The creation of The Battle Buddy Foundation….
Kenny Bass- “When this mission started, the entire goal was to raise enough funds to get a service dog for myself. Along the way, early on in this journey, I began and continue to meet so many different people that have made sacrifices in some way or another to help me. This has really given me a sense of value and pride which has caused me to change my focus and goals. This has evolved from only seeking one dog to help one veteran into helping to accomplish something bigger than just myself. After we finish raising the funds for Atlas, my Battle Buddy, I want to continue on and begin to help other veterans that are in the same position I was at the beginning of this journey. To accomplish this, myself, and a small group of friends/supporters have come together, and we are currently working towards creating a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization designed to help pair veterans with service dogs, treat Veterans suffering with PTSD, treat the addictions that often accompany PTSD, work with the local Veterans courts to assist with diversion/treatment programs, as well as promote the reintegration of these Combat Veterans back into society, and the work force.”
The Battle Buddy Foundation will offer treatment for Post Traumatic Stress through individual, group, and marital counseling at our TBBF Centers. We will have a separate program with a special focus on service dog placement. We will also work with local Veteran’s Courts to assist with diversion/treatment programs. The Battle Buddy Foundation will work to remove the stigma associated with Post Traumatic Stress on a national level, educate the public, and help guide our nation’s wounded Veterans to the needed resources. We are currently working to build the infrastructure to implement a service dog breeding and training program. It is designed to include the veteran in his/her service dog’s training, and maximize the service team’s bond early on in the development and training stages. All of the service dogs will be placed with the veterans after 8 weeks of age, and will train and prepare for the certification training/testing that will take place on the service dog’s 1st birthday. All of the service dog teams will meet for a week of intense training, ending with full service dog certifications. Individual follow up, and further training will be conducted periodically.
Kenny Bass is a disabled Marine combat veteran from the Iraq War. He served with the Marine infantry, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, for the first 8 months of the war in 2003. On July 20th 2003, he was wounded during a counter-ambush patrol, where he was hit with an IED. He has suffered PTSD, hearing loss, and multiple other physical injuries due to his combat service since 2004. He was diagnosed with Behcet’s Disease in 2007 that has been linked to his anthrax and smallpox vaccinations. The Behcet’s Disease destroys his blood vessels by inflammation which causes him to suffer severe arthritic joint pain, chronic fatigue, neuropathy, painful sores, migraines, and multiple other debilitating symptoms. In Behcet’s Disease, both arteries and veins are affected and can be fatal, due to ruptured vascular aneurysms or severe neurological complications.
He has spent the last 9 years of his life in treatment for his PTSD, in individual, group, and family counseling among other PTSD treatments, as well as the treatment for Behcet’s Disease. He has been prescribed a PTSD service dog that will enable him to further his battle with PTSD, continue rebuilding his life, and assist with his physical struggles due to Behcets. The Battle Buddy Foundation will utilize this personal experience to help the organization be as effective as possible in the veteran community.
The Battle Buddy Foundation has been working with multiple service dog organizations, including Mike Hare, Marine Vietnam Veteran, and owner of Instinctive Guardians in New York. The service dogs available through Instinctive Guardians are West German Shepherd with championship show lines. Presently, the available service dogs at Instinctive Guardians are the grandchildren of West German Show champion Odin Vom Holtkamper Hof, and Hill Vom Ferbenspiel. The grandfather, Odin, is the 2005 18-24 month Sieger VA1, 2008 VA2, and the 2008 Chinese Sieger VA1. The grandmother, Hill, is the 2004 Sieger VA2. These German Shepherds not only receive the (CGC) Canine Good Citizen training, but also the (AD) Assistance Dog certification.
These psychological service dogs spend years in training and are very expensive. Now that he is paired with a psychological service dog, he will be able retrain himself to live a functional life in a civilian setting (through the aid of Atlas, his service dog) and learn to lead more of a normal life again, not only for himself but for his wife and two young children. Atlas is trained to assist in bringing him out of flashbacks and help keep him grounded in reality, Atlas would wake him when Kenny is having nightmares, And Atlas especially helps him when Kenny is in public or ‘high stress’ situations (Kenny tended to get overwhelmed and angry), Atlas assists in not only creating a buffer around him in crowds, and allowing him to feel more secure, but most importantly, Atlas breaks Kenny’s tendencies/habits towards ‘isolation’ and gives Kenny the support and motivation to tackle obstacles that were formally perceived as unobtainable. Atlas, a Post Traumatic Stress Service Dog, is giving Kenny and his family their lives back. We know first-hand at The Battle Buddy Foundation how much of a difference a Service Dog can make in wounded veteran’s lives!
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