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Danny & Jeannette Templeton of Roanoke, VA, shared this story with the AKC Canine Partners News about the work their rescue dog, Buddy, does to help veterans.

In 2005, we rescued our second dog, Buddy, a Beagle mix puppy, from a campground we frequent.  My husband, Danny, discovered him while riding around the lake.

Buddy was lying in the woods where he was abandoned and when he was offered a cracker, he jumped in our truck. He stole our hearts.

Because of his love of people, we felt Buddy would make a great therapy dog.  Like our other rescue dog, Lil, a Delta Society Pet Partner and an AKC Therapy Dog title-earner, we felt Buddy would touch countless lives of the young and old.  When he passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test, we knew he was ready.

Buddy began his official Veterans Administration visits in 2008.  The vets nicknamed him Buddy Love because he brings such happiness.  It really touches my heart when a vet hugs Buddy and talks about that special dog he has had to leave behind.  As he is being hugged and petted, Buddy returns the favor with kisses. 

When vets go to the local bowling alley, Buddy is there for them to pet for good luck.  As he comes in, he announces his arrival by howling to let everyone know he’s there. He enjoys sitting beside the vets while they wait their turn to bowl.

Buddy and I have also gone to schools, where we worked with first graders on how to treat dogs.  At the beginning of one visit, a little girl who was terrified of dogs stayed far away from Buddy.  By the end of class, she was full of smiles as she was petting him and he was giving her kisses.

Buddy is a member of the AKC Canine Partners program for all dogs, including mixed-breeds and rescues. For information, look here.

To learn how therapy dogs can qualify for special AKC Therapy Dog titles, go to: