Jacksonville Humane Society Offers Veterans Animal Care Training Action News Jax

Jacksonville – The Jacksonville Human Society (JHS) is launching its Paws & Stripes Academy on Tuesday, August 9, for veterans interested in starting a career in animal welfare, training, or veterinary medicine.

Professionally trained JHS staff will provide one-on-one coaching and certification programs during the free four-week professional training program, which includes classroom instruction and hands-on training from experienced animal care professionals.

Program coordinator Kevin Kane, a 22-year retired army veteran, describes the training as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The self-proclaimed animal lover has volunteered to coordinate the program which combines his passion for working with veterans and animals. According to Kane, the program gives veterans a “head start” in a breeding career.

“Veterans provide the support of a traditional volunteer while learning the path to a new career as they transition from the military to the civilian sector,” he said.

A wide range of JHS instructors will work both in and out of the classroom to teach students how to interact with and care for animals. Students will also work side-by-side with veterinary technicians to learn the basics of animal care, including how to draw blood and deliver vaccines. Shelter training includes how to care for and sanitize the living quarters of animals waiting for their forever home.

“Veterans will also follow the JHS adoption team as they learn about the process of fostering and adopting pets.” Kane continued.

The JHS describes the combination of veterans and shelter animals as a perfect fit. Dogs and cats are stressed about living in a shelter. Losing a family and feeling lost and alone is difficult. Surrounded by strange sights, sounds and smells is also difficult.

“Our team is doing their best to comfort them with nurturing and compassionate care – but it’s still an overwhelming situation for many,” they said.

The JHS described “our nation’s heroes” — those who know the power of sacrifice and those who have experienced prolonged stress or trauma — as capable of empathy and support for shelter animals. They also suggested that these brave men and women might just need a little one-on-one time with a wagging tail.

“The Jacksonville Humane Society is thrilled to offer this specialized opportunity to Jacksonville veterans and provide them with guidance and coaching for a new career after the military,” said Denise Deisler, CEO of JHS.

Deisler, herself a military veteran, described Jacksonville as a caring and compassionate military town. The program also includes employment references.

“Our goal is to transition our graduates into careers in animal care with partner organizations in the Jacksonville community,” Kane said. “Graduates gain the skills, experience and knowledge they can put on their resume and communicate confidently in a job interview.”

Kane nodded to the Jaguers Foundation for providing a grant for the program.

“Thanks to the support of our many partners, this program is offered free of charge,” concluded Deisler. “We just hired one of our recent graduates and hope this trend continues.” Deisler concludes.

Five cadets are allowed per class with six training programs held per year.

Next course dates:

August 9 – September 2, 2022

October 4 – October 28, 2022

Classes and training take place Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information, contact [email protected] or call 904-493-4583.

Benjamin M. Yerger