KOTA Cares: Super Dogs for Super Heroes is committed to helping veterans lead healthy lives

Updated: Jul. 20, 2023 at 6:00 AM CDT
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STURGIS, S.D. (KOTA) - They say dogs are man’s best friend but for some people having a dog provides more than just companionship and comfort, their canine friend gives them the freedom to live their lives.

This week’s KOTA Cares is Super Dogs for Super Heroes and their mission is to pair service dogs with veterans.

According to a study done by the American Medical Association, veterans paired with service dogs experience fewer substance abuse issues. Additionally, they are less likely to be affected by mental health conditions like PTSD.

Massey, a service dog, is trained to alert to potential threats, allowing veteran and founder of Super Dogs for Super Heroes Becky Flanagan to feel more confident when she goes out.

“I was like I don’t have to worry about this, he’s got it. That grants freedom to not have to worry about your environment so much. It’s tiring to do that you know,” said Flanagan on why she values having Massey in her life.

From opening doors to easing anxiety, service dogs are trained to do it all and often help people lead fuller and more independent lives.

Many of the dogs that find a home with the non-profit are rescued from shelters.

“We look for those dogs that get passed up and that are gems,” added Flanagan. “It’s not just me that likes rescue dogs and there are so many of them out there and it’s fun to save two lives at one time.”

Since 2017, Super Dogs for Super Heroes has trained and paired more than 10 dogs with veterans in need. They have another 3 in training, a process that can take up to 2 years to fully complete.

To donate to this week’s KOTA Cares, click here.