Wisconsin Patriots K9 help Green Bay veteran

WAUSAU, Wisconsin (WSAW) – The Wisconsin Patriot K9 helps veterans across the state.

The Patriot K9’s is a nonprofit organization that provides psychiatric assistance dogs to disabled veterans with PTSD, head trauma, and military sexual trauma.

“We work with disabled veterans of all ages, from veterans coming out of active service to Vietnamese-era veterans as well,” said Lani Rethaber, executive director of the Wisconsin Patriot K9, “ages 24 to 80.”

Some of the dogs are owned by veterans and others are part of the K9 acquisition program which purchases puppies from qualified breeders. Dogs are trained for a year and then placed with a veteran for the 24 week service dog course.

“Dogs are responsible for being trained to help each individual’s disability. Some veterans don’t want to go out in public, so the dogs are trained to help them out in public, ”said Rethaber.

Scot Miller travels from Green Bay to Wausau every Wednesday to train his dog Buddy with the help of the Wisconsin Patriot K9s. Miller served in the United States Army right out of high school. He attended the Army Aviation School and was sent overseas to Germany in the 1970s.

“Without this organization, I honestly think you would probably see a lot more veterans choosing to kill themselves,” said Miller, also a retired Green Bay police officer.

Miller was part of a flight crew on a helicopter. His title was team leader. There, Miller lived a traumatic experience that marked him for years.

“Over the years it seemed to get worse,” Miller said.

Miller decided to visit his doctor to see what was going on. It was then that her doctor diagnosed her with PTSD. Her doctor explained that traumatic events in anyone’s life can cause the disorder, but Miller was hit hard.

“I saw a documentary about K9 and the veterans and they were called service dogs,” Miller said.

It was then that research led him to the Patriot K9s of Wisconsin.

“Scot was a candidate and we bought Buddy. We had two puppies here and Buddy went to Scotland. Right here on the floor, and just an instant attachment, ”Rethaber said.

Miller’s bond with his dog, Buddy, is unbreakable.

“I can’t imagine a day without Buddy. It goes everywhere I go, ”Miller said.

The Wisconsin K9 Patriots want to remind people that assistance dogs are not ordinary dogs that people can approach and pet. Animals do a job and should be left alone.

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