Paws for Peace is a program sponsored by Maine's Embrace A Vet organization that gives veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder a chance to train with a service dog at no charge. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Paws for Peace is a program sponsored by Maine’s Embrace A Vet organization that gives veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder a chance to train with a service dog at no charge. SUBMITTED PHOTO

YORK COUNTY—This time of year, many charitable organizations make appeals to the public for donations to help a good cause.

Here in Maine, Embrace A Vet is a non-profit state veterans service organization dedicated to supporting veterans and their caregivers through the challenges of Post Traumatic Stress (PTSd) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

Through healing retreats and a dynamic service dog program EAV is meeting the critical needs of our wounded veterans and their families.

Embrace A Vet was founded by Joy Johnson, who recently passed away and was a tireless advocate for veteran families.

EAV continues to fulfill that mission, to provide direct and supportive services to Maine veterans and their families living with the symptoms of PTS(d) and/or TBI through the work of a dedicated group of volunteers and community leaders.

Through participation in health and wellness retreats and/or a highly successful service dog program, many veterans living here are finding their way back to normal.

The holiday season brings hope and joy for many of us. Unfortunately, veterans struggling with PTS and TBI often feel more disconnected and lost this time of year. EAV’s Paws for Peace offers a way for veterans to reconnect with their families, friends and their communities by teaching them to train their own service dogs through a comprehensive 16-week program provided at no cost to veterans.

After a comprehensive screening by canine training specialists North Edge K9, dogs are adopted from local shelters and other facilities, giving them a new home and a new “leash” on life.

Both veteran and service dog work as a team with a renewed sense of honor, purpose and determination. Beyond basic service dog behavior, each veteran selects at least two special tasks for the dog to address specific needs including medication reminders, soothing anxiety attacks, retrieving dropped items, creating personal space behind the veteran, and many others.

Hope and healing are the hallmarks of EAV and, with the help of generous donors, they are grateful to provide this crucial service to our Maine veteran community.

EAV is a 501(c) (3) incorporated in the State of Maine and all programs are provided without cost to the veterans and their families.

To make a donation, visit embraceavet.org