Jacksonville — The Jacksonville Human Society’s (JHS) begins its Paws & Stripes Academy on Tuesday, August 9, for veterans interested in launching a career in animal welfare, training, or veterinary medicine.
Professionally trained JHS staff will provide individual coaching and certification programming during the free, four-week, job skills training program which includes classroom instruction and hands-on skills training from experienced animal care professionals.
Program Coordinator Kevin Kane, a retired 22-year Army veteran, describes the training as a unique experience. The self proclaimed animal lover volunteered to coordinate the program that combines his passion for working with both veterans and animals. According to Kane, the program give veterans a “leg up” in a career of animal husbandry.
“Veterans provide the support of a traditional volunteer while learning the pathway to a new career as they transition from the military into the civilian sector,” he said.
A wide array of instructors from JHS will work both in and out of the classroom teaching students how to interact and care for animals. Students will also work side by side with veterinary technicians learning the basics of animal care including how to draw blood and dispense vaccines. Shelter training includes how to care and sanitize the living quarters of animals waiting for their forever homes.
“Veterans will also shadow the JHS adoption team learning the process of taking animals in and adopting animals out.” Kane continued.
The JHS describes the combination of veterans and shelter animals as a perfect fit. Dogs and cats are stressed 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 does their very best to comfort them with enrichment and compassionate care – but it is 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 empathizing and supporting shelter animals. They also suggested that these brave men and women may just need a little one-on-one time with a wagging tail.
“The Jacksonville Humane Society is excited 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 the JHS.
Deisler, herself a military veteran, described Jacksonville as military town that’s caring and compassionate. The program also includes job referrals.
“Our goal is to move our graduates to careers in animal care with partner organizations in the Jacksonville Community,” said Kane. “Graduates gain the skills, experience and knowledge that they can put on their resume and communicate confidently during a job interview.”
Kane gave a nod to the Jaguers Foundation for providing a grant for the program.
“Thanks to the support of our many partners, this program is provided at no-cost,” concluded Deisler. “We just hired one of our recent graduates and hope to see that trend continue.” concluded Deisler.
Five cadets are allowed per class with six training programs held per year.
Upcoming class dates:
August 9 – September 2, 2022
October 4 – October 28, 2022
Classes and training take place Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For more information contact Paws.Stripes@jaxhumane.org or call 904-493-4583.
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