ViacomCBS Veterans Network’s second virtual “Coffee with Vets” event was on the
topic of service dogs for veterans with mental health needs. The gathering was held
panel style with opening remarks by ViacomCBS VetNet’s Chief Veteran Officer, Rich
Jones. The panel was moderated by KCBS LA Promotions Manager, Mike Maas. The
panelists were Nicky Moore, Director of Operations and Trainer at the nonprofit Shelter
to Soldier, which provides service dogs to vets in need at no cost; SEAL Team actor,
Justin Melnick, and his dog Dita (also an actress on SEAL Team); Angelito Bautista, a
Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Alumni and Warrior Peer Leader.
The panel discussed their passion for supporting the military and veteran community,
the benefits of animal assistance for those with mental health struggles, and day-to-day
difficulty of struggling with mental health issues, and the criteria for eligibility when
seeking a service dog. At times, the panel shared deeply vulnerable moments, to inspire
strength, solidarity, and compassion in others. Mike Maas closed the event by sharing an excerpt from Julie Cameron’s book “Transitions.”
“Animals love us with constant hearts. They offer us pure joy, a place to love with simplicity and purity. In caring for our pets, we structure our lives. Their regular needs become our soothing habits. We walk the dog, but the dog walks us. Adding a pet to our lives adds richness and warmth. Losing a pet, we lose an irreplaceable friend, the companion of fond memories. Our pets are both our wealth and our witness. The sweetly and softly gentle our days. Today, I cherish my animal companions. I count myself fortunate for the time spent in their presence. I savor the connection of life to life and love to love. I celebrate the bond of our affection.”
"I'm deeply moved to know that there are people like Nicky Moore who genuinely cares for veteran's well-being by providing service dogs through the nonprofit organization
Shelter to Soldier at no cost”, says Richard Bethea, an Army veteran.
The random gift-giving was sponsored by veteran-owned business, Alpha Coffee. Watch the full event HERE.