BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — A show of support this holiday season for ‘deployed soldiers’ and their military dog partners. The “heroes and hounds” program puts together care packages to be sent to members of the military who are serving overseas.
At Fidelco, they know dogs are man’s best friend and not just the guide dogs they breed and train there. That’s why they support Heroes and Hounds.
“This is the 4th year that the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation employees and volunteer have given back to the community and what we’ve done is support our military working dogs deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Eliot Russman, Fidelco CEO.
Those dogs need things like doggles – those are goggles for dogs – so those are among the tactical items donated to go into each care package.
“And it also includes things so they can have fun, like toys, dog beds and grooming items, brushes, toothbrushes, things like that,” said Julie Unwin, FIDELCO COO.
And when it’s all ready to go, Santa himself oversees the loading of his minivan…I mean sleigh.
Employees and volunteers at Fidelco may donate a lot, but the idea came from the Simsbury Police Department, where the animal control officer served in the marines and wanted to do something to recognize and give back to the canines who are serving.
“Just this year alone, I’ve sent roughly 360 packages. Just yesterday I made a delivery of a truck and trailer full of items,” said Mark Rudewicz, Simsbury Animal Control Officer.
With everything that Santa and his Fidelco helpers brought, that number will keep going up. Officer Rudewicz takes it all up to Westover AFB to be shipped overseas. There’s plenty of need for the care packages because there is plenty of need for the dogs.
“I say this with all the modern technology, nothing still beat the olfactory scent receptor of that K9,” said Rudewicz.
In other words, man’s best friend might just be a dog’s nose.