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By J.R. Brower

Tony Accamando is proud to serve those who have served. As a veteran, himself, who served in Vietnam, the Nottingham Township resident is concerned about the problems faced by today’s veterans, who have endured multiple deployments into war zones, perpetual stress of combat operations and long-time displacement from their loved ones.

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John Piazza and Tony Accamando help vets get valuable service dogs

He said that these conditions have caused many veterans to have traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which are often complicated by physical injuries. He went on to say that medical service dogs have given remarkable service in providing companionship and assistance to traumatized veterans. Whether suffering from TBI, PTSD, seizure disorder, mobility issues or a combination of these, the service dog is trained to mitigate each issue the veteran faces.

Accamando and his partner, John Piazza, operate Veterans Cable Services, which hires and trains veterans for technician positions. Through their Bethel Park company, they launched their worthy fundraising effort, Life Changing Service Dogs For Veterans. Their goal is to provide 22 service dogs to veterans in the Pittsburgh area. It takes two years to fully develop a service dog – including food, veterinary care, and over 1,500 hours of training. Those development programs cost approximately $22,000 per dog.

Life Changing Service Dogs For Veterans works collaboratively with the Florida group, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, which trains and provides the highly skilled dogs to needy veterans. They are proud to have donated more than 150 amazing service dogs with deserving veterans.

Accamando said, “A total of 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Our goal is to reduce those 22 veteran suicides a day down to zero.” He stated that there has never been a suicide committed by any veteran with a service dog. He said their goal is to provide as many of the incredible service dogs to as many veterans as possible, adding that all the valuable work that the group does is 100% reliant on sponsors, private grants and donations.

For more information, visit http://lifechangingservicedogsforveterans.org/ and http://www.medicalservicedogs.org/ or call 412-932-8387. To donate, make check payable to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, and mail to Veterans Cable Services, Inc., 3591 Ridgeway Dr., Bethel Park, PA 15102.

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