Colorado Springs man uses Army pension to help train service dogs for veterans

John Frank founds Heroes Pack Academy, benefitting local veterans
John Frank founds Heroes Pack Academy, benefiting local veterans

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After being a combat medic in the Army on an eight-year enlistment, John Franks realized that post-traumatic stress disorder was becoming part of his life.

He stepped away from the Army, and started a new mission: teaching old dogs new tricks, to help out his fellow veterans.

“We’ve got more vets needing help than we have resources,” said Franks. “Without this kind of thing, this work can’t continue.”

Franks founded the nonprofit Heroes Pack Academy two and a half years ago, after he had a dog, Sam, who changed his whole world.

“Without him, my life would have been a lot different,” Frank said.

Heroes Pack Academy trains house dogs, as well as dogs from shelters that are about to be euthanized, to become service animals.

Normally, a veteran would have to wait two to 10 years and pay more than $20,000 for a service dog. Thanks to Franks, these heroes can now get them for free.

“The opportunity to impact someone who’s hurting and you recognize the pain, and you can help them, then that’s worth it,” said Franks.

Franks uses his Army pension to pay for all the training and care of these dogs until they are ready to be with their owners.

>> For more information on Heroes Pack Academy, visit their Facebook page. 

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