JACKSON TOWNSHIP -- A couple from the Herndon area is ready to start adopting out dogs from their kennel in Northumberland County. The couple opened their home to military and police dogs and now they want to match these dogs with combat veterans.
Over the years, Mike and Anne Gibbs adopted 10 dogs labeled by shelters as "difficult placements." Some of the dogs suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from serving overseas, just like humans do. That's why the Gibbs family wants to match these dogs with war veterans.
Sheera is a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois who is as friendly as can be. But dog shelters didn't always see her that way. As a retired narcotic dog who worked long hours at the California/Mexico border, Sheera was seen as a "difficult placement" to shelters.
That's where Anne and Mike Gibbs come in. They adopted Sheera, and realized there was a big need for aggressive dogs needing homes.
"So then we started taking in difficult dogs and dogs that had issues and started working with them," Anne said.
After adopting Sheera, the Gibbs family started K9 Hero Haven. They adopt former police and military dogs and rehabilitate them. But now they are expanding. The couple has a kennel. They are taking in more dogs and placing them up for adoption.
Cir served in Afghanistan. The family is also getting five more dogs who also served in Afghanistan. They're all looking for good homes.
The couple isn't just adopting dogs out to anyone. They are looking for veterans to give these dogs their forever homes.
"With placing them that way it would help both the veteran and the canine help deal with a lot of the issues because each one would know what the other one is going through," Anne said.
"It doesn't matter that they're a dog, they're still a veteran. You bond with them as you do any veteran," Mike said.
Mike Gibbs knows this all too well. He served in the United States Army in Iraq from 2004 to 2005.
"You always have a buddy overseas. You always have somebody there beside you. You come home and a lot of times you don't have that anymore. So with the dog it gives that back to you again," Mike said.
The couple says they will get five more canine veterans tomorrow. For more information on how you can adopt them, email them at email@example.com.