MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - One Colorado-based organization that gives free service dogs to veterans is in the Basin this week.
They're called Freedom Service Dogs of America and they brought along their service dog ambassador, Cargo, to raise awareness of what they do.
Cargo is one of the many rescued dogs under Freedom Service Dogs of America. They transform rescued dogs into customized trained service dogs. Once they're trained to meet their client's needs, they are given to them completely free. Most of these clients are veterans.
"Our veterans have sacrificed so much," said Freedom Service Dogs Development Director, Lindsay Ganassa. "When they come back from their service, it's hard to adjust back to civilian life."
Cargo, like the other service dogs, went through a long process of training which can take seven to 10 months. They learn to perform tasks that some disabled vets aren't able to do like turning off a light, picking up items or even opening a door. But importantly, they're there to ease the feeling of anxiety and loneliness.
"These dogs, not only these dogs, helping them with physical needs but helping them get back into society, to feel more comfortable in their community to hold down jobs, to be reintegrated with their families, hold on jobs so many benefits that these dogs provide," said Ganassa.
Cargo retired when his owner passed, but he's now the face of the organization as their service dog ambassador, or "ambassadog." He's traveling around the country to visit with veterans. You can find him in Midland this week showing others dogs like him aren't just dogs but a supportive companion and loving friend.
Freedom Service Dogs will be at:
Thursday: Midland County Courthouse at 4 p.m. and the MGM Grande at 6 p.m.
Saturday: Heroes in Heels at the Horseshoe Arena 12-6 p.m.