PATRIOT ROVERS, A Healing Mission.
A letter from our Founder
As a member of Patriot Guard Riders I’ve attended hundreds of funerals of our servicemen and women who have served our nation with Honor and Distinction. I’m a U.S. Army Veteran, and Canine Behavioral Expert. In the fall of 2009, into the spring of 2010, I noticed a trend that troubled me deeply. Many of these funerals were of soldiers who had survived multiple combat deployments, only to return home to succumb to Post Traumatic Stress. This did not sit well with me – it was unacceptable.
Recalling the tragic events of my own life, I reflected on the support system I had in helping deal with life changing events. The one constant in my life, the companions that provided me with 24-hour a day, 7 days a week, unconditional love and support…were dogs. I then asked myself, “How can we provide unconditional love and support, to soldiers struggling with conditions such as PTSD?”
Combining my compassion for my fellow Veterans, my affinity for dogs, and knowledge of canine behavior and training, I promptly set in motion the creation of a program that would become a healing non-profit organization. Memories of how my own dogs never failed to provide me unconditional love and support, an organization that could provide a Task Trained Psychiatric Service Dog that could do all of this, and more.
I invested personal money, time and passion into rescuing dogs and providing their medical care and training. I applied my expertise and best practices for service dog training and the work being done with service dogs to help PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries. My 20+ years of experience as a canine behavioral expert and dedicated trainer staff allowed me to professionally train the dogs. I work in concert with the Veteran’s Administration Poly Trauma, and Psychiatric Services Unit to identify soldiers that would benefit from a Psychiatric (or mental health) Service Dog. These soldiers train alongside their assigned dogs, developing a bond with their dog, learning about dog behavior, and learning skills as a handler before bringing the dog home. My relationship with Gold Star Families (Families of Fallen Heroes) brought about the third part of the Patriot Rover Mission extending our healing mission to those affected by war the most. Gold Star Families can request that a Patriot Rover be named after their loved one who paid the ultimate sacrifice in their service to our country. I tested the program on a limited basis and when I saw the tremendous impact it made on the dogs, vets and their families, as well as the families of the fallen I brought together a Board of Directors and started Patriot Rovers Inc.
David R. Cantara
Patriot Rovers, Inc. Founder