Trained to retrieve items, alert their partner to important sounds such as a doorbell or alarm, operate light switches and seek help in an emergency, service dogs help many veterans and first responders with disabilities achieve independence. Partnering with a service dog is free.
But preparing those dogs is an expensive and specialized business. The cost of the dog, medical fees and training can run close to $25,000.
Now, Maryland will help pay the bill.
Hero Dogs of Brookeville was awarded $10,000 in a service animal program grant from the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.
Two additional service animal organizations participate in the program: Warrior Canine Connection and Fidos for Freedom. Each may receive grants.
The fund grant program, which reimburses a group for successful veteran-service animal matches, was introduced into law in 2017. This is the first grant made from the appropriation of $150,000 in general funds.
“As the son of a veteran, I so appreciate the tireless work of Hero Dogs,” said Sen. Bryan Simonaire,” who sponsored the legislation.