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Fidos for Freedom Therapy Dogs bring relief for Veterans

Fidos For Freedom Dogs
Posted at 5:52 PM, Aug 15, 2023

BALTIMORE — One Maryland based organization is trying to increase the quality of life for veterans by providing a visit with a furry friend to help with the road to recovery.

It's more than just a lick or a friendly stroke of the fur for Army veteran Donnell Moan, it's a sigh of relief.

"It just gives me peace and you know just the idea of a dog, having a dog here, it gives me something to do, something to look forward to,” said Moan.

Moan served overseas in the army for seven and half years. He now participates in The Baltimore Station, a residential program helping veterans transition through homelessness, PTSD, and addiction to becoming self-sufficient.

On certain days, interacting with a furry companion is exactly the break that was needed.

"Everything in this building we try to provide as much relief as we can but it can be stressful and it can be a lot to take on, so when you have just some friendly therapy dogs in here with no expectation expect for maybe to get pet and a little kiss on the cheek it's a really nice relaxation activity,” said Lillian Frazier who is The Baltimore Station Volunteer Coordinator.

That's where Fidos for Freedom steps in. They train and provide service and therapy dogs.

Once a month, dogs like Chewie and Trista, along with a few others, stop in for some quality time with the veterans.

"It's unconditional love in a fur coat, they have no other desire but to make you feel good,” said Fran Glavan, who is the Co-Director of Therapy Dogs for Fidos for Freedom.

The therapy dogs are family pets that go through testing and after six weeks of training can go on visits taking trips to nursing homes, hospitals and schools. Glavan, said she knows how important these dogs can be.

"There is empirical data that says that when you're petting a dog your blood pressure goes down 10 points,” said Glavan.

Fidos for Freedom is a nonprofit, run strictly off volunteers and donations. Currently there are 80 dogs in the program.