Dog helps veterans help dog

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 --- 8:30pm

It's a heart-warming tale of a pup and her courageous owner.

Currently, the two are thousand of miles away from each other. But both mom and daughter are making a positive difference in the lives of many.

Staff Sergeant Danielle Cook is in the U.S. Air Force. Right now, she's serving in Afghanistan, helping with the flying mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Meanwhile, back here in U.S., her dog, Harper, is passing the time at doggy day care. She spends her days here at “The Dog Den” in Madison.

Like some veterans, Harper shows signs of P.T.S.D. (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Employees at “The Dog Den” saw an opportunity: help Harper help vets, through a program called “Circle of Change.”

"With the “Circle of Change” program, they're able to actually come in they teach these dogs to overcome their behaviors” says Deborah Crawley, an employee at “The Dog Den.”

Then in turn, the dogs can help veterans by providing dog training, developing confidence, and building trust.

"I think it'll be good for her and the veterans” says Alan Cook, Danielle's dad, who is looking after Harper while Danielle is away.

Thursday night, Harper attended her first “Circle of Change” session. And although she's got a ways to go, her puppy persistence will more than pay off in the end.

"There are a lot of veterans who are suffering. So, the more we can help them adjust, the better we'll all be for that” says Alan.

For Danielle, the news of Harper's accomplishments is thrilling.. “This was a total surprise. I am excited to hear about what Harper is doing in Madison. I think it is fantastic the work The Dog Den is doing in supporting our veterans and I'm very proud of Harper” says Danielle.

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