Sit. Stay. Speak.
Most dogs learn these three common commands as puppies. But only a special kind of dog can master the highly intuitive skills needed to become a service animal.
Scout, the adorable lab mix pictured above, is that special dog.
A group of Erie Insurance agents from the Erie, Pennsylvania branch have made a commitment to help local veterans. That’s why they are supporting training at the Erie Humane Society’s “Shelter to Service” program with a grant that connects one hero (the dog) to help another hero (a local veteran).
“Every day, our agents help ERIE uphold the corporate value to be ‘Above All in Service,’” said Deb Masi, vice president and branch manager of the Erie branch. “This field giving grant helps support a nonprofit that embodies the spirit of service while honoring our military.”
4 FAST FACTS ABOUT SCOUT THE SERVICE DOG
- His mother was transported from South Carolina. Scout’s mother was abandoned during Hurricane Florence, while pregnant. She was brought to Erie to avoid being euthanized.
- He was born in Erie. Scout was born in September 2018 at the Erie Humane Society.
- He’s the first in his program. Scout will be the first dog trained through the Shelter to Service initiative, thanks in part to the donation on behalf of these local Erie Insurance agents.
- He’ll get to work soon. In August, Shelter to Service will announce the veteran from Erie County who will be partnered with Scout.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR SCOUT?
Once Scout completes his training and certification, he will respond to issues such as seizures, migraines or severe mood shifts – even before his owner even knows they’re happening.
An estimated 20 percent of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have PTSD and/or depression, says Nicole Bawol, executive director of the Erie Humane Society and founder of Shelter to Service.
“The companionship and service these trained animals can provide is unmeasurable,” she said.
We plan to keep tabs on Scout to check in on his progress. You can, too, by following the hashtag #scoutforservice.
ERIE agent Sandy Bock of Bock Insurance bred and showed dogs for many years. She said she was happy to join fellow ERIE agents to help this worthy cause.
“My brother, who served in Vietnam, is in a facility living with the consequences of being exposed to Agent Orange,” Bock said. “This is a reminder what sacrifices those who serve make for all of us.”
It’s important to have people you trust to be there for you when you need them. The Giving Grants at Erie Insurance help our field offices across ERIE’s footprint – 12 states and the District of Columbia – give back to their communities.Our employees and our agents build homes, feed families and tutor young students. Find out more about ERIE’s longstanding commitment to our community through the Erie Insurance Giving Network or by following #ERIEforGood wherever you share.