Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boesen, Iowa Army National Guard
I currently serve in the Iowa Army National Guard as the Director of Operations for Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center in Johnston, Iowa. I have served in the active Army and the National Guard for 27 years, which has included three deployments. My first deployment was to the Sinai, Egypt in support of the Multinational Force Observers (MFO) Peacekeeping Mission Rotation 45 from 2003- 2004 and two tours to Eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (2007-2008; 2010-2011).
I have seen first hand the debilitating effect of the invisible injuries from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in addition to mobility impairments from loss of limbs from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) strikes, indirect fire detonations and combat in general. These injuries tend to be horrific in nature, but some are not. Many of our veterans suffer severe musculoskeletal injuries from wearing body armor, weapons and ammunition that can weigh in excess of 70 lbs for extended periods of time.
I have been an active participant in Puppy Jake Foundation since its inception in early 2013. Puppy Jake Foundation (PJF) is an extremely professional and excellently run non-profit organization dedicated to helping wounded warriors back in the States. Regaining a ‘normal life’ for veterans is a real gift to those that have served, sacrificed and fought so bravely for the freedoms we enjoy in America. PJF does not charge the veteran recipients for the professionally trained service dog, nor the 14-day placement camp, which works with the wounded warrior to teach them how to care for and learn the skills their newly acquired dog.
There are many benefits of a well-trained service dog for a disabled veteran. Many of the warriors I have served with are now able to leave the confines of their home and enjoy somewhat normal lives with their families. This is all made possible by the local communities working with the volunteers of the PJF, who are dedicated to the mission of providing expertly trained service dogs to give back to our disabled veterans.
Margaret Hough, Executive Assistant to the Governor’s Office
Puppy Jake Foundation service dogs are frequent visitors to the Office of the Governor and I have also had the opportunity to go many places with the PJF dogs in training for lunch and social events. The service dogs are so well behaved; at times I almost forget they are with us. Their character traits and skills are demonstrated whenever I see them.
Puppy Jake and the other service dogs in training are working their very hardest to make Des Moines and Iowa a better place for our wounded military veterans. I am so impressed with PJF dogs and proud to know they will forever change the lives of veteran heroes that have given so much for our freedom.