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Congressman John Larson

Representing the 1st District of Connecticut

Connecticut Delegation Applauds Grant to Place Service Dogs with Wounded Veterans

September 29, 2015
Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Reps. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Jim Himes (CT-04), and Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) announced over $100,000 in federal funds has been awarded to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in Bloomfield, CT to place service dogs with wounded veterans. This award from the U.S. Department of Defense will go towards the training of two German Shepherds to be placed with visually impaired veterans in the next 12 months. Fidelco will also continue outreach to wounded veterans in need of service dogs.

“Our veterans risk and sacrifice so much,” said Larson. “It is our moral imperative to ensure they receive all the support they need when they come home. I commend the DOD and Fidelco for their continued commitment to our wounded warriors. These service dogs have an incredible impact on the lives of our veterans, allowing them greater independence and freedom.”

“Trained service dogs offer life-changing assistance for wounded and visually impaired veterans, allowing for independence and mobility that may otherwise have been out of reach,” said Blumenthal. “This federal award is a small recognition of Fidelco’s longtime commitment to our nation’s veterans, and the outstanding work they do to provide service dogs to those in need. Our nation remains in deep debt to our wounded veterans, and I will continue to fight as Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to ensure that we honor their service and sacrifice by providing them every support they need to live full and productive lives.”

“I commend the Department of Defense for its commitment to serving wounded veterans, including providing service dogs to veterans in need,” said Murphy. “The German Shepherds trained by Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in Bloomfield will help these wounded veterans recover, regain independence, and reconnect with their loved ones.”

“One of the most important responsibilities we have as a nation is to care for the brave men and women who have served in uniform after they return home,” said Courtney. “The Fidelco service dogs will support independent living for Connecticut wounded warriors, and I look forward to seeing this partnership continue in the future.”

“We have long known the benefits of service dogs who help individuals with physical disabilities, but we are now seeing the transformative effects specially trained dogs can have on our nation’s veterans,” DeLauro said. “The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation is committed to providing lifetime of care through a strong partnership between these canines and the men and women who have served our country. I am a proud supporter of this program, which helps veterans with increased mobility and independence, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and I look forward to seeing the great work Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation will do in Connecticut thanks to this award.”

“Our veterans deserve the best care and services we can provide, but too often the system has let them down,” said Himes. “Often, the scars that they bear are not just physical, but also emotional and psychological.  These service dogs can provide help when it’s needed to make the chores of day-to-day living easier for the wounded warriors who need the help and provide companionship that’s beneficial to their health.”

“We have a duty to honor the commitments we made to our veterans who have sacrificed so much in service to our country,” Esty said. “We ought to do all we can to ensure that our service members have access to the best available care. I applaud the DOD on its commitment to supporting our veterans. These funds will go a long way to improve the quality of life for our visually impaired veterans that receive service dogs.” 

The Fidelco Guide Dog “Share the Vision for Service Members and Veterans” program is dedicated to creating successful partnerships between veterans and service dogs. Fidelco oversees every stage of the training process from early development to formalized guide dog instruction. Their comprehensive application process ensures optimal placements for each veteran and service dog.