MENTOR, Ohio — Editor's note: Video at the top of this story was originally published in an unrelated article on Aug. 22, 2021.
The Lake Humane Society announced Friday that they are expanding the Corporal Joshua Harmon Pets to Vets program after partnering with Veteran Canine Connection, a local nonprofit organization.
Veteran Canine Connection connects Veterans with companion dogs. The dog trainers’ hand select dogs after using positive reinforcement methods with them and base their selection on which shelter dog is a good fit for the Veteran they are working with. After being adopted to a Veteran, the dog goes through a five-week training program that is beneficial to the Veteran, but the likelihood of a dog returning to the Lake Humane Society for behavior-based issues is very low.
As a part of the partnership, Veteran Canine Connection will pay the adoption fee, one-year supply of flea, tick and heartworm medications, provide veterinary care for the first year of the adoption and the training with no cost to the Veteran.
“We are so excited to begin our partnership with Lake Humane Society. They are the first shelter to offer us a real commitment to helping us to find the right dogs for our Veteran applicants,” said Director of Veteran Canine Connection, Joan Tiefel. With their help, we hope to expand our presence in greater Cleveland and the surrounding communities. Together we will have the opportunity to meet the needs of our great Veterans by connecting them with shelter animals and ultimately enhance the lives of both the Veterans and their dogs.”
The Cpl. The Joshua Harmon Pets to Vets program aims to protect animals while building connections between pets and people through advocacy and education.
“This partnership is a win-win for everyone. Our shelter dogs will find loving homes, and Veterans will have a new companion animal that shows them unconditional love,” said Interim Executive Director at Lake Humane Society. “We know that pets help alleviate loneliness, bring comfort, and reduce anxiety. We are proud to be working with Veteran Canine Connection and excited to enhance the Cpl Joshua Harmon Pets to Vets program.”
The program is named after Cpl Harmon, a U.S. Army Soldier assigned to the 25th Light Infantry Division (nicknamed Tropic Lightning), 35th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Harmon served as a Combat Medic attached to the Scouts Sniper Platoon. He also received the Army medal of Commendation of Valor for his life-saving measures performed during his time of service. Cpl Harmon was honored with the Combat Medical Badge and a Bronze Star.
On Aug. 5, 2006, Harmon was deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq, serving Operation Iraqi Freedom. He died on Aug. 22, 2007 among 13 others when returning from a mission when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Multaka, outside of Kirkuk.