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Idaho State University Veterans Sanctuary has new mascot, support dog Hero

Posted July 7, 2014

There is a new ‘Hero’ at Idaho State University in the form of a 10-week-old Labradoodle puppy who will serve veterans and be a new mascot for the ISU Veterans Sanctuary.

There will be an open house to welcome Hero to the Veterans Sanctuary on July 8 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Veterans Sanctuary. Refreshments will be served.

Hero, ISU Veterans Sanctuary new mascot, support dog.“I’ve got a lot of vets in recovery and wanted to be able to provide them a service that is out of the box,” said Todd Johnson, director of the ISU Veterans Sanctuary. “Hero will be a day-to-day fixture at the Sanctuary. Vets will be able to take her for a walk, throw her a ball or they just can sit on the floor with her and love her up.”

Johnson noted that support dogs have proved effective in other settings and believes Hero will be a hit at the Sanctuary as well, providing a positive, calming interaction for student service members and veterans.

“What sealed it for me was one of the vets was talking to me about an emotional support dog and said if he had a dog to pet he wouldn’t need so many meds,” Johnson said. “After that conversation I went ahead with the project. We’re thrilled we’re going to get this animal.”

Hero, a cross between a Black Labrador and Standard Poodle, will receive specialized training and will soon be spending days at the Veterans Sanctuary and nights with Johnson and several backups, when needed. Expect the dog to be a regular fixture at events involving veterans or the Veterans Sanctuary at ISU and in the community.

“One of our veteran students named her Hero to indicate her mission and academically link her to the literary character from Shakespeare’s comedy, ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’” Johnson said.

The Veterans Sanctuary has received some donations to help with the project, but is still trying to raise additional funds for food, veterinary care and training services for Hero. A funding support channel has been established through the ISU Foundation. To make a pledge to this project visit, select payment type and under “direct my gift as follows,” select “other” to enter the keywords “Hero Project.”

Johnson can also be contacted at 208-282-4245.