Veterans Moving Forward sees increase in veterans requesting service dogs during pandemic

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Pet adoptions have been on the rise during the pandemic, and so has the need for service dogs. 

Veterans Moving Forward, an organization in Sterling that provides service dogs to veterans, said that requests for the dogs have increased. However, due to COVID-19, the organization has not been able to fundraise as it normally would and are lacking funds. 

But this past week, veterinarians in Loudoun County created the Pay-it-Forward (PAW) Fund and donated $1,200 to put towards the purchase of a service dog puppy. 

The organization says that the grant couldn’t have come at a better time.

“If you look at the statistics, there are twenty-two suicides per day that veterans commit,” said Lori Sittner, Chief Operating Officer at Veterans Moving Forward. “PTSD, brain injury…and COVID has set a lot of that off. You have the loneliness and masks. It’s an important program but it’s even more important now because our applications are doubling of veterans who are looking for a service dog.” 

The PAW Fund also donated $11,200 to animal welfare non-profits in the county. 

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