WACO, Texas – A local veteran is looking out for his fellow veterans with the help of his furry companion. This vet says, “Save a dog, help a veteran.”
Gunnery Sergeant Alan White is a Purple Heart recipient. He served in the Marine Corp during the Vietnam era.
“But until about six years ago, that I really started having anxiety and panic attacks, and I’ve been out of service since 1987,” White says.
For White, getting a service dog was the best way for him to cope with the panic attacks.
“She [Szva] is my personal service dog. She helps me with anxiety and panic. And she also detects blood sugar changes for my diabetes,” says White.
As a veteran, White has seen a lot of trauma in service. Since he retired, he wanted to help other veterans who have battled similar issues as him. This is when he started his non-profit organization WhiteHaven Canine Evaluators.
As a veteran, military K-9 trainer, and service dog owner himself – he uses the proceeds from obedience classes he teachers to carefully select and train shelter dogs to be ESAs (Emotional Support Animals) for veterans in need.
This year, WhiteHaven Canine Evaluators is kicking off a capital campaign to build a facility so they can train and match more ESAs with deserving veterans.
“After visiting at the VA for about a year, I was asked to see if I could supply a couple of dogs to some of the women going through a treatment program there,” says White.
White has a special place in his heart for veterans, as well as dogs. Last year, White trained and donated three dogs. This year, he’s working on four more.
“It’s very fullfilling, because I know what Szva means to me and how she helps me. So I know they can help veterans,” says White.
White shares a message to share with fellow veterans on Veterans Day, “We’re here for you. Don’t think you’re out here fighting this by yourself. There are people here willing to help, and we will do whatever we can.”