Craig VFW, nonprofit reach out to veterans to receive PTSD service dogs
A nonprofit organization will be visiting Craig with mission is to provide free, highly-trained service dogs to veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
Frank Griggs, founder of Veteran’s Puppy for Life, will be at 7 p.m. at Craig’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, 419 E. Victory Way. Light refreshments will be served for the event.
Griggs plans to give a short presentation on his nine-month training program that seeks to develop unbreakable bonds between his pure-bred canines and veterans.
“The program does work,” Griggs said. “It helps individuals who have PTSD have a life again. They can go out again and learn to cope easier because the dog tells them something’s going on. Listening to the dog is the key.”
Much of Griggs’ training program for Craig or Moffat County veterans will be online with several evaluations throughout the months-long process to ensure a strong bond between vets and their new best friend.
“We’ve graduated 46 since we started in 2016,” Griggs said. “…We have another 25 in the program right now.”
Griggs’ own struggle with PTSD from his time in the Marine Corps spawned his nonprofit.
“I’ve lived with PTSD since 1969,” Griggs said. “I know what it does to families. I know what it does to individuals.”
But with some dedication and about an hour of homework per week, Griggs is offering Moffat County veterans a chance to end the isolation often caused by PTSD and take their lives back with the help of a puppy
“The puppy becomes the tool to get them to start communicating with people again,” Griggs said.
Ron Epplin, Craig VFW quartermaster, said he’s thankful Griggs is coming to Moffat County and he hopes a new generation of Moffat County veterans will attend Friday’s puppy presentation.
“It’s so very important for our generation of veterans to continue to reach out to the younger vets to help prevent any of the isolation that far too many of us have lived with the last 50 years,” Epplin said. “We are so very thankful for Frank and people like him who are taking caring words into action.”
Griggs pointed out his dogs are bought from quality breeders and are not shelter dogs, who often have their own problems with PTSD. Despite each dog’s cost, Griggs doesn’t charge veterans for a lifetime of possible alleviation from PTSD.
“It costs us right around $4,000 per dog,” Griggs said. “We don’t charge the veteran anything.”
Donations to Griggs’ nonprofit can be made at vetpuppyforlife.org.
Griggs had a message for those suffering from PTSD who might be hesitant to attend.
“They have the ability to touch hearts,” Griggs said of his puppies. “That’s why our motto is ‘helping to heal wounded souls one puppy at a time.’”
Moffat County residents were in a giving mood Friday, Sept. 13 as they turned out to Yampa Valley Bank to help Moffat County United Way kick off its 2020 campaign.