Knoxville humane society launches program for dogs, military veterans

(Photo: WKRN)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Humane Society of Tennessee Valley has launched a new program that teaches veterans how to train shelter dogs.

The goal of “Heroes and Hounds” is to help prepare the animals for adoption and veterans adjust to life back home.

The program was created by Michelle Goetze, an employee at the humane society and a spouse of a veteran. “I have a passion for both veterans and our shelter animals. I wanted to find a way for them to help each other,” said Goetze.

Ashley McMeans, a retired Air Force veteran, was the program’s first veteran trainer. “When a dog gets adopted, it’s just the best feeling knowing that I contributed,” McMeans said. McMeans worked with the first trainee dog of the program, Tubby. After completing the program in May, Tubby was adopted.

Veterans who enroll in the “Heroes and Hounds” program are paired with a shelter dog and begin training the animal. The dogs that complete their training, graduate from the program and receive a certificate. The veteran can then move on to help another dog.

For more information about “Heroes and Hounds” visit: or call 865-573-9674


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