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Shelter to Soldier aims to 'save lives two at a time'

Shelter to Soldier.jpg
Posted at 6:08 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 21:34:51-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It’s more than dog training at Shelter to Soldier in Oceanside.

The non-profit aims to 'Save lives two at a time.'

"What we aim to do at that is adopt dogs and give them a purpose in life, while also serving and helping save veterans' lives,“ said Nicky Moore, director of training and operations.

Shelter to Soldier has helped nearly 50 veterans since it opened ten years ago.

It aims to help veterans suffering from mental health issues.

20 veterans and one active-duty service member lose their lives to suicide every day, according to the non-profit.

The VA reports that 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in either Operation Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom to have post-traumatic stress disorder.

"85 percent of our veterans suffer from nightmares and night terrors. So, we have a bedroom in our task room to help practice those interruptions with our dogs for the vets," said Kayla Buford, training assistant.

Kayla Buford and Rachel Charlesworth are behind the training.

They also have a special connection to the vets because they are part of the military community themselves.

Buford's husband is is a pilot in the Marine Corps, while Charlesworth served as a dog handler in the Marine Corps.

“I have some of the same struggles they have. I understand a lot of it and it’s easy communication between us two," said Rachel Charlesworth, trainer.

The two explained the impact made when helping those who’ve served is rewarding.

Just seeing how they light up when they get something high or going out in public. They’re going out in places that they haven’t been in years," said Charlesworth.

Shelter to Solider offers the service free of cost to veterans who are interested. Veterans can apply here.