After arriving at the Hi Tor Animal Care Center, volunteers first met Kasper, a five-month-old pitbull puppy that was left behind by his family. Because of the breed’s reputation, the staff was surprised at the loving and calming demeanor of this poor animal. When the dog was rescued, he only weighed 50 pounds, which is about 20 pounds less than the expected weight for a dog of his breed, size, and age. He was found with no food or water in a musty basement in Spring Valley, and apparently, his tail was cut off. Despite his dark background, Kasper was said to be very sweet, mellow, tranquil and comfortable around humans.

Efforts of the Hi-Tor Animal Care Center to help Kasper

Because of their bad reputation, people look at all Pitbull dogs as mean and aggressive.

Because of this label, the animal is often banned from certain areas. Volunteers like Ms. Lilly-Ann Wilson at Hi Tor were delighted when they met Kasper because he did not exhibit any of the characteristics of the breed’s reputation. In fact, they felt the dog could be evaluated to see if he would be a candidate as a service dog.

After Wilson from the shelter had worked with Kasper for three months, along with Donna Baker and Aby Garcia, fellow volunteers, he did become a great service dog Lohud reported. Frank Pugliese, the dog trainer from Bergen County also worked with the rescue dog until he got his red service dog vest. Kasper is the first service dog that has been trained through the Hi Tor Animal Care Center’s newly launched veteran’s assistance program. The dog came from a disheartening, neglected and abandoned situation and became a crucial part of a plan that pairs PTSD military service members with excellent, caring canines.

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Kasper, the Pitbull puppy, leads a new life as PTSD service dog

At a recent Military Appreciation Night in Rockland Boulder at Palisades Credit Union Park, Kasper was proudly placed with an upstate New York Air Force veteran. Wilson was extremely proud of the animal and believes that he would be an ambassador for his breed. She thinks he will be the best service dog ever for his new owner in Utica. In fact, updates from his new 'dad' state that Kasper is adjusting well to his new home and with his new owner.

Wilson is pleased with the successful outcome for Kasper and believes in the program to help veterans suffering from PTSD. The mission is personal for her as her husband is also a veteran with the Army National Guard Reserves. Pairing dogs with vets is a relatively new concept that started a few years ago but new research proves that after thorough training, a therapy animal can help the suffering veteran. Although most therapy dogs are Labrador retrievers, Golden retrievers, and German Shepherds, Pitbulls like Kasper can provide excellent service once well-trained because of their loyalty to their owner.