Rescued from death row by a prison rehabilitation program designed to assist former inmates learn about how to care for themselves and someone else, and reintegrate into society, Gander is a true from rags to riches story. Gander has been given the AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence, and has the thanks of many people that he’s helped keep alive and save over the years.
After the inmate Gander had been paired with was released back into society, she credits him with keeping her alive and focused in a truly trying time for her. After that, gander got further training as a service dog in Colorado. He was given then to Vietnam Vet Lon Hodge.
Hodge suffered through years of PTSD and autoimmune mobility issues. Things like crippling depression, panic attacks and mentally reliving the horrors of war took their toll on Lon. High blood pressure, even at rest, was also another big problem, but within two weeks of being with Gander, things were looking up. His at rest heart rate dropped significantly from 120 beats per minute to 80. A big success. Now, things like social gatherings and interacting with the community are not as hard, and it’s all thanks to Gander.
Lon and Gander have started their own foundation to raise awareness about PTSD and the high rate of suicide amongst veterans. The Service Dog Education and Assistance Foundation’s aim is to show the often life changing effects service and therapy dogs have in the lives of trauma survivors. Together, they have been to over 300 schools, nursing homes and veteran’s gatherings spreading the word to the world.
One could say that Gander has positively affected the lives of many people. Lon knows that every interaction Gander has with someone leaves its mark on them, the same way it did for him. Gander hasn’t just saved his life, but many lives in this process, and Lon couldn’t be prouder of his best mate.
You can get more info on Lon and Gander by visiting their Facebook page. You can even become friends with him there, and get updates on all of his adventures and read stories of just how awesome Gander is. Just click here.