to accomplish its program effectively and efficiently. Our program includes raising funds for the rescuing and training of canines; assessing the service requirements and desires of heroes and their families; and coordinating the relationships between individual heroes and their dogs. Individuals, corporate sponsors and charities generously provide financial support.
From local shelters and rescues, DHH selects canines that best fit the criteria derived from our experience and research. The dogs are boarded, equipped and trained for service. Obedience training includes manners, composure and formal commands. Service training includes at least three tasks required by a disabled hero.
DHH facilitates the rehabilitation process for heroes by assigning an appropriate assistance dog to an individual and his or her caregiver(s). Matched dogs acquire the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Award and comply with the American Disabilities Act of 1990.