A gift of $35,000 is being made this week to the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation (PSDF) of Murietta, CA from the Light Up To Live Foundation (LUTLF) to fund a highly trained service dog for a military Veteran handler who passes a rigorous needs application process. Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Pain or Depression are the top priority. The dog is a yellow Labrador named Lincoln.
Randall Reed, president and founder of the Light Up To Live Foundation, made the announcement with the LUTLF Board of Directors, and thanked supporters who helped raise the monies at their fundraising events held In September. “My wife Sherry and I could not be more proud of what this Foundation is doing to support the U.S. Military Veteran community in large and small ways – touching individual Veterans with the help they need to get back to their best selves after traumatic experiences.”
Tom Tackett, founder of the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation, said his work with canines is incredibly rewarding as well as challenging. “It’s our mission to find the ideal dog, for the ideal Veteran candidate, and make a lifelong match that will help that Veteran operate in as close to a normal lifestyle as possible.” Tackett says he and his team train the specially selected service dogs for up to 18 months. When a match is made with a Veteran, that new “handler” trains for another two months to ensure the match is a good one. The dog is provided at no charge and the gift includes five years of dog food and veterinary care. Tackett is hoping to place Lincoln in the next several months with his new Veteran handler.
At this year’s Light Up To Live Gala, Tackett brought Veteran Michelle Rivera and her new service dog Gentle Ben to meet the foundation’s supporters. Rivera, who suffered for years with severe PTS, found the perfect match with the handsome German Shepherd who is named in memory of U.S. Army Sgt. Ben Adams. She said Gentle Ben has given her the courage and confidence to move back into society and to her normal activities and work, whereas before, she had isolated herself at home. (Click to watch video and learn more). A third dog donated by the Reeds at the same time as Gentle Ben is nearing his placement with a new handler. The curly-haired Labradoodle is named Jackel in memory of U.S. Army Sgt. Stephen Jackel. An announcement on this placement will be made at a later date.
Reed also announced that he and Sherry have donated a chocolate-colored Labrador puppy named Star who is in training now at PSDF and will be the recipient of funding at the 2020 LUTLF fundraising events.