“We knew about Leashes of Valor, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit last March that our lives slowed down enough to become fosters. We got our first puppy, Gordy, on Cinco De Mayo. As soon as he was old enough for a vest, we took him everywhere. Right now, we have Patton. When we go out, people ask us if it’s an LOV dog. They say they can pick them out anywhere because they are so well-behaved. I tell them they came this way. The dogs from Hero Labradors have a sunny disposition and are easy to train.

“We don’t have a direct military connection, but the military is very much a part of our culture where we live. I’m also a big proponent of mental health awareness and support. In today’s world, we need to address it and be more open. There’s still a ways to go. But that’s why I think Leashes of Valor is so awesome. Dogs and animals in general bring a sense of peace and calmness, but also purpose. I love following the Veterans that go to the farm and seeing the difference it makes in their lives.

“One of the things Juli, an LOV trainer, said to us is it’s hard for fosters to give the dogs up after spending so much time with them. But when you think about the people they are going to and the perils they’ve been through, you’re more OK with it. You know that this animal may save someone’s life. That’s what we explain to our kids. This dog is going to go on and do bigger and better things than we can even imagine.”