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Chris Dolan & April – Stories About Veterans & Service Dogs

by | Jan 8, 2023

U.S. Army veteran Chris Dolan was deployed three times, once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. After coming home, it was only after a hospitalization that the Army finally diagnosed him with PTSD. Eventually, he learned about service dogs and found Operation Freedom Paws, where he met and trained April. With her by his side Chris is more able to get out of flashbacks, depression and nightmares, and can now navigate a crowd.

The Heal series of videos were done as a multi-media project by artist Vicki Topaz in partnership with Operation Freedom Paws. That chronicles the healing journeys of veterans living with post-traumatic stress and other disabilities who are seeking to cope day-to-day with the help of their highly trained service dogs. HEAL! Illustrates how service dogs empower veterans by helping them find a “new normal” as they adjust to life after service.

22 U.S. veterans commit suicide every day. This statistic does not include servicewomen that have taken their lives.

The Mission:

• Shed light on the invisible wounds of PTS
• Help other Vets learn about service dogs
• Create awareness in our communities
• Build engagement with Vets and non-Vets