Paws of War Gifts Vietnam Veterans Service Dogs for Christmas

Photo courtesy of Paws of War

Photo courtesy of Paws of War

Waiting to get a gift you have wanted can make receiving it that much sweeter. That’s exactly what is happening for two Vietnam veterans, Larry Keating and Bill Thumm, who have both waited 50 years to receive a service dog. Right before Christmas, Paws of War and Unsung Siblings Foundation will be giving Keating and Thumm a service dog in training, providing them with the help that they needed for decades.

“There is a very special feeling in your heart when you give a Vietnam veteran something so special,” explains Robert Misseri of Paws of War. “These guys had zero help coming home and many just suffered in silence. On top of it all, Mr. Keating will bring her to work, so she can also help other veterans.”

Paws of War will be delivering the dogs in training to Keating and Thumm on Christmas Eve. The delivery will take place on December 24, 2019, at the Paws of War training facility, located at 127 Smithtown Blvd. in Nesconset, New York, at 10 am. The media is invited to attend, and both veterans and Paws of War will be on hand to answer questions.

The dog Keating will be receiving is a rescued 3-year old female black lab named Midnight. The dog was rescued from Ohio, and has been undergoing training to become a service dog. She will have two vests to indicate the two positions, wearing them at different times as necessary. Most dogs are not trained to be both a service and therapy dog, so she is pulling double duty, but the organization is confident she will be successful in the position. Her therapy duties will be for helping patients of Keating when not working as his personal service dog.

Thumm, who earned a bronze star and purple heart for his service, will be paired with a 4-year old chocolate lab named Lydia. The two men will meet for the first time when they receive the dogs, but the two dogs are already pals.

“My husband has been waiting for 50 years for this day to come,” says Diane Keating. “He has spent decades on Long Island working as a psychotherapist helping other veterans, and now he will get the help he has needed for so long. We are very grateful to both Paws of War and the Unsung Siblings Foundation for their generosity.”

To help provide Midnight and Lydia with the professional training that they need in order to become a service dog, Paws of War teamed up with Unsung Siblings Foundation. The organization has a mission of providing scholarships and grants for those in the veteran community. They have provided a grant to cover the cost of training for Midnight and Lydia.

Paws of War rescues dogs and provides them with the training they need to become service and therapy pets. Once the dogs have been properly trained, they are then matched with a veteran in need, and given to them free of charge. Those who would like to learn more about supporting Paws of War and its mission can go online:


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