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Service Dogs To The Rescue

With more than 80,000 veterans expected to retire to Florida in the next two years, Vero Beach’s new $350,000 assistance-dog training center will be completed just in time.

Pia Pia is a well-trained service dog whose devotion transformed the life of an Iraq war veteran suffering from hearing loss and PTSD.

Pia Pia is a well-trained service dog whose devotion transformed the life of an Iraq war veteran suffering from hearing loss and PTSD.

Although Vero Beach certainly has its share of wonderful parks, some residents may not be aware of one of its finest. With lush oaks for cool shade, numerous benches for rest, grassy areas for playing and trails for walking, the park is very similar to others. It does have a few special characteristics, however. A long fence separates visitors by size, water fountains are very close to the ground and squirrel-chasing is quite popular – not at all surprising for a dog park.
 

The Off-Leash Dog Park, over four acres on 12th Street and 16th Avenue, is run and maintained by Dogs For Life (DFL), a nonprofit organization “devoted to improving the quality of life for people and dogs.” The park has separate large and small dog areas, with their own benches and wicker chairs and numerous water stations for both species. It even has a Memorial Garden, with a sign that reads, “In memory of our beloved pets who have gone over the rainbow bridge.” A statue of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, graces this area.
 

Read the entire article in the February-2014 issue