May 16, 2018 Updated 8 min ago
Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley was putting together a community services guide after the police station received a mental health planning grant. Brinkley said they partner with local services and he reached out to FAVA to make sure veterans are not underserved.
The Brinkley family with Battle Buddy Bravo. (from left) Eli, 14, Lisa, Bravo, Jeff and Abi, 12.FOREST CITY | On Saturday, May 5, Forest City residents got to meet the second wave of Battle Buddies, Bravo and Zulu, 12-week-old Labrador puppies, who are in training as service dogs for wounded military veterans.
The puppies were at the Deployment with FAVA 4K Walk, Run, Salute! held at Pilot Knob State Park. The event raised funds for a matching grant program.
The pups, named after the military alphabet, have been placed with host families and have begun their 1 1/2- to 2-year training program. The third puppy, Oscar, and the fourth, Jackson, named after a military base like his predecessors, three years ago, were sent to a partner training facility in the state of Washington, since finding training families can be difficult.
“It is a huge commitment,” said Amanda Eldridge, Battle Buddies coordinator at Family Alliance for Veterans of America (FAVA) in Forest City. “Consistency is super important. Sometimes, people are harder to train than their dogs.”
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