Injured Army Veteran Has Independence With Service Dog Raised by Veterans Moving Forward

Dulles, Va. (Nov 1, 2017The phrase, “It Takes A Village” is often used to describe the process of raising children. Today, it proves equally applicable to service dogs. Dutch, a black Labrador/Golden Retriever mix raised by volunteers with Veterans Moving Forward (VMF), is preparing to join his lifetime owner, Dale Coski, in Denver, Colorado. It took quite a few people to make it happen.

More than 40 volunteers over the last two years have been involved in raising Dutch into a service dog. The group includes the breeder who provided Dutch, the volunteer who recruited Dutch’s raiser, Dutch’s raiser, his many sitters, trainers with Veterans

Moving Forward, the animal hospital caregivers who provided Dutch’s care (at a large discount), the volunteer canine training team who matched Dutch to Dale, the people at United Airlines who will oversee Dutch’s travel, the donors who provided funding for Dutch’s training, the volunteers who handled finances related to Dutch’s training, and many more.

Coski is a Cold War Veteran. She was an Army Sargent in the Army Security Agency (ASA) as a highly skilled translator/interpreter. Her position, which required top-secret clearance, was essential to U.S. Cold War efforts. Coski was a part of the last group of women who received the Women’s Army Corps insignia. Coski was seriously injured on the job as a Denver Police officer in 1983. The accident left her as a quadriplegic. She recently retired after 29.5 years as the operations coordinator in the Human Rights Community Relations Department for the City of Denver. Today, Coski is an active volunteer with Denver’s Disability Parking Enforcement program, so mobility is a critical need. She has used service dogs since 1984 to assist her in maintaining her independence. Dutch will help Coski retrieve objects she may drop or need; push handicap door buttons; give a cashier money for items she has purchased; and many other tasks that ensure Coski’s continued independence.

“It was clear from the beginning that there was a connection between Dale and Dutch,” said VMF’s Assistant Director of Canine Operations, Suzanne Ager, continuing, “Dale had the first service dog ever in Colorado, and is an incredible advocate warrior for service dog rights, so we’re incredibly honored that she selected VMF and Dutch for her next service dog.”

Veteran’s Moving Forward is looking for more volunteers, especially those interested in raising a puppy into a service dog like Dutch. If you are interested in helping a puppy serve a higher purpose, visit the website at www.vetsfwd.org/raise-a-puppy or contact VMF’s Director of Canine Operations, Michele Khol at mkhol@vetsfwd.org.

About Veterans Moving Forward
Founded in 2010, Veterans Moving Forward, Inc. is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit organization that provides service dogs and canine therapy services to veterans with physical and/or mental health challenges, at no cost to the veteran. Our vision is to be a leading source of service dogs and canine therapy services to veterans who have physical and/or mental health challenges; to make a meaningful difference in their lives; and increase their safety and independence within their homes and communities.

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