Learn about local efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and train a dog to benefit a disabled veteran
Posted at 12:40 a.m. on Sunday, October 16, 2022
NEDERLAND – An injured dog that was on a euthanasia list until a month ago has a new chance at life and a new purpose after recovery.
This new life path will lead the dog to special training and a new owner who is a disabled veteran.
Dog groomer/rescuer Renee Norris of Pucci Chateau in the Netherlands and long-time veteran and trainer BJ Land work together to help dog and a veteran.
The dog, a Belgian Malinois, receives medical care at neighborhood veterinary centers, or CNVs.
A gofundme account called “Sweet Malinois Needs Your Help” is set up to collect donations to cover veterinary expenses, food and supplies.
Norris said the dog was picked up by the Port Arthur Animal Service and must be euthanized unless claimed. The dog had been hit by a car and suffered a broken hip and pelvis and a bad injury. NVC’s Dr. Brady Hanson took the dog in for treatment.
“He’s such a nice guy,” Norris said of the dog. “He will make an exceptional emotional support dog. I see him at lunch and he crawls on my lap. He is a very good candidate for a veteran in need.
Once the dog is cured, he will go to Norris who will take care of him as Land begins to work with him.
“I love it,” she said when asked what it felt like to save the dog knowing he would have a good home and be partnered with a veteran.
This isn’t the first dog Norris has rescued. She found other dogs to rescue and helped them find good homes.
Land, 75, trained his first dog for competition when he was 8 years old.
“I’m a combat veteran and I know what guys go through,” Land said. “There are resources today that we didn’t have when I came back from Vietnam.”
Land works with two disabled veterans in training their German Shepherds. These dogs will learn to pull wheelchairs and pick up items for owners, among other things.
Since the Malinois was hit by a car, he will be limited in what he can do physically, so the dog will be trained strictly for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Land said post-traumatic stress isn’t new and has been called out in different ways over the years. During World War II, it was called Battle Fatigue or the person who suffered from it would be “gun shy”, where they would be traumatized by hearing a loud noise, he said.
When a person has a panic attack, there is a chemical reaction in the body, similar to depression or even epilepsy. The dog can be trained to sense the change and help the owner, he said.
Land said that when alerted, the dog will crave the owner’s attention and if the owner pays attention to the dog, he will forget the trigger.
Land said it’s something he learned when he returned home after three tours of Southeast Asia. When something bothered him, he distracted himself, thus forgetting what bothered him.
Training the dogs for other veterans is Land’s way of giving back, he said.
“When we came back from Vietnam, we were called baby killers. We were criminals. We were spat on. We were thrown garbage,” he said. ‘they crossed over and I won’t let that happen to those who come back.”
Click here for the GoFundMe