On this 22-acre property, Working Dogs For Vets started building an accessible house for veterans with physical limitations.
“If it wasn’t for this cabin,” Cunningham said, “I wouldn’t be able to do this. I couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel for however long it takes. They’ve thought of it all.”
Working Dogs for Vets had plans to build additional lodging; the pandemic put that on pause.
“Unfortunately, the donations have been way down,” explained Knabenshue.
Even still Working Dogs For Vets refuses to charge for services as these men and women have already paid so much. Hearing their stories pushes them to face financial adversity head on.
“People ask me why I do it. How can you not do it?” Knabenshue asked.
A steady stream of comrades calls on Working Dogs For Vets, all hoping to don dog tags again as they assign new service dogs with the help of teams training each animal to care for the needs of their vet.
“I had a grenade go off…took my hand off instantly. Gangrene in the leg,” recalled Army veteran Richard Smith.
“When I drop stuff, he picks it up for me,” said Smith.
“I did the first Gulf War and came home and was hit by a drunk driver,” explained Navy veteran Lonn Cunningham who is confined to his wheelchair with the use of only one arm.
“He can open doors,” explained Cunningham.
“I depend on her so much because I can’t hear,” added Pam Douglas, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam.
While it comes naturally for Knabenshue to help, asking for it isn’t as easy. This is why these veterans sing his praises.
“I’d do anything in the world for Ken and Brenda because they brought me into a place in my life that I never knew could have existed,” Smith said.
They speak up with the hope others will donate because, they say, you’re saving lives at both ends of the leash.
“Oh my God. How does that not move you?” asked Cunningham. “To save a veteran. To save a dog. Do it for one or the other. Do it for both.”
If you would like to contribute to Working Dogs for Vets CFC #373220
More info can be found at www.workingdogsforvets.org