Deborah Golden is raising a black lab puppy to be a service dog for 12–14 months before he completes his training to be paired with a veteran or first responder.

Service dogs provide support to their humans and help with daily tasks, emotional support, and the potential for a better quality of life in the face of visual, hearing, and mobility impairments. These well-trained pups learn how to signal sounds, retrieve essential items, and even provide comfort and calm to companions who struggle with mental health challenges, such as PTSD or anxiety. Veterans, active-duty service members, and first responders with disabilities can benefit from the emotional bond with their pup, as well as a sense of renewed independence and purpose that often comes from having a service dog by their side.

As part of Deloitte’s commitment to military members and their families, the organization is excited to welcome Benny, a black lab puppy from America’s VetDogs Corporate Puppy with a Purpose program to its family. Benny will live with Deborah Golden, US Cyber & Strategic Risk leader, and her family for the next 12–14 months while he trains to be a future highly skilled service dog. After this initial training, Benny will attend technical training sessions at the Guide Dog Foundation’s headquarters in Long Island (called “In For Training”), and, ultimately, Deloitte’s sponsorship of Benny will allow him to be placed with a veteran or first responder at no cost to the recipient.

Incredibly, Deborah has raised six service puppies, two of them (Cedar and Todd) for the full duration of their training activities. Now that Todd has graduated and moved on to the next phrase of his training, Deborah and her family are excited to welcome the newest addition to their family.

“Benny will be the third full-time service puppy and the sixth future service dog I’ve helped train over time,” said Deborah. “My Deloitte colleagues and clients are accustomed to seeing me training and acclimating future service dogs for workplace, travel, and other environments, as such socialization is key to a service dog’s success with their future owners. I welcome Deloitte’s interest in teaming in support of Benny for America’s VetDogs so that we can raise awareness of the important role service dogs play in the physical and mental health of those they serve to lead a more independent life.”

I welcome Deloitte’s interest in teaming in support of Benny for America’s VetDogs so that we can raise awareness of the important role service dogs play in the physical and mental health of those they serve to lead a more independent life

Currently, Deloitte employs more than 1,000 veterans, former members of the Armed Services, and their spouses. Our organization's sponsorship of Benny through America's VetDogs is just one of the many ways that Deloitte is committed to military veterans and their families.

Deborah and her family are grateful for the opportunity to help Benny meet his training milestones, and excited for the day when he joins the ranks of service dogs who bring joy and comfort to our brave service members and responders, and who help them to live with dignity and independence. In fact, welcoming a future service dog into their home means a lot to the Golden family.

As Deborah said, "My family history is rich with former service members, inclusive of my great-uncle, George Golden, who was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously for US Army service during WWI in France. Honoring that family legacy and working with Benny as he prepares to offer PTSD support to someone who has served our country or communities will make our time together particularly meaningful."

To keep up with Benny and his training, follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @BennyServicePup.

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