This post was first published on the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System’s website.
Meet Honor, an 18-month-old female golden retriever that will report for duty at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in early January.
Therapetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma, a non-profit organization in Tulsa, trained Honor as a facility/PTSD service dog and recently donated her to the medical center. Facility dogs are specifically selected for their soft disposition and mild temperament and extensively trained in obedience and working commands.
Honor will visit Veterans upon request and make regular visits to units such as the chemotherapy/infusion clinic, inpatient mental health and hospice/palliative care.
Terri Woodworth, who works in social work service, adopted Honor and recently completed service dog handler training with her.
“She’ll be here every day that I’m here,” said Woodworth, who is also a volunteer with Lab Rescue OK, Inc. and has more than 10 years of experience fostering and training dogs. “I will be her handler and mom and she will be part of my family to share with Veterans.”
Honor suffered an injury at birth and has lived with a prosthetic leg ever since. She is currently getting acclimated to a new prosthetic and will then begin serving Veterans on a full-time basis.
“She couldn’t be a normal service dog because of her disability,” said Woodworth. “As a facility dog, she will be able to visit our Veterans and also rest throughout the day.”
While she may have physical limitations, Woodworth said there is no limit to the love she can give to those who are in need.
“She has a special ability to sense when people need her,” she said. “She picks up on people’s emotions really well. I really think Honor is going lift the spirits of our Veterans, especially those who have been hospitalized for a long time.”