GOLF EVENT SUPPORTS SERVICE DOG PROGRAM FOR VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES

18-hole tournament helps provide funds to place service dogs for veterans with disabilities

Smithtown, NY  (August 1, 2016) – America’s VetDogs, a nationally accredited provider of specially trained guide, service and hearing dogs to veterans with disabilities, is pleased to announce its 7th Annual VetDogs Golf Classic (Golf.VetDogs.org) to be held Monday, August 29, at the Huntington Country Club in Huntington, NY. This event assists in deferring costs to train and place these special dogs that help veterans return to a life of pride and independence. 

The shotgun start begins at 11 a.m., and the match features several hole-in-one prizes, including “His and Her” new cars.  The post-tournament cocktail hour is followed by dinner and a live auction and raffles. Foursomes and dinner and sponsorship opportunities are available, but will sell-out fast. Additional details on the event can be found at Golf.VetDogs.org.

It takes over $50,000 and two years to raise, train and match just one service dog with a veteran with disabilities. However, all of VetDogs’ services are provided at no cost to veterans; funding comes from events such as the golf classic and the generous contributions of individuals, corporations, foundations, businesses, and service clubs. 

This year’s guests of honor include United States Army Major (Ret.) Peter Way and United States Navy Lieutenant (Ret.) Melanie Monts De Oca. In 2002 Major Way was deployed to Afghanistan with Army Special Operations where he worked as a Special Forces Medic.  He was injured in 2003 twice; once by a grenade and the second pulling another soldier out of an ambushed vehicle.  Way continued to serve in the military until December 2013 when he was medically retired as a result of his injuries and complications.  In January 2013, Way was placed with Rory, his custom-trained service dog from America’s VetDogs. Rory assists Way with providing balance and stability when he is wearing his prosthetic leg, retrieval, and offers assistance when in his wheelchair including opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off and more.

After 10 years of service, health issues ended Monts De Oca’s Navy career.  In 2004, she suffered a non-combat injury which required three hip surgeries.  She was also diagnosed with a heart condition as well as a connective tissue disorder and degenerative joint disease. Undaunted, she was determined to continue her career.  However, after a series of incidents in which she could not get help for herself, she began to consider a service dog and how a dog might help mitigate her disabilities. Her orthopedic injuries continued to worsen to the point where she had difficulty moving and holding things due to severe joint pain. 

Melanie discovered America’s VetDogs while searching for organizations that would assist non-combat injured vets. America’s VetDogs serves veterans of all eras, no matter when or how their injuries or disabilities occurred.  Melanie’s service dog Liberty is trained to alert someone if she needs help. The dog has also been trained to retrieve, and helps brace Melanie when getting up or down from the floor, out of chairs, or going up and down stairs. The dog can also assist with balance and open doors when Melanie is in her wheelchair, either by pushing the automatic door activation buttons or pulling them open with a special strap Melanie carries.

Participants at the Golf Classic will have the chance to meet Major Way and Lieutenant Monts De Oca and witness firsthand how their assistance dogs have changed their lives.  

About America’s VetDogs® 
Since 2003, America’s VetDogs has trained and placed more than 420 guide, hearing, PTSD, and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.  America's VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation and relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.  

America’s VetDogs was the second assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. 

To learn more or to donate, visit www.VetDogs.org