Faces in the Crowd: Becky Flanagan
A local veteran is making it her duty to help those who served our country get the help they need by training a service dog for them.
Becky Flanagan is an Army combat veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm. When she saw the toll that the effects of war took on her army comrades, she decided to take action.
Flanagan says, “22 veterans a day commit suicide, around there, and so we are fighting veteran suicide with dogs.”
She founded the nonprofit Super Dogs for Super Heroes a few years ago. With a mission to match rescue dogs with veterans and to assist in training a veteran’s own dog to become the best fit for their needs.
“They are making the lives of their veterans, much much better, you know, they are able to do things that they otherwise would not be able to do,” says Flanagan.
Becky has been training dogs for many years and has trained dogs to be of service to disabled veterans — turning rescue dogs into service dogs.
Vets must do the training with the dog, who eventually learns tasks to be able to help mitigate the disability. But as Becky explains, some disabilities cannot be seen by the eye.
“And it’s very interesting. I’ll run into veterans who only have one leg or they have an arm missing or those types of things, and still their priority is still a P.T.S.D. dog.”
Becky also helps place dogs as pets, often times a canine companion will get the veteran out for exercise and social experiences — giving them a loyal friend they can count on.
She has adopted dogs from the Humane Society of the Black Hills for the program.
“Veterans need to know that there are people that care — there are organizations that care and they are available to them.”
Super Dogs for Super Heroes always takes donations. Click here for more information on Super Dogs for Super Heroes.