Local rescued dogs transformed to possible service dogs for veterans

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX(RNN Texoma) - One organization based out of Colorado is looking for service dogs in the Basin to give back to veterans and people with mental or physical disabilities.
They found seven dogs locally that they believe are a good fit.

Freedom Service Dogs transforms these furry friends into customized trained service dogs. A training that takes seven months and worth $30,000, is given to a client completely free.

"These dogs have got to help them either in-home with certain tasks or in public with certain trained tasks," said Fran Menley, Foundation Training Manager with Freedom Service Dogs. "An emotional support dog is not a service dog."

The tasks the dogs learn include picking up keys, credit cards to opening doors.

This week, the organization visited Midland and Odessa rescues and shelters to find which dogs have the potential of providing those services.

"I want to see what that dog is going to do in that situation with me," said Menley. "I see how they act in a kennel, if they're jumping up and down, I'm going to pull that dog to test."

Once a dog is selected, they will go through medical evaluations like getting blood work or x-rayed to make sure they're healthy.

If the dogs fail to complete the training, then the organization finds a family to adopt them out. They're in the process of arranging transport for those seven dogs chosen.

Whether it's PTSD or depression, these four-legged friends are someone's hope that one day, the big thing they're fetching is someone's happiness.

The Rachael's Ray Foundation sponsors Freedom Service Dogs which allows them to travel around and find rescued dogs to recruit into the program.

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