A “Dancing With the Stars” winner has taken up a new cause and it’s a good one — providing service dogs to Armed Forces veterans. Here’s what you need to know about Bobby Bones’ new initiative and what you can do to help.
Bobby Bones Partnered With Purina To Match Service Dogs With Veterans With PTSD
In an interview with Country Now, radio host and “Dancing With the Stars” season 27 winner Bobby Bones said that he has always focused on helping out military service members and their families, but it was an emotional article about a service dog that set him on this path.
“My career over the past ten years or so, I have been extremely military-focused because I understand that I don’t get to do what I do if it weren’t for the men and women over there fighting for our freedom. We try to build a house for a vet every year, and we do a lot of military things to help out people that are even currently serving,” said Bones.
But he added, “I stumbled across a story about service dogs, and I was like ‘I don’t even know what they are needed for?’ I have seen them at the airport and the grocery store, but then I read how much they help our service members with PTSD. I thought … maybe our show could help! But, then I realized service dogs are $20,000 each, and nobody has $20,000 laying around. So, we started raising money, and we were buying service dogs for military members on the radio show.”
It wasn’t long until Purina Dog Chow heard about what Bones was doing and partnered up with him to help boost the program’s efforts. Along the way, they filmed a documentary short film called “Even Heroes Need Heroes.”
The Documentary Follows 3 Struggling Veterans With PTSD Service DogsS
The documentary followed three veterans and their service dogs — Shannon and Pepper, Tishawna and Archie, and Andy and Storm — for a whole year, documenting their “year-long journey of hope and healing,” according to the description for the documentary.
“We wanted to make this documentary for people like me… I was completely ignorant of how much they are needed and the job that they do. I felt like I was kind of making this movie for someone like myself,” Bones told Country Now. “If they saw it, they would be moved to help, to support, or to spread the message. I wanted to do a story that people could look at, grow with, identify with, and hopefully help.”
Bones even took on an executive producer role, saying that “being behind the camera” let him “make sure that certain parts of their stories were focused on.”
He also said that he tried to help the veterans feel at ease being on camera because this was such an important message for them to share.
“I can sit with them and go, ‘OK, I know this is a message you want to get out there, let me help you feel comfortable. So, you can share that message.’ … These dogs mean so much to them, not just as a companion … but, as tools to get back to trying to have a normal life again,” said Bones.
The radio host became emotional talking about how they need more money to get more service dogs into the hands of veterans — and it has become personal for Bones.
“The more money we can raise, the more dogs that we can get into their hands, the better shot they have of bouncing back and having an extremely productive life back here in the states,” said Bones. “Right now, it feels very personal, but it’s always felt personal to me. I never don’t want it to feel personal. They are coming back, and they’re having trouble … I would love for at some point in the future, for everybody that needs a dog can just get a dog or money would not be an object that keeps them from having a therapy dog.”
To learn how you can help, visit DogChow.com/service.
“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been renewed for season 31. If it is renewed, it will return in September 2022.