KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Service dogs and their handlers were recognized for their hard work Saturday during a graduation ceremony.
Paws & Badges, Inc. graduated their fourth class service dogs. The nonprofit provides the service dogs for free for first responders, veterans, and civilians living with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The organization was started by former Knox County Sheriff’s Office employee Michael Bartleson because he wanted to help others suffering from PTSD. Donations allow the organization to provide free training, service dog vests, leashes, collars, and vest patches. The average cost of training a service dog is between $20,000 and $60,000.