Local pharmacy designated national provider of medicine for the nation’s ‘war dogs’

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Submitted/War dogs are used to perform a variety of tasks for troops and accompany them on daring missions. Submitted/War dogs are used to perform a variety of tasks for troops and accompany them on daring missions.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Jersey Shore Pharmacy on Ocean Heights Avenue has been designated as the national provider for medications needed by retired canines of the armed forces.

These so-called “war dogs” are often not adopted quickly because they return from the service with illnesses such as arthritis, post-traumatic stress syndrome, hearing loss, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, bowl inflammation, skin problems, thyroid deficiency, stomach ulcers and heartworm, according to Rachel DiStephano, a compounding consultant at the pharmacy.

“As a country, we honor the men and women who put their lives on the line each day to protect us from danger. Those men and women are true heroes to us, but as a country we don’t give enough recognition to our canine members of the armed forces,” she said.

Rachel DiStephano said military dogs play an important role for active-duty troops.

One such dog, Cairo, was strapped to an assault team member while being fast-roped out of a Black Hawk helicopter during the mission to find Osama Bin Laden, she said. Another, Lex, was serving in Fallujah, Iraq, and was critically injured when his patrol came under attack, but refused to leave his partner’s side, she said. The dog now lives with his handler’s family and is helping them cope with the loss of their loved one, DiStephano said.

Adoption of retired military dogs is sometimes hindered by the cost of their medical care.

“People cannot afford to adopt them, but with the help of Jersey Shore Pharmacy these precious heroes will get the loving home they deserve,” she said.

The pharmacy has developed a relationship with veterinarians over the years through its compounding services, so when the staff was introduced to the U.S. War Dogs Association, it seemed like a natural fit, according to owner Mark Taylor.

“We are happy to help. The owners just have to apply through the U.S. War Dogs Association. They then send us their prescriptions and we fill and mail them back to them free of charge,” Taylor said.

The U.S. War Dog Association is a nonprofit organization comprised of former and current military dog handlers who are committed to the support of military service dogs.

For information see www.uswardog.org or www.jspharmacy.com.

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