Local organization trains service dogs for veterans at no cost

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – A local makes a difference to veterans in Wichita by training service dogs for free. The only money any veteran would have to pay is the registration fee.

Toney Turner is a veteran himself but says he wasn’t a combat veteran and has stayed in the United States.

“Basically, I worked as a paralegal, my health problems weren’t military,” said Toney Turner, who owns Kevlar K-9.

Turner has his own service dog and demonstrated how to be trained to help him with his health problems, which can lead to a seizure or accident. However, he says he really saw the need for veteran service dog training, especially in the Midwest.

“A lot of them have to go to Virginia or the East Coast, and there is a waiting list of two or three years. These dogs do things no pill could ever do. In fact, most of the veterans in our program have typically cut their medication in half, if not three quarters, ”said Turner.

Turner’s organization, Kevlar K-9, officially became a nonprofit in April 2019 and has matched about 10 veterans with a service dog. One of these veterans is Leslie Rooney, who served in the Air Force for four years.

“I’ve seen things that no one should ever see, it really touched me,” Leslie Rooney.

Leslie’s dog is trained to help with both her health problems and her PTSD.

“My legs are starting to shake, so she’s being taught to come in and put her feet on me so I can see she’s there and everything is fine. If we could get more dogs with more veterans, I think the 22 veteran suicides per day would decrease. It’s been a lifeline for me, I don’t know where I would be now if I didn’t have it, “said Rooney.

Another veteran stationed in Iraq says she met Turner at a group meeting in the VA and that her help and service dog changed her life.

“Pairing him with him was a miracle hoping to go public again and do things that I used to do. It’s that hope, ”said Ashley Aimes.

Aimes says she has had her dog for about 15 months and he has also been trained to help her with her PTSD.

“He helps in everyday life. I go to work, I work in the town hall, I love it, everything with him made life better, not perfect, but better, ”said Aimes.

Turner added that they are trying to adopt as many dogs as possible, but some breeders have also donated puppies to help with the cause. Turner says free service dog training is the least he can do for the men and women who have served our country.

If you would like to donate to Kevlar K-9, click HERE. If you are a veteran looking to be mated with a dog, you can visit Turner’s website to contact them.

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