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Two veterans will gain new canine companions

Goshen News - 7/12/2022

Jul. 12—INDIANAPOLIS — The American Legion, Department of Indiana presented a check for $25,000 to the Indiana Canine Assistance Network at the Indianapolis Marriott East during a recent formal presentation.

Their gift will enable the service dog organization to provide two deserving Indiana veterans with their own service dog free of cost.

The highly trained canines will perform tasks for these veterans living with combat-related challenges, to empower them to return to civilian life with pride and independence, according to a news release.

The legion's support follows on the heels of ICAN's recent merger announcement with Our Turn to Serve, a not-for-profit organization in Fort Wayne that provides service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma.

"We believe that there is nothing more important than caring for wounded veterans who protect our way of life," Indiana Legion Commander Mark Gullion said. "It is our hope that these service animals will help these veterans for many years to come."

As part of the recent merger, ICAN will adopt Our Turn to Serve's process of training shelter dogs, as opposed to using purebreds, for the veteran placement. Just like with a breeding program, the shelter dogs must meet certain criteria to be considered service dog candidates. ICAN will review the dog's health history, age, temperament and physical traits before accepting the canine to the training program.

"With this gift, we really are saving four souls," ICAN President Jillian Ashton said. "We are helping two shelter dogs find homes, and we are helping two American heroes find companionship."

In addition to serving veterans, ICAN also places service dogs with Hoosiers who need support for mobility, diabetes, autism and more.

Currently, ICAN has 120 active service dog partnerships throughout Indiana — 7% of those are partnered with veterans.


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