Episode 390 Bryan Pieschel Dogs For Our Brave Transcript

This transcript is from episode 390 with guest Bryan Pieschel.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Brian Pichelle. Brian is the director of veteran services at Dogs for Our Brave. And his journey has been marked by his service as an army medic in Baghdad and his unwavering dedication to supporting wounded veterans.

And we’ll get into his story in just a minute and more about Dogs for Our Brave. But first I want to welcome you to the show, Brian. Really glad to have you here.

Bryan Pieschel: Thanks, Scott, uh, appreciate you having me on and, uh, allowing me to, uh, you know, speak a little bit about my story, but more so about, uh, you know, the veteran [00:01:00] community, uh, the work we’re doing with, uh, Dogs Fire Brave and, uh, just overall the general and, uh, support that the veteran community needs in this country right now, because I think it’s, uh, clearly.

Um, a massive problem. Um, so veteran to veteran, you know, veteran supporting veteran. Um, you know, this, this, this podcast specifically, like I’m just, I’m happy to be a part of it. Thanks for having me.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you bet. And you’re absolutely right. And that’s basically why this show exists. I mean, I started this show a few years ago to help address some of the problems that you were just talking about. And, uh, as I was doing this show, I started realizing that there are a lot of organizations like yours out there and they’re you.

They’re all, you know, I’ll just classify them all in the organizations that support veterans in one way or another. It could be through mental health. It could be through financial aid and a hundred different options that are out there. A lot of times people [00:02:00] just don’t know that these things exist. And.

These organizations could be the answer to whatever the problem is that these veterans are having, but if you don’t know that it exists or even know what to search for to find these things, then you know, you’re not going to find it. So, uh, I love to highlight organizations like, like yours and others that are out there because it, it really helps to, uh, Raise awareness, uh, for all the things that you guys are doing so that these veterans and their families and caretakers and all these people who are involved in the military community can find the resources that they need.

Uh, hopefully a little bit more easily by, you know, checking out these episodes and learning about it and kind of kicking the tires, if you, if you will, kind of like a test drive, you kind of hear a little bit about it and it, maybe it makes sense for you. Maybe it doesn’t, but. At least you get a little bit of information, uh, you know, beforehand.

So, so glad to have you here. And, um, uh, I guess before we get into kind of the, the details of, of the [00:03:00] organization, could you tell us a little bit about your time in the military and, uh, you know, your experiences serving? Um, you know, as a medic and, um, you know, all that, that type of stuff that you did and, and any kind of memorable moment, moments or challenges that you might’ve faced.

Bryan Pieschel: Sure. Um, this is always the, uh, you know, you dive back into the, into the, uh, realms of your memory and there’s, there’s plenty back there, but I enlisted in, uh, 2004 in the fall of 2004. Um, so obviously I’m a 9 11 guy. I was impacted by 9 11. I was in my early twenties, right when that occurred. Um, at the time I was coaching, collegiate volleyball.

Um, and you know, it, it, it. It sat on me for a while. I consider myself a patriotic guy. I believe in this country and what we stand for and what we were, you know, what we were founded on. Um, I, I fully support the red, white and blue. Uh, my father served in the reserves, um, during the Vietnam era. [00:04:00] Uh, luckily he was never deployed, uh, never had to go to Vietnam, but, uh, at that time, my brother had already decided after he graduated, um, from college, um, and actually he was, Also playing at the college that I was coaching at, which was pretty fun.

Um, he had, uh, he was going to go on to the Marine Corps, um, and serve as a, uh, as a reservist in the Marine Corps, um, So 9 11 hit and that just kind of sat on me for a while. It really, really ate at me, you know, seeing it on the news every night, seeing as the war really kicked on and waged on and we started losing more and more guys.

Um, I was single. I didn’t have kids. Um, and it just kind of got to that point where I’m like, you know what, I’m going to regret this if I don’t serve. So I enlisted. I didn’t tell anybody I was enlisting. I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t talk to my family about it. I didn’t tell friends. No one. Um, I just went into the recruiter’s office.

I knew I wanted to be a medic. Um, that was kind of, uh, uh, uh, [00:05:00] uh, experience, if you will. Uh, he wanted me to go in as a PsyOps. Uh, my scores were high enough and that’s clearly they wanted some, they needed PsyOps numbers. I told him point blank. I said, look, I have a full time job. I don’t, I don’t have to do this.

So of course I left the office an hour later. I get a phone call that. Hey, I have a medic slot available. I’m like, oh, shocking,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Now you,

Bryan Pieschel: know, the fall of 2004, that time of the war, I mean, they were, they needed bodies, right? So, um, you know, I was, uh, go through training. I had some medical background, so I got, you know, I advanced about six weeks through the AIT portion of training.

Um, I was assigned to a fifth engineer battalion at Fort Leonard Wood, which, uh, It’s very hilarious because I’m from St. Louis, I’m a St. Louis guy, and I got staged in less than two hours from home, so, um, but, you know, with all my travels, with coaching and whatnot at that point, um, I really didn’t care, I just, I was hoping to be able to get boots on the ground and go over, go overseas and, you know, get in the [00:06:00] fight, in some way, shape, or form, so I was attached to an engineering unit, Which one of two deployable units on the post at that time.

Um, we left for NTC not long after that, um, did a spin up in NTC. That was an experience, um, for those, you know, your veteran followers out there that spend time at NTC, that is, uh, that’s a memory that’s for sure. Um, really kind of opened my eyes up to, uh, the challenges, uh, especially being with an engineer unit and our job was going to be, you know, our main job was going to be, uh, route clearance.

Uh, we were a mechanized. Um, combat infantry unit, uh, a lot of sappers, whatnot. So, um, but we deployed to Baghdad in, uh, the fall of, uh, 2005. Um, spent a year over there running route clearance. Um, it was, uh, it was a rough deployment. Um, lost several guys. Um, had a, had quite a few guys significantly injured.

Um, I was very fortunate to survive [00:07:00] a very massive EFP attack, um, on our vehicle. Um, we were involved in quite a few. Um, but that one was six inches one way or, you know, another direction. And I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. So, um, you know, it w there were a lot of lessons learned there. Um, it was intense to say the least.

Um, and it brought a lot of baggage on the back end when we got back home. You know, we redeployed back home in November of 2006. Um, dealt with a lot of struggles, a lot of emotions. Um, never really completely lost my military bearing, but came pretty close a few times. Um, but definitely, you know, had enough issues with anxiety, really started seeing the side effects, you know, the effects of PTSD.

Um, again, we, we saw a lot, um, and, and, and, and experienced full, you know, for [00:08:00] those history buffs out there. If you go back to that timeframe of the war, it was nasty, um, and, you know, we were a division asset, so we weren’t just serving in the Baghdad area. We were, I mean, they sent us, you know, division sent us wherever they wanted to send us.

So we, we covered a lot of ground. We saw a lot, covered down on the Marines, covered down on 101, the 82nd, um, so, um, You know, there, there isn’t much of Iraq that I didn’t get to get to see with my own eyes. Um, and on top of that, you know, obviously the, you know, the internal war that was going on within the country at that time was also just raging.

So it wasn’t just, you know, What we were dealing with, it’s what we were witnessing happening between the Sunni and Shia factions, whatnot. So, um, it was a, it was a life altering experience. That’s for sure. So, ultimately that would lead to me being medically retired in 2009. The PTSD symptoms were quite significant.

It [00:09:00] had a Quite a serious impact on my ability just to simply do my job. Um, although I was continuing on, right, I had re enlisted. I, uh, I re enlisted while we were in Iraq. Um, I had applied for the Army PA program. Um, I was on the verge of being accepted into that. I was on orders to go down to Fort BMC or to, um, Brook Army Medical Center.

At that time was the brand new burn unit had just opened up. Um, I was fortunate enough that I was going to be on assignment to go down there waiting for my orders to start school. So, but, um, I, I, I had to make the hard decision and face the hard reality that, uh, I, I just was in no mental shape to be able to do that.

Um, it was a tough call, uh, but I had great support, um, for my chain of command, which was outstanding. Um, cause I know a lot of guys don’t have that. Similar experience. Um, that is what it is. I’m, I’m very thankful for that. Um, but, uh, yeah, I got, I retired in 2009. [00:10:00] Um, and, uh, went back into the coaching world.

Thank God I had something. I knew getting out that that’s as much as I would have loved to have stayed in the medical field. Um, whether that would have been paramedic or, you know, firefighter or whatever, I would have loved to have done that. I just, after all, every, all of the experiences we had, I knew, I knew I was never going to be able to do that again.

Um, but, uh, thankfully, you know, the coaching world was still there for me. Um, I had some really great opportunities that would then continue on in my career for the next 15 years up until, you know, just this past summer. Um, you know, with what I did with, you know, my, my day to day, uh, to find fulfillment and purpose again.

So very grateful for that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I’m just listening to your story and I’m hearing a lot of stuff that sort of was similar with my experience, kind of joined around the same time. I was about a year after you, but, um, you know, I, I was in the same position where I was, I was still, you know, [00:11:00] on the younger side, I graduated college already, but, um, I, you know, I was, I was single.

I really had no attachments and I had that same kind of feeling after 9 11, like need to do something, you know? And so I get where you’re coming from. Um, and I also walked into the recruiter’s office knowing the job that I wanted, and it was not the job that they wanted to give me, but, um, uh, I went in and I was like, I want to be a grunt.

I want to, I want to go do grunt stuff. And, uh, like you, I scored pretty high, uh, on the ASVAB and they’re like, yeah, you could do a lot of other things. You don’t need to do that. And I was like, yeah, but that’s what I want to do. And again, I, I was, I was, uh, signing up for National Guard. So I had a job. I.

And I didn’t need to join. And so they were like, okay, yeah, we definitely need grunts, but we, we could, uh, we could always use you someplace else too, if you ever decide to change your mind, but [00:12:00] I never did, uh, stuck with that through the entire time that I was in. But, um, but yeah, very, very similar. And, um, You know, I, I appreciate you sharing your story and your, your background.

Um, I know sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to do, but I, reason why I asked the question a lot of times of people like yourself who come on the show is because there are, uh, people out there. Who, sometimes they just don’t want to hear it from somebody who doesn’t know, uh, what they’ve been through and, you know, that right or wrong, you know, we can kind of debate and argue that, but, you know, especially someone who’s now working with veterans and, and doing the stuff that you’re doing with dogs for our brave, uh, I want people to know it’s like, Hey, they get it too.

You know, it’s not, it’s not, um, uh, you know, just a, you know, random person who has no idea what you’ve been through, uh, you’ve, you’ve been there, you’ve done it, you’ve, you’ve seen the, the terrible stuff, [00:13:00] uh, that war brings and, um, you know, God, if, if we could wave a magic wand and take all that away from, from all of us, and we never had to experience it, uh, that would be a wonderful thing, but that’s just not reality.

Um, so, so that. When you do transition out and you get back into the civilian world, uh, you know, a lot of times people maybe don’t have the same opportunities that you had, uh, where you had that, that coaching to fall back on. Uh, and that, that was kind of a, you know, a, a nice, uh, transition for you. Um,

Bryan Pieschel: Purpose.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, it gave you purpose.


Bryan Pieschel: the overwhelming majority of veterans don’t have purpose.

Scott DeLuzio: They don’t, yeah, and you get out, and it’s, it’s like you had a purpose when you were in the military, uh, that, that’s for sure, um, but then you get out, and now it’s, the challenge is rediscovering what that purpose is, and, you know, in your case, that, that was something that You had done in the past.[00:14:00]

Um, and in some cases, folks who are getting into the military, they, they’re getting in like right after high school. There really isn’t that thing that I did in the past that you can fall back on. Um, so discovering that I think is a challenge, but, but something that is important to focus on and not to take lightly, right.

Bryan Pieschel: It’s a, it’s a massive part of, of what we need to understand within our veteran community. Right. And what, what civilians really need to understand about one of the, one of the biggest challenges within our veteran community is, especially when you have those individuals that, you They enlisted because they need, they, they had no other options.

Right. Um, maybe, you know, educationally, right. They weren’t going to college. Maybe they didn’t have a career path. They didn’t know what they wanted to do. Um, broken families, not a great support system. Like you could just keep on going down and down the line. Right. Um, they go into the military and it’s very clear cut.

Right. Like, um, [00:15:00] you know, I’ve, I’ve said it a lot of times, like, if you really want to be successful in the military, it’s, It’s not that hard. Right place, right time, right uniform. Like if you’re doing those three things, you’re going to be pretty good, right? And you’re going to, you’re going to be promoted to a certain degree.

Um, you know, and you get a lot of individuals that, um, may have been a mess prior to enlisting and they enlist and they find that discipline and that self confidence, right? And they really take off. Um, Well, and that’s amazing. That’s a huge piece of, um, what we’ll circle back to later talking about what we’re doing now.

And it’s, and again, just what a lot of what people need to understand about the veteran community. Right. Um, but you go to those individuals that end up getting out, right. Whether they retire. Or they get, you know, they just, they do their four years, they do their eight years, whatever they end up getting out.

Um, or if they’re medically discharged, which we know there’s, there were a [00:16:00] lot of those over the last 25 years, given the amount of significant injuries and PTSD and psychological issues that we dealt with. Um, there, there are just so many challenges, right. That, that they face when they end up getting out. Well, then they come, it’s almost full circle. It’s like, What do I do now? Because as much as we’d like to believe that, you know, if you were an MP, you’re going to be able to get a job as a police officer. That’s just not the case, right? Depending on where you go. Um, and you can say that about a lot of different jobs within the military.

Um, they just don’t really translate into the civilian world for the most part. So it’s a very, very challenging, uh, path that, you know, our veterans try to find where am I going to go next?

Scott DeLuzio: right,

Bryan Pieschel: a lot of them just don’t have any clue where to start. Um, and that’s why we see just this significant struggle with so many veterans of falling into [00:17:00] that destructive path of alcoholism, uh, drugs, substance abuse, any of the vices that you want to throw out there, right?

There’s a plethora of them and they’re so readily available. And when you’ve lost that sense of purpose, it’s pretty easy to dive down that path and never come back out. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: that’s right, yeah,

Bryan Pieschel: so it, I am extremely fortunate, um, for having that ability to step out of the military world, um, and be able to go back into something, especially coaching.

Right. And I was, I was a boys volleyball coach, still am a boys volleyball coach at the high school level. Um, so having the ability to go back and impact kids. with a positive message, taking not necessarily directly what I did in the military, but just the discipline and the confidence and the hard work and that type of work ethic mentality, um, and bringing that back in to how I [00:18:00] developed myself as a coach.

And I developed other coaches that I trained that created a Great sense of purpose in my own life. And honestly, um, it saved me in a lot of ways. Um, because I had a lot of battles after I got out and it was, it was ugly at times and it still is, right? That never goes away. Um, you learn how to manage it.

Um, and, but again, there are a lot of veterans out there that just don’t have that. They don’t, they have no clue where to start. Um, and that destructive path starts pretty quickly. Um, and to pull them out of that is pretty tough.

Scott DeLuzio: that’s right, yeah, and, and so, uh, for, for the guys out there, the guys and gals out there who are listening to this, who are going through that transition phase or about to go through that transition phase, take advantage of the resources that are available to you that, that are going to help you figure out what that next, uh, Step is there’s, there’s a lot of resources out there.[00:19:00]

Uh, some from within the military, some, you know, other organizations, nonprofits, and things like that, who are there to help with that transition. Uh, take advantage of those and, and find, make sure you have that thing that you can work towards. It may not be like day one. You know, you get your DD 214 and tomorrow, uh, you go and start your, you know, dream job or dream career or whatever, but you, you can at least have those steps to work towards that, um, whether it’s going back to school or, you know, getting additional training or certifications, all that kind of stuff, uh, you can do that, but it’s more than just A job that, that you need to have purpose.

And there’s, there’s other things in life too, that can bring you that sense of purpose, you know, it could be volunteering. Uh, it could be a lot of different things. Um, you just got to find what it is for you and everyone’s going to be unique. So unfortunately I can’t say, Hey, go do this and you’re going to be a hundred percent successful and that there’s a [00:20:00] formula for everybody.

Um, but it’s, it’s going to be different, but it’ll take some time and some effort, but it’s worth the effort to find what that is.

Bryan Pieschel: and Scott, I think of one important thing that I struggled with for a while, and I’m sure I know a lot of veterans do, right? Um, maintaining that self discipline to remain confident in yourself and believe in yourself and your abilities and, um, Those of us that especially the combat veterans right but veterans in general because there’s such a small percentage of us now that actually enlist And do our time and serve our country The combat veterans right like we for a long time. There’s a stigma, right? We don’t talk about what we experienced We don’t dive into that. We push that off to the side like it’s not relevant anymore Once we’re in the civilian world, what a shame what a waste What a waste, right? Um, allowing, [00:21:00] so those individuals that you were just speaking to, right, I’m going to say to them, if you haven’t embraced anything, you know, if you haven’t embraced what you did in your time of service, whether combat or not, right, um, What you did is very unique.

Um, and it’s a source of strength. Um, and if you have had some, if you had some challenging moments throughout your, your military career, um, embrace them, um, face them, right? If you’re struggling with things that you dealt with, you got to face them. And it’s, it’s face them because we did something that is, Very, um, challenging.

Um, we did something that a very small percentage of individuals were willing to do. We signed that contract. We believed in, you know, I think the majority of us, you know, I would like to think that, you know, it, it, politic, politics aside, it does not matter. Right. It’s that [00:22:00] flag that flies. Right? It’s, it’s the true belief in who we are as a country and who we are as a nation, um, and that should be a great sense of pride that you served your country, um, in an all volunteer force, right?

You stepped up in a time, and for the majority of us, right, because we were in a combat operations for 20 plus years between Iraq and Afghanistan, um, embrace your struggles, be willing to face them, be willing to have conversations with those you trust, about them. So that way you can come to an inner peace with them and then use that as a source of strength that you go out into the world and go out into your communities and make a positive impact.

Right. That’s, that’s where we need to flip the script is to help those veterans that are still really struggling to accept what they dealt with, allowing them to do that, really dive into it. And that’s not a, I say that with an abundance [00:23:00] of caution, right? Cause it’s not. I’m not some tabbed out guy that was, you know, raw, like I would, I was an enlisted medic with a, you know, a sapper company and I did my job and I’m really proud of it.

We had a lot of hard moments, right? But I was a good soldier. I was honorably discharged and medically retired and whatnot. But, um, having to come to peace with the hardest moments of what we deal with, that’s a challenge, right? But man, once you. Once you accept that and you can, you can use that as a source of strength and realize that we don’t have to hide from those.

We actually should be utilizing our sense of self discipline and our sense of self confidence within the civilian world, within our families, within our communities, within our jobs, you name it. And the more of us that are willing to embrace that and get out and interact Man, what a difference we can make in this country right now.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, yeah, I think so too. Uh, and that, [00:24:00] that would be a great asset, I think, to, uh, to the country. And speaking of great assets to the country and to the veteran community, let’s talk about Dogs that are Brave and, uh, um, you like that transition there?

Bryan Pieschel: I do. That’s smooth. Real smooth.

Scott DeLuzio: Um, tell us more about the organization, its mission and, and all the, the things that kind of go along with it.

Bryan Pieschel: So I’m going to dive in. I’m going to dive into that info, but I love, you know, I want to bring home the point that you started off early talking about whether it’s a straight up VSO or organizations out there. I think one of the most important things that I’ve realized and I’ve been involved in the organization with for a little over eight months now. And that’s why I love your podcast because it, you give so many platforms, you give a platform to so many organizations out there. Right. They just don’t have the finances or the funding or whatever to really push their mission and what they’re doing and how they can help. [00:25:00] Um, we, we all know in the veteran community, there are entities out there that have.

Done us wrong. Um, it, let’s just, let’s just call a spade a spade, right? We know it. We know they’re out there. And for a lot of us, that turns us off to want to getting involved with any organizations. And that’s a tragedy because I have met in just the eight months that I’ve been on board here. Oh, there are so many people out there that want to help us that provide so many different resources.

That we have to make sure that, you know, a big part of what I’m doing is trying to make sure that I can connect with as many other VSOs, like minded VSOs, right? Um, you know, I kind of explain it this way, especially when it comes to civilians. How do we win a war? We need infantry. We need medics. We need air support.

We need cooks. We need logistics, right? We need artillery. We need ammo. You name it, right? We need all the pieces [00:26:00] working together to win the war. the same one that we’re battling right now within our veteran community. How are we going to win this war to really get our veteran community back into a better place from a mental health aspect, right?

We need as many resources as we possibly can all pulling on the same rope, right? Um, so, and that’s going to rely on a lot of those VSOs to start working together. Which the majority of them want to, right? They want to connect with one another. They want to lean on one another. Not one entity can win this battle.

There’s, there’s not one that can do it by themselves. So, um, Dogs for Our Brave doing all our small part of understanding that we have a unique asset of, um, we provide service dogs, um, specifically mobility assistance, service dogs. To significantly injured veterans, um, that have developed some type of catastrophic, catastrophic wound.

Um, and the biggest part of that is [00:27:00] we take care of everything for the life of the dog. Um, the veteran will never pay a dime for anything. Um, we cover the training costs, we cover veterinary care, food, bedding, you name it, right? Um, which is, you know, Substantial. Um, you know, the training of the dog is roughly about 40, 000.

Um, it takes for mobility assistance, um, because that’s a much higher echelon of, of service dog, right? Um, but, uh, that training can take anywhere from 15 to 18 months to train that dog up. Um, so there’s a significant cost there. Um, the, the fact that we cover the costs from start to finish and that essentially we’re in it for the life of the veteran, not the life of the dog, right?

We talk about the life of the dog, but you know, a dog service life is going to be anywhere from 10 to 12 years, hopefully, right? But at some point that dog’s going to have to be retired. Hopefully, [00:28:00] you know, that never deals with any significant injury or illness, but that happens too. Um, but if that occurs. That dog’s retired. We provide that veteran with another service dog if they so choose, right? So a veteran could, you know, a veteran within our organization could go through multiple service dogs as their, you know, you know, within 30 to 40, who knows, right? We’ve been doing this for a little over 10 years now, and we’re really just starting to hit stride as to who we are as an organization.

Um, but, uh, that’s in a nutshell of, of what we’re providing. Um, and it’s, uh, it’s extremely rewarding. All right.

Scott DeLuzio: in knowing that, uh, all the costs are, are covered because like you mentioned that there’s a significant [00:29:00] cost, I, I’m not sure if people really understand just the training alone, uh, for a service dog, any type of service dog, uh, are.

Going to be pretty expensive and could be cost prohibitive to a lot of people, uh, who might have to pay out of their own pocket for something like that. Um, so, uh, Having an organization who exists that covers the cost of training, but then also the veterinary bills, the food and the, all the other things that go along, uh, with that, uh, service dog, um, is, I think is super important because, uh, otherwise that might just be a thing that, uh, A lot of veterans look at it and say, well, I can’t afford that.

So what’s next? And let’s just move on to the next thing. Right. And they just skip over that as an option altogether, um, where it may be the perfect option for them, but just because of the cost, [00:30:00] they skip over it. So, so what you’re doing is, is making it accessible to folks who may not be able to afford that on their own.


Bryan Pieschel: Yeah, and again, the other piece of that is because we’re mobility assistance focused, right? We’re small. We’re small and we serve nationwide, right? We have veterans all over the country. So, anybody that served and was discharged with an honorable discharge, right? is able to apply for the program. Um, we get a lot of applications.

Um, my, you know, again, we’re, we’re a small organization right now. We are in the midst of, um, really growing ourselves as the organization itself in order to be prepared to expand our programming. Um, I believe we, I know for a fact we are going to get into The emotional, uh, support dogs, the psychiatric service dogs.

We are going to get to that place because we know there is such a great need [00:31:00] for veterans that could benefit from that type of service dog. Um, but we have a lot of great organizations out there that are providing that right now. Um, we want to be another one of those, uh, in the near future. Um, but right now we’re, we’re highly focused on the mobility assistance piece.

Um, so most of our veterans, um, have some pretty significant injuries. Um, several of them in combat, several of them, um, bilateral amputees, um, due to explosions, whatnot. So, um, You add all that up and it’s like, yeah, we don’t, you know, our founders, you know, Andy and Marilyn Gladstein, God love them. Um, they just, they realized pretty quickly, um, as this program really evolved that it’s great to provide the service dog for the veteran, but some of these veterans, especially the ones that are significantly injured, they’re, you know, they’re going to have to live off of the, you know, their retirement checks, whatnot.

Um, you know, they get social security, some [00:32:00] disability pay, whatnot. You see, I’ve Families, um, kids, whatnot, like that money dries up pretty quick. Um, so if this dog has some type of emergency, they’re not gonna, they’re probably not gonna have the money to cover that. I mean, cause you’re talking about thousands of dollars.

So they quickly understood we gotta do like, we gotta take, like, we don’t want this dog to ever be a burden. on the veteran, right? And that’s really what it comes down to. Like we want to provide the ultimate gift of a well trained service dog that you also is, you know, is going to be well taken care of.

So the added benefit to that is we remain in contact consistently with our veterans. So we get to build a really good relationship with our veterans, um, which is one of the most Attractive pieces of what, you know, this position, um, held for me when I came on board, um, being the director of veteran services, I am the [00:33:00] first veteran on staff, um, which I know a lot of people are surprised when I say that.

Um, the current president of our board, um, is a Navy veteran. Um, so we have that veteran presence, but we didn’t have a veteran presence in the, in the day to day. Um, so my position as director of veteran services did not exist. Um, When this job, you know, kind of, it was one of those opportunities that kind of fell into my lap through a lot of great relationships that just kind of crossed paths and some conversations took place.

And lo and behold, here I am, right. And I know I had kind of been struggling with, you know, I see, We see it, right? I’ve, I’ve gotten plenty of text messages and phone calls. We’ve lost a lot, um, from my unit. Um, you know, I know it’s over 10, I think it’s somewhere around 12, whether it’s directly related to suicide or alcohol or overdose, whatever.

Um, you know, I’ve worked really hard not to get emotional about this. [00:34:00] Um, and you know, the guys like to give me a hard time occasionally just cause, you know, um, maybe it’s cause I’m a medic and I’m doc, but, uh. Man,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Bryan Pieschel: real tired of getting those phone calls and those text messages. Um, seeing an opportunity to kind of get back in the fight, um, serve as doc again, and, uh, help take care of these guys, um, it’s something I couldn’t pass up.

It was one of those things that, uh, kind of back when I enlisted. It’s like, if I don’t do this, I’m gonna regret this. Right. Um, I can’t just volunteer. This is, I, I need to dive full into something that fills my cup in a different way. And let’s, you know, back when I enlisted, it was maybe I can help keep one of those faces off TV, right?

Maybe I, maybe I can use medical skills and God willing, I have the strength and that key moment to be able to make a decision, um, and, and keep one of those faces off the TV. Same fight here. Um,

Scott DeLuzio: [00:35:00] absolutely.

Bryan Pieschel: pretty good. We’re hurting pretty good. And I think a lot, you know, again, you see a lot of veterans like yourself just with this podcast, right?

We have to do something, right? We have to get back in the fight some way, somehow to start making a positive difference to help turn this ship around and start in, you know, making sure that those veterans that don’t feel supported, feel supported by their own. Um, and that’s what this job created for me, right?

And joining this organization, um, was an absolute blessing, um, to be able to serve these individuals again, serve these veterans, um, uh, you know, educate the civilian population. Um, you know, I talk about it a lot that everybody loves, you know, you love the dogs, right? It’s like, oh, we’re, and you know, the majority of our dogs we rescue.

from shelters here in St. Louis. That’s where we’re based out of. Um, so people, you know, [00:36:00] they hear that. They’re like, Oh, it’s rescuing dogs and you’re helping veterans. This is so great. And it is. And then I smack them in the face with reality of what we’re dealing with. and the intensity of what we’re dealing with, right?

Because I, you know, this has been very much a, uh, uh, uh, an evolving process for me over the last eight months, um, is understanding, um, how I speak to the mission, um, but more importantly, how I speak to, um, the veteran struggles, um, within the community. Um, We can’t be so rainbows and unicorns about this anymore.

We we’ve got to dive into the real hard, hard facts and make it personal for these, for these people to understand this is impacting your communities, whether you realize it or not. And let me tell you how, right? Because we know there’s veterans all across this country that are struggling massively. Um, so that’s.

A great [00:37:00] part about my, uh, my position is not only do I get to have great conversations about, um, what we do as an organization, but because of my time in service, um, I can speak directly to, and the struggles that I, you know, dealt with both in, in service, um, after combat, um, and then after getting out, and then a lot of the struggles that I’ve seen a lot of my brothers have as well. I can make it real and I can make it personal for them real quick. I’ll give them names. I’ll give them names of the guys that we’ve lost. I’ll give them names of the guys that we’ve lost since we’ve been, you know, since we came back from Iraq. I’ll give them the names of the guys that, you know, that we’re serving right now that currently have our service dogs that went through absolute hell on earth.

And are still fighting every single day, right? Let’s make it personal, um, because otherwise it’s just so easy to gloss over. Um, it’s, you know, we’re, we’re obviously, we need funding, we need to raise money, whatnot, but [00:38:00] that happens naturally if you’re being honest and transparent about what we’re really trying to accomplish here.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I, I agree. And I think a lot of the issue that you just described there is this mindset that people have, and I, trust me, I was guilty of this too, uh, before going through what I’ve gone through. Um, but. Just watching television and seeing all the, all the bad stuff that happens and just thinking to yourself, well, that’s something that happens to other people that doesn’t happen to me.

Doesn’t happen in my community or to the people that I know and care about and all that kind of stuff. That was such a wrong way to think about it. Um, because it. It happens to real people, real families all over this country in big cities, in small [00:39:00] towns. I mean, nobody is immune to it. Um, everybody will, will have somebody who, Is, you know, maybe from your town, maybe you don’t know them personally, but there’s somebody that’s going to be going through something significant, uh, you know, due to their military service.

And, you know, maybe it’s a, you know, mental health crisis, maybe it’s a physical, uh, you know, uh, you know, situation like, like what you guys, uh, typically are seeing. Um, Regardless,

Bryan Pieschel: sense?

Scott DeLuzio: something. And if we don’t know that these things exist, if we just, uh, you know, kind of just put our blinders on and just think, oh, that, that happens to other people.

That. I don’t have to deal with it. Um, then you’re right. You’re not going to see people who are coming out and supporting the organizations that are out there to help these people. And so, yeah, we do need to raise awareness and that’s part of what this is too. I mean, a large part of the audience on, on this show [00:40:00] are, uh, military connected, military veterans, service members, uh, maybe even their, their spouses, um, but a lot of it.

Uh, another part of it is the people who are just interested in finding out more about what happens in the military to service members, all that kind of stuff. So, you know, I think it is a very important thing, like you said, to, uh, to be able to, uh, Talk about this in a, in an open way, uh, so that folks do learn about this and I’d love to know a little bit more about, um, you know, the types of stuff that these dogs are capable of, of helping, uh, service member or service members or veterans or whoever, uh, they’re, they’re helping, um, the, the type of, you know, Tasks or jobs that these dogs are, are, are able to do.

Uh, and the reason why is because there may be somebody out there thinking, Hey, service dog might be able to help. I just don’t know if it can do that thing [00:41:00] for me. So, so what are the types of things that, that people are benefiting from by having these service dogs?

Bryan Pieschel: So, when you’re dealing with a mobility assistance service dog, right, um, you know, our dogs are capable of, you know, man, they do so many functions, it’s awesome. But let’s just talk about simple things from, They’re able to turn lights off and on, right? We train them how to, you know, use light switches and you know, they on command, they can turn light switches off and on.

Um, and again, if you’re, you know, if you’re not, um, if you’re physically capable of doing all of these things, I want you to imagine for a minute that just the most simple tasks, right, that are unbelievably challenging from, for some of those veterans out there that deal with significant pain, right? And how much that paralyzes them from being able to go out and do anything.

So everything I’m about to talk about what our dogs are capable of doing provides these individuals a sense of freedom and independence that they have completely lost. [00:42:00] Um, so building that sense of confidence, right?

Scott DeLuzio: And, and to, and to your point.

Bryan Pieschel: the retrieval.

Scott DeLuzio: And to your point is, is these things may seem to a healthy person who has full functions of all their, their limbs and everything else, they have full functionality. It may seem like a real simple thing, like turning on and off a light switch. Um, but to your point, uh, to these veterans, It’s not a simple thing and it’s, it’s something that’s extremely difficult.

And that’s, that’s why I wanted to kind of hear what some of these are. So, sorry to interrupt there, but go ahead.

Bryan Pieschel: no, you’re good. The basic retrieval, retrieval skills, right? So, um, you know, any of our veterans that have our dogs, right, well, you know, we attach ropes, um, very thick ropes with knots to, let’s, door handles within their house, right, through refrigerators. Excuse me, and whatnot. Um, their dogs are able to open the refrigerator.

They’re able to climb in, grab bottles of water, medications, uh, you name it, right? We can, we tailor that once the dogs are paired with the [00:43:00] veteran based on what that veteran specifically kind of needs in order to improve their daily lives, right? Um, I think the one point I want to make is the service dog is not meant to make the life of the veteran easier. It’s meant to make the life better, right? To create a better. Life for them, which means the veteran has to do a lot of work in order to learn how to handle the dog. So that’s probably the biggest aspect that is non tangible. Is that the right, you know, it’s it’s, you know, It’s that sense of purpose of learning the commands, learning how to handle the dog, learning how to build that relationship which ultimately, you know, if you’re going to care for that animal and provide the welfare for that animal, it has to happen every day.

Single day, which then immediately provides what a sense of purpose, right? So first and foremost, a service dog for those individuals that are capable. Of [00:44:00] taking care of a dog, find that sense of purpose with that piece of it, right? But then when you go into what else the dog provides, right? Anything that’s dropped, right?

And for some individuals, whether they’re wheelchair bound or they don’t have the ability to bend over whatnot, you drop your keys, right? The dogs can pick those up. We train our dogs how to pick up dimes and quarters with their mouth. It’s unbelievable. Credit cards, right? They can pick it all up. It’s unbelievable, right?

And they immediately know the dog knows immediately. And, you know, it’s absolutely mind blowing. I own dogs, right? I’ve been around animals my whole life, but coming here and watching this every day and seeing what our dogs are capable of doing is nothing short of incredible, right? And it’s not, it’s not magic.

These, our trainers, you know, put in a massive amount of work with these dogs every single day for hours and hours for 15 to 18 months just to get one dog ready. Um, but, [00:45:00] um, the retriever skills, right. And then, you know, but on top of that, then you have the PTS symptoms that are able to, you know, Take advantage of as well from nightmare and eruption to anxiety based situations whether it’s you know in the home and whether you know, it’s panic attack anxiety attack at home or social settings, right being able to provide comfort and support from anxiety in social settings, which We know a lot of our veterans struggle with, um, being out in public, being out in big crowds, um, especially the combat veterans, that’s, that’s, that can be very challenging for them.

So, um, that’s kind of the secondary phase, part of what our dogs specifically provide, because it’s so heavily focused on the mobility assistance piece. Um, but we do bracing and pulling when necessary. So most of the dogs that come out of our organization are going to be larger breeds. Retrievers, you know, whether it be golden or labs, um, [00:46:00] full size poodles, whatnot.

They, our dogs have some size to them because again, if we have individuals that are amputees, we’re all chair bound, you know, there will be some pulling and bracing involved. So, um, that’s a huge source of, uh, of, uh, stress relief from our, from our veterans being able to know they can rely on their dog being there.

Um, But then the nightmare interruption, the anxiety, um, uh, interruption, and just that overall relationship, right? Um, essentially having a battle buddy,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah,

Bryan Pieschel: that’s got your back. Um, that’s, you know, ultimately, if you’re doing your job as a dog handler, if you will, um, you know, and you’re utilizing this, and I don’t, I don’t say this in a way to cheapen or lessen what the dog is, right?

But the dog’s a resource. It’s a tool, um, for this veteran to help heal and live a better and more purposeful life. [00:47:00] Um, the more you are utilizing that resource properly and really working on that relationship, which is a 50 50 relationship, the more you’re going to get out of that service dog. Right. Um, so a lot of what we have to do as well is educate our veterans on how to properly handle your dog.

Um, and obviously there’s a lot of testing and training that has to go on, but it’s continued training as well. Um, if there are issues and there’s going to be issues, right, we’re dealing with animals. We’re dealing with veterans and we’re dealing with animals. So if that’s not a challenging mission, you know, I don’t know what is, right?

I mean, veterans are a challenge of our own. Uh, every one of us is such a, has such a unique situation, right? Um, and we’re pretty stubborn. Um, but then the vet, you know, dealing with an animal, it’s just, that’s a challenge and you have to know how to deal with that. And there are going to be struggles. And if they struggle with it, they call us.

We walk through it, whether we jump on a video call, if need be, we’ll hop on a [00:48:00] plane, go to them, we’ll do some training, whatnot. We’ll correct any, you know, major issues. So it’s a, it’s a constant process, but, uh, in the end, you know, we see the life changing, uh, ability that these animals have to make on our veterans.

Um, just watching, you know, seeing and hearing our stories and meeting some of these guys, man, Scott, it is, it is unbelievable to see what, how much their lives have changed. Like, and I just see videos from some of these guys cause I wasn’t here obviously when they came into the organization and see where they are now is, uh,

Scott DeLuzio: Oh yeah.

Bryan Pieschel: the hell out of me every day.

Um, to understand that I have such a great opportunity here, not just to support. our veterans, but to challenge our veterans, right? Like this is hard work. Um, you have to accept that mission. You have to accept the fact that like, you’re going to have to put in here, right? This is [00:49:00] not an enabling program.

This is not a handout program. And I think a lot of veterans need that. They need that little bit of a foot in the rear, uh, get themselves going again. Um, they need that challenge. They need to accept that challenge. Um, that’s what, that’s what really drives me, um, is being able to help with that piece.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think when, to your point, when people are just handed something, um, you know, every once in a while, you’re going to get somebody who they, they need, they need that help. They need to be handed something to, to get them to a stable position and so that they can accept a challenge like this. Okay.

So I’m not, I’m not talking about that type of thing, uh, where, where someone’s in that kind of dire situation, but, um, you know, where, where you have a person who is capable of being a handler. And doing the hard work, taking that challenge on, um, when you have that, that [00:50:00] person, if they are just handed, you know, everything to them, they’re not going to appreciate, uh, the.

The amount of, um, you know, benefit that they’re getting from it. If it’s just handed to them, um, if whether it’s financial resources or other resources, they’re not going to appreciate it quite as much as if they, they put a little sweat equity into whatever it is. If they, they are doing some work, uh, you know, with the dogs in this case, for example, um, and they are putting in that hard work and accepting that challenge, then.

They’re going to appreciate just how much the dogs are actually doing for them once when, uh, you know, they get the dog and once when everything is, is, uh, you know, kind of working. Um, but, but if they were just handed a magic solution that, you know, fixes everything, they’re not going to appreciate it quite as much, um, as if [00:51:00] they, they, they put that, that effort in, I don’t, I don’t think.

Bryan Pieschel: There’s an investment, right?

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah,

Bryan Pieschel: There’s an investment on their end. Um, and again, going back to a lot of what we talked about. Earlier, it feeds into exactly that, right? Like if this dog is the gateway to them building that self, you have to be disciplined, right? You have to be disciplined in how you care for the dog every single day.

And I think we understand the word discipline when it comes to the military. Right. Um, I’ll shameless plug, right?

Scott DeLuzio: there you go.

Bryan Pieschel: You look at the flag up there, like, I believe in it. Um, and it’s, you know, I’m sure plenty of your viewers know who Jocko is and discipline equals freedom, but, uh, we have no affiliation with them, but he’s, you know, but that discipline piece is something that we miss so drastically.

Um, and that’s where a lot of us lose that sense of self confidence. This is such a great opportunity for us to help build that sense of [00:52:00] discipline and self confidence because they want to take care of that resource that we’ve provided them. Um, they have a responsibility now. Um, and then that can, Branch out, right?

That can have tentacles and it can really start encourage them to start doing other things because they now believe in themselves again. Um, but it starts with them wanting to put in some work, right? Wanting to invest in themselves ultimately is what it comes down to is invest in themselves again. Um, and we struggle in the veteran community.

I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again, right? We’re so god awful at asking for help. We are absolutely terrible at it. But that’s part of who we are, uh, you know, within the military is figure it out, right? Adapt and overcome, figure it out, find a solution. Um, so ultimately, a lot of times that’s what we’re doing.

If we can’t find a solution, what do we do? We, we, we put that on ourselves. Um, [00:53:00] we take that personally that, um, We’re not, I don’t know, whatever, you know, it just knocks that self confidence down that we don’t have the ability to find the solution there, right? So therefore we don’t want to ask for help because we’re embarrassed, we feel like we’re a failure, whatever the case may be.

Um, we can go on and on, right? And I know there’s plenty of vets out there that feel the same way. Um, That re that reverts back to diving into our source of strength of who we are and what we’ve accomplished throughout our military careers. Um, and again, if we can just be, you know, in a small way, um, an avenue for some of our veterans, especially the more significantly injured ones to get back, back on that path of finding their discipline and getting back into self-confidence. What a great opportunity we have.

Scott DeLuzio: Definitely. And it’s, it’s definitely a huge opportunity for those veterans who, um, are facing these, these sorts of challenges. And, um, I know you said it, it’s, [00:54:00] you know, 15, 18 months or so to train a service dog. Um, do service dog or service dogs in training, uh, before you have a veteran that you, you train?

Compare them up with, or is it like a veteran comes, applies, they get it accepted. And then that’s when the work starts. Uh, how, how does that all work?

Bryan Pieschel: So for our organization, right now, this, I’m just going to speak for dogs for our brave, right? Because of what we provide with the mobility assistance service dogs. So in the facility we’re in right now, which is very small, um, maximum dogs we can house in the facility is 10. Right now we have six because that’s actually probably ideal, um, because we do have a smaller facility.

Um, but these dogs are all going through training right now. Um, only. One of them is currently paired with a veteran that we have in queue. Um, so, all these dogs, it’s five phases that these dogs go through, okay? Um, the first phase is basic skills phase, what not, that’s about six [00:55:00] months, um, before they graduate into phase two.

We will not pair a dog until phase three. And the simple reason being, I’ve learned so much about the service dog industry, um, and for your viewers that aren’t well, like the service dog injury industry, specifically for veterans. is very, very new, like 20 years, right? Um, so we are very much in the pioneering stage of, of what it means to have service dogs for veterans.

Um, especially because of the, the emotional support dogs and psychiatric service dogs, which is a much greater need. Um, but I believe the, the mobility assistance service dog piece is only going to grow. Let’s talk about the fact of how many veterans went out on eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 deployments and were front, you know, they were combat guys, right?

What are their bodies going to look like in another 10 years? And I don’t care how great you take care of yourself, the amount of trauma that occurred to your body, humping around all that gear, right? Like constantly the backs, the knees, the shoulders, [00:56:00] right? Our bodies are going to start breaking. So, The ability for the mobility assistance service dog industry to really grow is very much going to be a need over the next 10 or so years.

In my opinion, that’s my opinion, right? But, um, I think that we have such a great opportunity early on to understand, um, through trial and error, like how we pair these, these dogs with these veterans, right? So going back to the phasing process. Phase three is when we pair them, because we found out, and again, this was before I came on board, that, so, any service dogs that enter into the training, and I’m not just talking about us, I’m talking about in the industry in general, 20 percent of those dogs will actually graduate to become service dogs.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Bryan Pieschel: That is I would the first time they told me that I’m like that’s not true and they’re like no That’s like the washout rate is exceptionally high. I was like, holy cow. That’s a challenge [00:57:00] like

Scott DeLuzio: training Navy SEALs.

Bryan Pieschel: Yeah, right seriously So understanding that is so important, right? So if we pair these dogs with a veteran, let’s say in phase one or phase two The likelihood of that dog washing out at some point is pretty damn high before they even graduate.

So then what do you have to do? You have to go to that veteran and tell them, sorry, we’re going to have to pair you with a new dog. Your dog just washed out. Like, we don’t need to inflict that psychia, you know, that type of psychological trauma on these. So for us, we wait until phase three. Um, then we bring our veteran in.

Um, they come in town, we take care of everything, right? Um, ideally we have two to three service dogs available in phase three. That they can work with over the course of a week. And, you know, the dog picks the veteran and the veteran kind of picks the dog. Right? Like there’s, you’re, it, it’s pretty cool to watch that relationship [00:58:00] form.

Um, hopefully by the end of that week, we’re in a pretty good place of identifying. Okay. We’re going to pair this veteran with this dog, right, um, veteran goes home and then we have two more phases to complete, um, before graduation and the final pairing process and we send the dog home, right? Um, but those last couple phases, phase four, phase five, we then specifically tailor that dog to their veteran and what their specific needs are.

So that kind of explains the process a little bit. Um,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that does help.

Bryan Pieschel: you know, they’re in the building, you know,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. That does help kind of explain it a little bit. I, I was, I was kind of curious to see, like, you know, do you wait to start training them because I knew there was some basic. Training that needs to be done like basic commands that probably all dogs are going to need to know and you know Do you wait until you get the the veteran and then start training a dog or or is it?

You know a little bit further along in the process Which I imagine by by phase [00:59:00] three you’re you have a greater confidence that the dogs gonna make it through than you do at phase One and so that’s probably a safer time to start introducing the veteran

Bryan Pieschel: And again, because this is a mobility assistance service program, that’s why it’s so significant that we wait because the timeframe is so long in order to train these dogs. So, um, you know, but there’s other programs out there that have the puppy raising program, right? Where the veteran, the veteran may have the dog themselves, right?

And they may have the puppy and they go in, um, you know, there’s, there’s two training models. There’s a community based model and there’s the national model, right? The community based model is, you know, if we’re here in St. Louis, um, and we bring three to four veterans in at one time in a group, right, and they’re going to go through the training together.

Right. Um, maybe they come in once a week for, you know, a couple hours, you know, every Wednesday night and they go through the training with their dog and then they go back home and they work on those things for the next week. Um, and you go through that process for six to eight months until they pass their, uh, CGC testing, which allows them to actually go out in the public with their service [01:00:00] dog. Um, You know, that’s the community based model. Um, but then the national based model is what we are, what we’re doing right now. So, um, we’re doing all of that training immediately once we have the dogs in the facility. And then pairing them later. So there’s, there’s options out there. It’s just a matter of, you know, from the veteran’s point of view, number one, what type of dog do they need?

What are they looking for? Um, what are they really, you know, what’s going to enhance their life the most? So yeah, there’s, there’s different models out there. And again, that’s part of helping the public understand, especially our veteran community, understand like, um, You know, that’s why I try to be pretty clear about what we offer.

Um, we’re very unique. Um, and I know obviously it’s very enticing when you hear, well, a hundred percent of the costs are covered by the organization. Um, well, there’s a reason for that because we’re trying to help those that are in pretty bad shape. Right. Um, because they, they, they just need a little bit more, um, because the, the, the battles they have to [01:01:00] overcome are just, they’re a little bit more significant than, than others.

Um, so that, that’s a piece of it. Right. And it’s, it’s hard to have to have those conversations with veterans that apply. And, but you know, the good news is I, I connect them with, you know, at least, you know, three to five other service dog, um, veterans that Organizations that very well could be a good fit for them.

Um, so it’s still trying to serve those veterans that apply for the program, because again, what were they willing to do? Reach out and ask for help. Um, and you give them credit for that, right? And I always thank them for that. That’s, you know, that’s a big step for a lot of them. So, um, there’s a long winded answer for, you

Scott DeLuzio: No, I, I got what, I got what you’re saying. It’s, and I think that was a good answer. Um, and, uh, you mentioned that the costs are fairly significant. Um, and I know there’s probably some people out there who are interested in donating, finding out more about the organization, uh, and also, [01:02:00] you know, folks who are going to be interested in applying to, uh, you know, get.

Get into the program to get a, uh, service dog themselves. Uh, where can people go to find out more information, to make donations, to apply to all that, that type of stuff, uh, that you guys might, might need.

Bryan Pieschel: So you can go to our website, um, df oob.org, d fob.org. Um, we have our application, our, our, our application is an online application. It’s the veteran introductory form, um, that comes straight to me. Um, I review it. Um, a DD two 14 has to be supplied, um, upon, um, uh, submittal. Uh, that’s just. Part of the process, right?

We have to verify your service time. Um, and then from there, if they’re, if I believe they are going to be a potential candidate, um, they go into the full blown, uh, application process. That’s a little bit more substantial. Um, but as far, you know, there’s other, there’s a [01:03:00] ton of information on our website as far as how you volunteer, donating.

Um, we’re actually getting ready to launch our Shopify store, uh, with a ton of merch and we’ve got a really, you know. Nice little sweatshirt. Everybody loves swag, right? Um, and if you, and at the same time, it supports the organization. Um, there’s some pretty cool, you know, there’s military emblems and what on the back.

So, um, but dfob. org. Um, we’re on all the social media platforms. Um, dogs for our brave. On Facebook, Dogs For Our Brave on Instagram. We’re on X, Twitter, whatever you want to call it. You know, uh, we’re on LinkedIn, uh, for the professionals out there, but, um, you can, you know, again, there’s donation opportunities on there.

There’s ways to get involved. Um, yeah, lots of information. all

Scott DeLuzio: I will have links to all of that on the, uh, show notes for the listeners. So, uh, the link to the website and your social media pages and all that, that kind of stuff as well. So, uh, [01:04:00] you guys don’t have to jot that stuff down. It should be pretty easy to find it. If you’re listening to this episode right now, uh, wherever you’re listening to it, you can just, uh, scroll in and click the link.

To, uh, wherever you want to get to. So, um, thank you for sharing all of that and sharing, you know, what you guys do with, uh, Dogs for Our Brave and, um, and your own personal experiences. I really do appreciate you, you sharing that, uh, with us.

So anyways, thank you again for taking the time to join us. Um, and, and sharing everything that Dogs for a Brave is doing.

Thank you.

Bryan Pieschel: and I appreciate it, Scott. Um, this was, uh, you know, I’ve said it numerous times. The more of us out here having good conversations, the better off we’re gonna be in the long run. Um, and as hard as those conversations are. That’s why they’ve got to be good conversations. Um, we got to talk through this, both awareness, um, for the, for the general public, for the veteran community, but, uh, [01:05:00] ultimately to encourage others to get out and do the same thing.

Um, you know, I talked a lot about the civilian world about, you know what, if you know a veteran that’s out there that’s struggling, have a good conversation with them, grab a cup of coffee, right? Um, that can make the difference, all the world. So I appreciate the good conversation, Scott.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you bet. Thanks.

Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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