LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Southern Nevada nonprofit 'Red White and Blue Dog Training After Government Service,' or R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S., has a goal of saving two lives at once.
The group rescues dogs from shelters then pairs them with combat veterans. The dogs and military personnel then go through training together so the dogs can become service animals for the veterans, helping with either mental and/or physical disabilities.
“Our motto is saving two lives at a time because we have a really high suicide rate with veterans and we have a high kill rate for dogs. Two horrid things,” said volunteer Deena Vandevanter.
R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. doesn’t stop at pairing up the dogs with the veterans. They also help financially.
If the veteran needs help at any point in the dog’s life with anything from buying food to vet bills, R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. steps in to help pay.
Rock Cruz and his puppy, Coqui, just started their training.
The Army veteran said Coqui will be there for mental support and also tasks like medication reminders. For Cruz, Coqui will be the support that he once had in the military.
“I’ll always have somebody to watch my back. In the military we always had a buddy to watch our back and this is my buddy to watch my back,” said Cruz.
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