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Connecticut nonprofit to pair guide dogs, wounded soldiers

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BLOOMFIELD — The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation has received a federal grant of $106,000 to place two German shepherd guide dogs with disabled service members and veterans.

The Bloomfield-based group has placed German shepherd guide dogs with military personnel and veterans since its founding in 1960. It says demand is rising, particularly due to traumatic eye injuries from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fidelco President Eliot Russman and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will join veteran Arthur Warren and his guide dog Zeke on Thursday to highlight how the federal money will help train and pair guide dogs with soldiers and veterans.

Federal legislation established the grant program to provide guide dogs to service members and veterans.

Fidelco has placed German shepherds with law enforcement agencies, search and rescue and missing child recovery organizations.

“Trained service dogs offer life-changing assistance for wounded and visually impaired veterans, allowing for independence and mobility that may otherwise have been out of reach,” said Blumenthal in a statement. “This federal award will support and continue Fidelco’s longtime service to our nation’s veterans. I will continue to fight as Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to ensure that we honor their service and sacrifice by providing them every support they need to live full and productive lives.”

Blumenthal is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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