Many of Delaware’s 80,000 veterans struggle with mental and physical disabilities that they are not prepared to face alone. Thanks to a little help from man’s best friend, they don’t have to.
America’s VetDogs, established in 2003, provides disabled veterans with service dogs that can help the vets live independently while offering them a sense of pride. For many vets, these dogs are much more than their everyday helpers—they often become their lifelong companions.
Benilda “Beni” Hartman Madani saw this firsthand when her husband, Ahmed “Doc” Madani, was kept company by his dog, Mia, during his yearlong illness. Ahmed, an anesthesiologist at Christiana Hospital for more than 40 years, suffered from congestive heart failure and was no longer able to enjoy activities such as working in the yard. With Mia, though, he was able to walk her and feel comforted. “Mia never left his side,” Madani says. “If he had a bad week, she did not leave his bed except to go to the bathroom or to eat.”
After her husband’s passing, Madani wanted to give someone else a similar gift. She started a GoFundMe page in Ahmed’s honor to raise money for a Delaware veteran to receive a service dog. She searched tirelessly before discovering America’s VetDogs. Since then, two veterans from Delaware have applied for a service dog from the organization.
“I know my husband would be very proud of me,” Madani says.
For more information, go to www.vetdogs.org.