Two Jersey Guys Helping Veterans with Emotional Support Dogs [Interview]
Joel and Maryann spoke with Brian Reyngoudt, Co-Founder and Vice President of Operation K9 Beethoven. He along with Arpi Kertesz started an organization with a small vision. Before they knew it, it turned into a bigger and better mission than they could have ever imagined.
Their Mission statement is to utilize Specially Trained and Certified Emotional Support Dogs to promote health, hope, and healing. They accomplish this mission by establishing and communicating standards of practice for using specially trained animals in healthcare settings such as Veterans Hospitals, Rehabilitation Facilities, and more. They also provide emotional support dogs to veterans and first responders who suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders at no cost to the recipient, including a welcome-home package.
How It Began
Reyngoudt and Kertesz met in January 2020. Reyngoudt’s family was donating kennels to Kertesz and started to discuss helping Veterans by bringing Kertesz’s personal Certified Therapy Dog “Beethoven” to visit the local Veterans Home. From that moment on, Kertesz and Reyngoudt became great friends. Kertesz began visiting the Veterans’ Home with Reyngoudt, guiding, and helping him spread Beethoven’s love. It all started with the simple thought of bringing the happiness, joy, and love of animals to Veterans unable to have a pet of their own. Kertesz and Beethoven embarked on a journey that changed their lives and continues to do so.
During Suicide Awareness Month in September 2020, Kertesz asked a Marine Corps Veteran to help with creating a video to spread and bring awareness to Veterans’ Suicide. His friend, a veteran with PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety who was hospitalized due to a suicide attempt, was more than willing to do his part to help. He was asked what he hoped would come from this video, and he replied, “I want to spread awareness to the families of Veterans about the signs of Suicide, and I’d like to see every Veteran that suffers from mental health issues receive an Emotional Support Dog free of charge.” That statement caused a spark, which turned into a raging inferno in Kertesz’s heart and mind. Kertesz contacted his dog trainer to obtain more knowledge about training rescue dogs to be Emotional Support Dogs for our Heroes.
How It Works
Each dog selected for entry into Operation K9 Beethoven’s Program is fully vetted, temperament-tested, and socialized with dogs, cats, children, and adults to ensure they will be a good fit for our program. They are then transported to their trainer for obedience and leash training. Once training is complete, they’re transported to their Fur-Ever Hero. The dogs from the Rescues are given a second chance at life and can then help Veterans and First Responders get the love, and support they deserve. What started as one man and his dog (Kertesz and Beethoven) working toward helping bring love and joy to Veterans has now become the organization known as Operation K9 Beethoven committed to helping Veterans, and First Responders, “One Paw At A Time.”
Check out their website here. Check out Joel and Maryann’s interview with Brian Reyngoudt to find out how you can help here…
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