Change the Life of a Veteran Living with the Invisible Wounds of War image

Change the Life of a Veteran Living with the Invisible Wounds of War

Your monthly support helps veterans like Tom live more fulfilling lives through the support of a service dog.

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Tom's Story

"I have two boys that are very athletic and active in school and sports, and I wanted to go to their sporting events and watch them compete. But with the crowd I couldn't do it. Since Bomber's come into my life, this has really been life changing for me. I did serve 20 years active duty in the Army. I have three combat tours.

I did receive a traumatic brain injury from that. I had a lot of issues and anxiety being in crowds. With Dog Tag Buddies, you actually pair with a dog as a puppy. As the veteran and the dog, you go through the training together as a team. Through this program, I have learned how to be back out in public, being in those crowds so I can go out to dinner, I can go to sporting events and spend that time with my family.

I'm never going to go back to the way I was before military service, but Bomber's here with me and we're going to do it together and it's going to be okay."

When they complete their military service, service members often have injuries resulting from their service—some visible, some hiding beneath the steely surface. Post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and other hidden injuries affect many of our veterans. They come home to face isolation and lack of connectivity. They feel alone and aren’t sure where or how to move forward.

These injuries can lead to other issues including anxiety and severe depression, which without help and support, can lead to suicidal ideation. Death by suicide among veterans ranges from 20 to 22 a day, and deaths by suicide among Montana veterans is about twice the national average.

Dog Tag Buddies is working hard to decrease this number among our Montana veterans. We pair our veterans with specially selected dogs, then train the veteran to train the dog to become their service dog. Forging new bonds by giving our veterans a new mission through training and building a relationship with their dog is a small piece of the bigger picture. The program helps them find methods to recognize and manage the symptoms of their disabilities, discourages self-isolation, and helps them find a renewed sense of purpose. These dogs help our veterans learn how to trust, how to reengage and most importantly, help give our veterans their lives back. Everything we do is at no cost to the veterans, which includes obtaining the dog, paying for all necessary veterinary care, training, food, and supplies. The average cost of training is $23,000 for the first two years. We continue to support our teams through the life of the dog and beyond!

You can help us save lives by supporting Dog Tag Buddies. Every dollar helps our mission!