Doug Arbon and his family can’t say enough about how much they’ve enjoyed participating in Warrior Canine Connection’s Mission Based Trauma Recovery (MBTR) training program.
The MBTR training program is unique in that it enlists Service Members and Veterans in recovery to help train service dogs for a fellow Warrior. Those involved in the training benefit from the process along the way, including improved communication skills, improved self-esteem and lower anxiety.
This summer, Doug will medically retire from the Army, a career in which he says he’s been honored to serve in for 15 years active duty and five years as a Reservist. He started his career in the Naval Reserves, then he enlisted in the Army and a few years later he was commissioned as an Officer in the Army. He spent most of his career as a military intelligence officer, so he can’t share many details about the who, what, where or when of his service.
Aside from concerns about life post-military, Doug and his family are also grappling with larger health issues. Both Doug and his son have undergone surgeries for cancer due to a shared rare genetic mutation called SDHB. Doug has also finished radiation treatment for additional cancerous tumors that have grown since his initial surgery. His daughter also wrestles with serious health issues, including debilitating migraines. But Doug says being around the WCC service dogs in training has been a most welcome distraction.
“Since we started the program, we noticed a huge difference when we’re around the dogs,” says Doug. “Just being around them changes our outlook. We feel like we’re giving back a little bit and it really helps to know we’re helping to train these amazing dogs that will go on to serve Veterans and their family members who really deserve them.”
Warrior Canine Connection’s MBTR program is funded, in part, by Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service Trust. The Trust recently provided WCC with a $150,000 grant to support MBTR; this latest grant to WCC brings The Trust’s total support to $350,000 over the past four years.
“We are so thankful to DAV Charitable Trust’s continued support for our programs,” said Rick Yount, founder and executive director, Warrior Canine Connection. “They have been an amazing partner — not just founded on financial support, but a shared philosophy when it comes to improving the lives of our nation’s Veterans.”
The Trust was established for the single purpose of empowering Veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. As part of that mission, the Trust ensures charitable initiatives around the country have the resources they need to benefit our nation’s heroes. That includes programs that provide service dogs to Veterans, including Warrior Canine Connection.
The Arbon family is hoping that once responsible to do so, that they can return to WCC to continue training service dogs for their future placement with fellow Warriors.
“WCC’s program is helping so many Service Members and Veterans, me included,” said Doug. “We’d go back in a heartbeat — we were going once a week and we’ve seen a loss without that connection already. Just being around those dogs has really made a huge impact on our family. There’s a little bit more happiness, a little bit more peace in the family after we see these dogs and have that experience.”
Thank you, DAV Charitable Trust, for your continued support of WCC and our nation’s Veterans. Visit https://cst.dav.org/ to learn more.