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Service canine to be donated to veteran

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The Fallen Soldiers March will this year be presenting a local veteran with an un-fur-gettable companion. Meet Glory.

Glory, a mobility PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Service Dog is currently in training to be gifted in to a U.S. Veteran living in Middle Tennessee at 10 a.m. on Saturday Sept. 17 at the Wilson County Veterans Monument. Fallen Soldiers March President Jim Retzke said the 501 (c) (3) nonprofit is now accepting online applications.

Glory is being trained in Florida by Ken Lyons, an expert in the field. Retzke said Service Dogs typically cost $30,000 to train - and thanks to a partnership with Lyons the FSM will be able to donate Glory to a Veteran in Middle Tennessee.

According to Lyons, a trainer has to devote "thousands of hours" to properly train the dogs.

"Most of the intense training takes place 6 to 12 months before graduation with a professional trainer, usually paid $10 to $30 an hour, four hours a day with each dog," he explained in a 2015 article. "This paid labor time is the bulk of the cost for service dogs, as there are so few qualified trainers."

At the completion of her training, Glory will be able to perform between 60 to 120 tasks such as turning on and off a light switch and opening the refrigerator door.

Retzke said in addition to her mobility services, Glory will have a soothing effect on her new owner.

"Have you ever seen a dog around someone who is stressed out? Just petting and spending time with animals is calming. Animals can recognize and sense things that human beings cannot," he said.

Retzke said his long term dream is to open a Fallen Soldiers March Ranch - to allow for more Service Dogs to be trained and available to the men and women who need them.

"There is a very high demand and not a lot of supply," he explained, noting that we would also like to provide Biblical-based counseling services to Veterans and their family members.

Applicants must be United States Military Veterans residing in Middle Tennessee. To apply visit www.fallensoldiersmarch.com.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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