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Hope Lives Here receives donations helping pair rescue dogs with veterans

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 2:53 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Here in Amarillo a vet science program is helping raise funds to give shelter dogs a home, and veterans a companion.

4-H students serve in a Vet Science Program, working to prepare for the Certified Veterinary Technician exam.

One component of the program is obtaining several volunteer service hours working in the community to gain more experience with animals.

Students decided to partner and raise funds for Hope Lives Here , a local nonprofit organization designed to pair rescue dogs with veterans.

Hope Lives Here rescues dogs from animal shelters and matches them with a veteran, to help them ease back into society.

Veteran, James Stafford, is grateful for the support his dog, Zoey, has provided him.

“Hope Lives Here has impacted my life as a veteran because it allows me to have my life back, and it’s been years and years coming back from the wars and having a hard time being intergraded back into society,” says Stafford.

Hope Lives Here believes that the bond between a service dog and a veteran is a bond like no other.

“The great thing about having Zoey is that I always feel like I’m going to have someone is going to have my back, we’re a team, we’re inseparable together, and we spend every second together,” says Stafford.

Two 4-H students, Develynn Hsu and Elizabeth Gates, have enjoyed getting real life experience working with dogs in animal shelters and giving back to this cause.

“My favorite part has been seeing all the animals you’re helping, it’s the most rewarding thing,” says Hsu.

Gates says that if you are interested in joining the program the skills you will gain will help your future career goals.

“The skills that you gain while in the Vet Science Program might help you decide what you want to do in the future as a veterinarian,” says Gates.

4-H Vet Science Program coordinator, Megan Eikner is proud of the efforts made by the students to raise money for this nonprofit.

“When we heard about Hope Lives Here, we definitely knew that this was something we wanted to support for veterans and the animals, I’m proud of the students,” says Eikner.

Students hosted an ‘Imaginary tea party’ sending tea packets and bags to friends and family informing them on the Vet Science program and encouraging them to donate to Hope Lives Here.

The students also visited neighborhoods and businesses in the community to collect cash and spare change raise money for the nonprofit.

4-H Vet Science students pose with Hope Lives Here. 
(Left to right: Megan Eikner, 
Rebecca...
4-H Vet Science students pose with Hope Lives Here. (Left to right: Megan Eikner, Rebecca Rusk, Brooke Schneider, James Stafford, Elizabeth Gates, Develynn Hsu)(KFDA)

The funds raised for Hope Lives Here will go towards providing dog food, blankets/towels, beds, and supplies for the rescue dogs.

Veterans can apply for a dog through the online application and will receive training along with the dog they will be paired with.

“I’m really thankful every day that I have Zoey here and it has really improved my quality of life, she has been a blessing to myself and my family,” says Stafford.

Veteran James Stafford with his dog, Zoey.
Veteran James Stafford with his dog, Zoey.(KFDA)

If you are interested in donating to Hope Lives Here, you can visit their website and view their various donation options.

Stafford says that donations to Hope Lives Here impact lives, “You are directly helping a veteran when you give back to Hope Lives Here, this is making a difference in our daily lives, if it wasn’t for Hope Lives Here, I would definitely be lost right now.”

If you are interested in receiving information about the 4-H Vet Science Program you can contact program coordinator, Megan Eikner, at megan.eikner@ag.tamu.edu.

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