(143) Even the Dog has a Job: Employment for Veterans

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

Miss Molly Goes to Camp

William takes Molly to canine camp

William and Molly go to canine camp

Molly took a brief vacation, spending a week at canine camp. Instead of taking her with us while we stayed in a ski resort, we felt boarding her would be best. William has every right to have Molly, a registered service dog, accompany him to hotels. Unfortunately, traveling with a 120-pound service dog causes problems. She always works hard on our trips to take care of her master but we find other hotel guests and hotel owners prefer not to see a service dog around. In fact, the resort we stayed at handed out flyers that said, “No dogs allowed on the resort premises at any time.” We realize this does not apply to service animals but it sure sends the message that service dogs are frowned upon.

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Tranquil canine camp setting

Molly and the clerk at the boarding kennel bonded instantly. The clerk showed us the inside of the kennel with a large door that allowed Molly to go outside or stay inside whenever she wanted. Once a day, she ran free in the kennel’s open space by herself. She dined on a new brand of dry dog food and enjoyed a rawhide bone every few days.

We missed Molly but she seemed to enjoy her time away. Her reunion with William told us she was glad to be reunited with him but suffered no ill effects from the separation.

It is back-to-work for Molly and she continues to take her service dog duties seriously. She enjoys being a working girl.

Veterans Back to Work

Molly and I are pleased to see that unemployment rates for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans is dropping. In Gregg Zoroya’s article in USA Today, he stated that the unemployment rate for these Veterans (4.6 percent) dropped below the 5 percent national unemployment rate for October 2015. While the unemployment rate has been dropping recently, it was at 4.4 percent for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans in 2007—just before the recession. It had risen as high as 15 percent for this Veteran group in 2010. The downward trend is positive especially when you consider that the number of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans rose from 1.5 million in 2007 to 3.8 million today. Unfortunately, when looking at the age group of Veterans 18 to 24, the current unemployment rate is 10.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why the Improvement in Veteran Employment?

Terry Gerton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for Veterans Employment and Training at the Department of Labor attributed the increasing levels of employment to improvement in DOD training and services for transitioning service members into the civilian workforce.  Partnerships with governments and with the private sector work to employ Veterans. Even the International City/County Molly's sniffer faceManagement Association (ICMA) recently developed a program to train service members in becoming city and county managers. In most cases, employers find that Veterans make outstanding employees given their discipline, focus, and commitment to duty.

This is good news and if Miss Molly could smile, she would!

 Post your Comments:

Do you leave your service animal behind when you travel or vacation? Please reply below.

Photo credits: pculbrethgraft

Source cited:

  • Zoroya, Gregg. “Era of high unemployment for Iraq, Afghanistan veterans ends,” in USA Today, November 11, 2015.

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.