Muskogee VFW Trains Veteran Service Animals For Free

Ace is a service dog in training, and his owner, James Pranger, is teaching Ace how to alert him when he's struggling to breathe or experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

Thursday, November 2nd 2023, 9:27 pm



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Every Wednesday at 2 p.m., the Muskogee VFW post invites dogs and their owners for a training class.

It teaches them how to get the dogs certified as service animals.

Dogs bring joy with their wagging tails and constant companionship, but they can also serve a greater purpose.

Ace is a service dog in training, and his owner, James Pranger, is teaching Ace how to alert him when he's struggling to breathe or experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

The training is made possible because of Alex Snodgrass. He teaches veterans like James how to train their service dogs.

"Each dog is unique,” said James Pranger, a veteran. “Each dog has a different job."

If a veteran is in need of a service animal, Alex says he helps the vet find a dog and train it, free of charge. That has taken the stress off of James and his wife Teri.

"It's wonderful and people don't realize how expensive it is to get a service dog trained,” Terri said. “Local organizations in Tulsa quoted us at 8,000 and above."

"I am a firm believer, if a veteran is going to get a second chance, why can't a dog?" Alex said.

He's dedicated to helping alleviate the medical struggles vets face because he knows what it's like.

"Afghanistan, Iraq, Cossovo, few other little places. For my PTSD and anxiety, if I have an attack, the dog will pull me out of the situation,” said Alex.

He's passing on tactics like blocking and covering to James and many others.

“Veterans don't like when someone walks behind them. The dog goes to cover, which you are putting a barrier between them and you, and most general people are not going to try to walk up on a dog,” he said.

The dogs learn the tactics and put them to use. Walking by a veteran's side to make their journey through life easier and cuter.

"This is a lifesaver, literally a lifesaver," Terri said.

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