Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and the suicide rate is rising exceptionally fast among for those who fought in the wars.
Studies show 22 veterans die from suicide every day. The organization, Veterans K-9 Solutions is trying to reduce those numbers by placing shelter dogs with veterans who are mentally or physically disabled.
“Saving two lives at one time is our motto,” said founder, Jerry Lida.
His group works to train dogs from shelters and pair them with veterans. The goal he says, giving a new meaning of life to both the dogs and the veterans.
“Time is too short,” explained Lyda. “There are too many veterans every day committing suicide because they were not getting the proper help. We try to be part of that so we can make those numbers smaller; from 22 to 20.”
Lyda says training the dogs to meet the needs of the men and women who protected our country is a better solution to the high suicide rate among veterans than medication or therapy.
“I had one veteran who was on 11 different medications,” said Lyda. “After he got his dog for a month, he was down to one.”
Once they’re rescued from the shelters, the dogs go through an intense training program.
After months of hard work, they’re ready to go, forming a bond with their veteran that Veterans K-9 Solutions Founder says is like no other.
“If the dog takes care of him, he takes care of that dog,” said Lyda. “That gets him out into the public; with PTSD it’s hard to get out. We want to make sure those guys have a quality of life they deserve.”
Giving both a new purpose. Lyda says it’s crucial for both veterans and civilians alike to seek help when they feel depressed.
“There’s help it seems like it’s not, but it is,” explained Lyda. “You just got to go out and find it.”
Jerry Lyda also told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, Veterans K-9 solutions will travel to Washington D.C. this summer for a conference on getting service dogs to veterans.
He and other organizations will be working to make the service nationwide.
If you’re thinking about suicide, worried about loved one or would like emotional support, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.