GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- On a day when our nation is honoring its veterans, two southern Oregonians are helping veterans every day of the year. We've all heard the saying 'a dog is a man's best friend.' Kristi Rush said that best friend can also be a life saver for military veterans.
"We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide across the country. If we can stop even one of those we're successful and that's our goal. They can actually save [a] veteran’s life," said Rush
Rush runs what she calls 'Service for Soldiers.' Every Saturday morning at the Grants Pass Home Depot, she helps veterans train their own dogs so they can become their service animals.
"I don't charge for it. It's my way of telling them thank you," Rush said.
Raymond Rosa is a military veteran and knows what a service dog can do for others like him.
"The service dog helps me with my anxiety. He gives me something to focus on when I'm having a bad day it's been a real positive for me,” Rosa said.
Since he knows just how beneficial a service animal can be, he started Operation Rambo. The organization helps link veterans with service dogs. He brings little guys like 'dude' to rush's lessons to help get them certified and adopted by veterans in need.
"Service animals give them something to do. They get out of the service they're kind of lost a lot of times. They don't know where to turn and if you have something to take care of, an animal that can help pull you out and give you something to look forward to and take care of," Rosa added.
With some training, Rush and Rosa said that animal can learn to take care of its owner and become a great listener.
"They can talk to their dog. The dogs won't give up any secrets. They don't judge. All they do is love so that's a big benefit for them too," Rush said.
If you would like to get in contact with Kristi Rush about Service For Soldiers, you can text her at this phone number (541) 244-8365.
If you would like to get in contact with Raymond Rosa, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org