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Dog helps wounded warriors in Hawaii

finnA yellow Labrador retriever named Finn is helping injured Marines in Hawaii recuperate from their war wounds.

Pressed into service about a month ago, Finn is stationed at the Wounded Warrior Battalion at the Kane’ohe base. His duty is simple, and not that different from that of any dog — to bring some joy into the lives of the people around him.

Finn is the first service dog to be placed in a barracks in Hawaii, said Susan Luehrs, executive director for Hawaii Fi-Do, a nonprofit group that obtained, trained and donated Finn to the Marines.

The Honolulu Advertiser reports that he brings a sense of calm to the Wounded Warrior barracks, which was designed to aid in the recovery of war-related injuries and illnesses. 

Finn “has contributed significantly,” said Sgt. Karlo Salgado, in charge of the Wounded Warrior barracks. “He’s here more for morale. He’s very consistent with his attitude. As you can see, he’s always playful so he definitely breaks up the monotony here.”

Finn, short for Finnegan, is more of a companion dog, but he has about 80 skills, such as opening doors, that he can use to help those coping with disabilities.

“We’re coming back with a lot more injured young people and they’re saying we’d rather be walking with a dog than a cane,” Luehrs said.

The organization is working with Congress to pass legislation that would pay for training and upkeep. It typically takes two years and costs about $20,000 to train an animal, not including the price to purchase a puppy.

“We’re really proud of him,” Luehrs said. “He had all of his service dog’s skills but because of his personality and socialness, we felt this would be the perfect setting for him.”

(Photo: Honolulu Advertiser/Jeff Widener)


Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time September 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm

It’s a wonderful story. But I think if there were an award for “Most Original Dog Organization Name” it would have to go to the one in this article: Hawaii Fi-Do??? 🙂

Comment from Sara Jane
Time September 11, 2009 at 10:15 am

I could cry! How wonderful of these sweet doggies to bring happiness to so many who need it.