December 29, 2017 – Thousands of veterans call New Mexico home. For vets who are struggling with injuries or challenges related to their service, the transition to civilian life can be difficult. Paws and Stripes in Albuquerque is a local organization that’s getting a lot of national attention.
The core of the program is matching veterans up with dogs from shelters and putting them both through service training. The dogs can help vets manage a range of emotional and physical needs. And both the dog and veteran have an opportunity for new adventures out in the community. The program also offers mental health counseling and the camaraderie of staff and graduates who can relate to what veterans are going through.
Producer Sarah Gustavus visited Paws and Stripes earlier this year to learn more about how the program works.
This week on New Mexico in Focus, host Gene Grant and a special Line panel of local journalists continue our countdown of the top stories of 2017. This week, they look at the impact on New Mexico of their picks for the top five major news events of the year. Topics discussed include education reforms, police reforms, and crime in New Mexico.
And we revisit a story from last summer. Producer Sarah Gustavus takes us to Paws and Stripes in Albuquerque to learn about their unique model of matching veterans with shelter dogs that can be trained as service animals. Paws and Stripes also offers training, mental health services and camaraderie with other vets who understand the challenges of returning to civilian life after an injury during service.
Dan Boyd, capitol bureau chief, Albuquerque Journal
Matt Grubs, staff writer, Santa Fe Reporter
Mary Hudetz, reporter, Associated Press
Inez Russell Gomez, editorial editor, The Santa Fe New Mexican