Veteran Jevon D. Turner Sr. and TADSAW dog trainer Sara Astle share how service dogs change the lives of veterans.

Did you know that there are 300,000 U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? PTSD effects not only the health of veterans, but impacts their day-to-day activities and is life-altering. Many soldiers come back home and find difficulty adapting to civilian life and are faced with challenges they have never dealt with before. One way veterans are finding help for PTSD and other disabilities from military service is through the use of service dogs.  

Veterans See Life-Changing Results with Service Dogs

November 10, 2016

TADSAW teams came out to support the Hero Hustle 5K in Huntsville.

Did you know that there are 300,000 U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? PTSD effects not only the health of veterans, but impacts their day-to-day activities and is life-altering. Many soldiers come back home and find difficulty adapting to civilian life and are faced with challenges they have never dealt with before. One way veterans are finding help for PTSD and other disabilities from military service is through the use of service dogs.

Zidane is diligent about staying at Jevon's side at all times. “Service dogs truly do save warriors. Many veterans like myself have injuries both seen and unseen that prevent us from having a normal life. By providing service dogs to veterans, TADSAW helps us and our families better deal with our injuries,” says Jevon D. Turner Sr., a disabled Navy veteran who has received remarkable assistance from his service dog Zidane. Zidane has assisted Jevon for over a year, and he has truly seen how life-changing a service dog can be.

“Through TADSAW, Zidane was able to get the necessary training he needed to assist me with my medical condition. Having him has added mobility and value to my life,” Jevon says. “I have a seizure disorder and PTSD.  Zidane is trained to alert me of impending seizures and calm me down during a PTSD episode.”

Service dog Maximus.
TADSAW, the acronym for Train a Dog Save a Warrior, is a Texas-based program that provides training for Medical Alert Service Dogs for any wounded veteran service member surviving with any type of PTSD. They offer these service dogs at no cost to the veteran or their family. TADSAW helps veterans throughout the country and has helped support multiple Redstone employees, spouses of employees and members.

Sara Astle, a local dog trainer who helps train dogs for TADSAW knows how much of an impact these service dogs can have in veterans’ lives. “Dogs give that unconditional love that cannot be replaced and will never falter. Service dogs have that added bonus of being able to perform specific functions to aide their handler in ways that can and usually do change their lives,” she says.

TADSAW dogs in training with their owners.
Sara has seen how Service Dogs help give veterans their lives back through working with TADSAW. “ALL of the guys that I’ve trained have showed significant improvement in their social lives by being able to go to the store or to a restaurant and know that their ‘battle buddy’ has their back,” she says.


“Service dogs can perform a number of functions to assist their handler. They can assist with visible disabilities as well as invisible disabilities. They offer assistance to people who need them to get around, turn on lights, pull a wheel chair, calm them from anxiety attacks, wake them from night terrors and much more.”

Zidane, Jevon’s service dog, went through an intense training regimen of 29 weeks with Sara. “She was an excellent trainer,” he says. “First, she evaluated my dog. We then trained at my home, malls and stores; we used elevators, escalators and stairs; we visited restaurants; and trained with other people and their dogs. Zidane then earned his certification as a service dog.”

Jevon knows the true importance of Service Dogs and how they help improve the “22 statistic”. “Service dogs, when properly trained, are an essential part of a veteran’s life. They can save a veteran’s life. They love you unconditionally and only seek to assist and love you.”


Service Dogs allow veterans to overcome many obstacles, such as readjusting to human interactions and coping with fear, anxiety and depression. “Service Dogs allow some of us to sleep better at night, communicate with our families and friends, go out in public, be employable, etc. These are the things that the average person does and often times takes for granted. However, as a veteran, we truly cherish them,” Jevon says.


Ways You Can Help

Sara and Jevon both have some great ideas on how you can help support Veterans and help connect more of them with Service Dogs!

Sara Astle:
My husband and I foster dogs with Friends of Rescue (FOR). FOR saves hundreds of animals every year and operates solely on donations. The amazing FOR board has not hesitated once when I have asked them to waive the adoption fees so I can have a dog for TADSAW. FOR is amazing, well organized, very generous and active throughout the community. Our current foster was pulled from a high kill shelter to become a TADSAW dog. If you would like to support FOR, please go to their website at www.forrescue.net to donate.

Lola is a local service dog Sara trained.

Jevon D. Turner Sr.:
Many great service dogs are found in shelters. People can help TADSAW by rescuing dogs and taking them to these facilities. In addition, people can help this organization through financial donations.  Companies can help by partnering with TADSAW and having fundraisers, such as RFCU is currently doing through its Charity Finders program. This is an excellent way to give back to veterans and their families because of the awesome sacrifices veterans have made for this great United States of America to remain the land of the brave; home of the free!

If you would like to learn more about TADSAW, visit their website or purchase merchandise to support their cause. Do you have a personal story about service dogs? Share it with us in a comment below! 

Your Weekly Community Update

Stay on top of what is going on in your community with our weekly blog digest. We keep you in the loop about great community events, local charities, family fun and more! 

Subscribe Now!

Leave a Comment

 

*
*
*



 

Equal Housing LenderThis credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Redstone is an Equal Credit Opportunity Lender.

This content is provided for informational and educational purposes only and considered accurate as of the date posted. Views and opinions expressed in comments do not constitute an official endorsement by Redstone Federal Credit Union® or its affiliates. Redstone encourages you to seek professional advice for your personal situation before making any financial decision and is happy to assist you at any of our branch locations.

Must be RFCU® member to obtain or use any product or service. Must open a share savings account to join RFCU. A $5 minimum balance is required to open a share savings account and must be maintained in the share savings account at all times. Age and other restrictions may apply.