Meet Huey, the PTSD service dog providing life-changing support for his U.S. Army veteran owner
ST. LOUIS, Nov. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In honor of Veteran’s Day, Purina Dog Chow and award-winning recording artist and actor Anthony Ramos are proud to introduce this year’s Dog Chow Visible Impact Award winner: Huey, a service dog who helps U.S. Army veteran Ramon manage his posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The award recognizes Huey’s impact on Ramon’s life, detecting dizzy spells and migraines before they happen and helping the veteran open up to his family about his struggles.
“All of our service dog finalists have made a significant impact for their veterans, but Huey’s story rose to the top for the thousands who voted,” said Ramos. “The Visible Impact Award let us hear first-hand the role PTSD service dogs play, and we know there are more veterans who could benefit from a service dog the way Ramon has. We hope to inspire change so any veteran in need can get the help they deserve.”
The Dog Chow Visible Impact Award recognizes the remarkable impact service dogs have on the lives of military veterans experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Earlier this year, dog lovers nationwide were invited to vote on selected service dog finalists to help select the 2024 recipient of the award.
Meet Huey and Ramon
Struggling to return to civilian life after serving in Iraq, Ramon reached out to Operation Freedom Paws, a California-based service dog training organization committed to saving lives through the connections formed between humans and their service dog. After applying and being approved for the program, Ramon met Huey and they bonded immediately. They then spent the next year in training so the chocolate lab could learn the veteran’s behaviors and areas of need for assistance.
“Huey has saved my life in so many ways over the past six years,” said Ramon, who preferred to not use his last name for this story. “Not only has he helped me manage my PTSD symptoms and helped me become the father and husband I once was, he can detect a dizzy spell is coming on by smelling changes in my body’s chemistry and then stands between my legs to help me balance.”
As the winners of the Visible Impact Award, Huey and Ramon will receive $10,000, and Dog Chow will donate $25,000 to Huey’s training organization, Operation Freedom Paws. Additionally, the brand will donate $75,000 to the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans (ASDPMV), to help train more service dogs.
Dog Chow’s Commitment to Veterans
Dog Chow has supported the military since its founding almost 100 years ago. As part of its commitment to service members, Dog Chow started the Service Dog Salute program in 2018 to highlight the life-changing benefits that service dogs provide to veterans experiencing PTSD. Over the past six years, Dog Chow has donated more than $1 million to service dog organizations to support the care and training of more service dogs for veterans with PTSD at no cost to the veterans.
For more information about Dog Chow’s support of our nation’s veterans, visit DogChow.com/service.
About Nestlé Purina PetCare
Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world’s most trusted and popular pet care products, including Dog Chow, Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 10,000 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 46 million dogs and 68 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition. Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive. Purina is part of Nestlé, a global leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness. For more information, visit purina.com or subscribe here to get the latest Purina news.
About the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans
The Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans (ASDPMV) is a coalition of non-profit service dog providers for military veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma working to prevent suicide and improve military veterans’ mental health. The goal of ASDPMV is to ensure that best practices are utilized by qualified organizations to ensure that veterans are paired with the most beneficial service dogs; increase awareness and understanding of the medical evidence that supports the use of service dogs; and advocate for the expanded use of qualified service dogs.
About Operation Freedom Paws
Operation Freedom Paws’ priority clients are veterans and first-responders whose medical disabilities can be managed or mitigated by using a trained service dog. Applicants have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), mobility limitations, hearing loss, chronic illnesses, and combinations thereof. Most are struggling economically – unemployable because of injuries. They isolate. They have difficulty sleeping, connecting, coping with depression, and maintaining relationships. OFP’s first step is winning their trust. Next, we match a rescued dog. For the next year we teach them together to communicate, manage medical issues, regain independence, reconnect with families and communities, and find hope.
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SOURCE Purina Dog Chow