Canine Program at Clear Path for Veterans accepted into coalition

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CHITTENANGO — The Canine Program at Clear Path for Veterans, established nearly a decade ago, was accepted into the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans on June 30. The ASDPMV is a coalition of non-profit service dog providers for military veterans working to prevent suicide and improve Veterans’ mental health.

Since its inception, the Clear Path for Veterans Canine Program staff has consistently maintained high standards and continues to raise the bar for growth and advancement, officials said. In 2017, the program took a major shift, with the introduction of a Puppy Development Program, aimed at raising and training purpose-bred Labrador retrievers to become service dogs for veterans with military-related post-traumatic-stress, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma.

The program enhancement came about in response to the growing need for service dogs for our nation’s veterans, the Clear Path for Veterans announcement said.

According to the ASDPMV website, “our goal is to ensure that best practices are utilized by qualified organizations to ensure that veterans are paired with the most beneficial service dogs; increase awareness and understanding of the medical evidence that supports the use of service dogs, and advocate for the expanded use of qualified service dogs.”

As a member organization, Clear Path for Veterans hopes to contribute to this mission by sharing best practices across the nation with other like-minded programs. The local canine program is one of the few programs in the country that have completed a study showing results of its training program correlated with the mitigation of symptoms related to post-traumatic stress. This study, officials said, indicates that participants of the Canine Program had higher self-compassion, increased quality of life, and decreased perceived stress.

“It’s time for Clear Path to go beyond the borders of New York State with its world-class programming,” said Program Director Ryan Woodruff. “There are too many veterans out there that could benefit from these services and it is our duty to serve them. Furthermore, it is our pleasure to serve those who have served, and the least we could do as a supportive nation.”

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