Tails of Hope Foundation, Inc.’s mission is to support, raise visibility of, and educate society about, the critical roles that K9 national security teams perform in protecting and improving nations. This includes active duty military, police, search and rescue K9 teams from deployment to disability, and support for service dogs for disabled veterans. We also prepare future generations to fill tomorrow’s professional K9 careers.
Tails of Hope Foundation, Inc. is a federally recognized registered 501(c)3 not-for profit organization incorporated in New York.
On November 9, 2023, a Tails of Hope Foundation idea became a reality. Together with co-founding partners from Hartford HealthCare (HHC) of Connecticut we proudly launched our Veterans with Disabilities Task Force (VDTF). The inaugural meeting was hosted at the Connecticut State Capitol by State Representative Henry Genga who also spearheaded the passage of Connecticut’s K9 Veterans Day law in 2017.
Key stakeholders from veterans, military, business, service and non-profit organizations participated. Honored guests included veterans with disabilities, federal and state representatives, the chair of the State Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, the Vice President of Operations for the Hartford Region from HHC and the Mayor of Hartford.
Sherri Vogt, the wonderful Army Veteran and HHC’s Veteran Liaison, served as the meeting’s Emcee.
Beyond Tails of Hope Foundation’s leadership role, we provided critical information about the invaluable and lifesaving role service dogs play for disabled veterans.
The VDTF’s goal is to build multidisciplinary community support to improve the lives of veterans with disabilities, and reduce the high rate of veteran suicide — approximately 22 per day. The plan is for VDTF to serve as a nationwide model.
That goal is just what the community did for Veteran Jake and his wife, Sara. Both spoke poignantly about their “Soldier’s and Family’s Story”. They talked about how life changed after Jake was permanently injured by a rocket propelled grenade while serving in Afghanistan, about their daily challenges, his relentless pain and Sara’s tough role as caretaker.
Two HHC visionary physicians, Dr. Subramani Seetharama, Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and Dr. Gregory De Gruchy, Associate Program Director at HHC’s UCONN PM&R Residency Program, created a new treatment plan for Jake which reduced his pain level to manageable on most days. He also has hope regarding potential research on reversing degenerative nerve disease.
Dr. De Gruchy is a Marine Veteran who served multiple deployment tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He became disabled from combat injuries, but received great medical care which inspired him to become a doctor.
Tails of Hope Foundation had introduced Veteran Jake to both of these brilliant doctors and the multidisciplinary community that joined together to help him. Veteran Jake went from hopeless to hopeful. Jake told the participants that Tails of Hope Foundation literally saved his life since meeting us in 2017.
Vietnam Veteran Ralph Orlando and his Obedience Dog Club of Daytona helped all the way from Florida by donating catering for the task force launch and the local Edible Arrangements of Windsor donated a beautiful Fruit Festival basket.
CT-N television filmed the entire meeting which you can watch on-line at https://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=22310 . The next key stakeholders’ meeting is scheduled for February 28, 2024.
Thanks to our great volunteers, partners and supporters, Tails of Hope Foundation has continually supported veterans by gifting service dogs to disabled veterans, sponsoring advanced veterinary care for those service dogs, reuniting battle buddies when military working dogs retire from active duty, providing emotional support and services at the canines’ end of life “Final Walks,” and so much more.
Vietnam Medal of Honor Recipient, Paul Buccha, challenges others to do more, by saying, “It is not enough to say thank you (to veterans), but rather to ask how you can help”.
Everyone can make a difference in the lives of veterans with disabilities. Please ask yourself how you can honor a veteran who sacrificed so much for your freedom. Consider gifting a home-cooked meal, home repairs, a haircut, lawn mowing, a visit, house cleaning or other. Your gift can be small or large and all acts of kindness will be deeply appreciated. Most importantly, your gifts will let veterans know they are appreciated, remembered and not alone!
Working with Tails of Hope Foundation [TOHF] has enabled me to give back to the community above and beyond my expectations. When I did my Eagle Scout Project, building agility equipment for a New Jersey Police K9 Unit, I thought that would be it. However, the project has led me to serve on TOHF’s YAP K9 National Advisory Board and participate in congressional ceremonies. My Eagle Project has expanded to CT and VA. The CT YAP-K9 Ambassadors (seen below) have been recognized at the CT State Capitol on the Senate Floor.
I am grateful for the opportunities TOHF has given to me and I am excited to continue helping K9 programs across the country.”
I haven’t stopped talking about all the incredible work you do along with how fantastic the course was. I’m still in awe of the level of knowledge, professionalism and communication the instructors, your staff and volunteers came with. There’s a lot to be said about a class full of police officers willing to spend long hours with minimal breaks not wanting to leave. It’s truly the best class I’ve had in my 22 years of Law Enforcement. Thank you so much for all you do!
Detective SGT G.P., launch of K9 ER Training
Tails of Hope Foundation’s new website has been made possible by a generous grant from Northwest Community Bank Foundation, Inc.