Season of Giving 2017: Berkeley College Welcomes New Resource to Support Military and Veteran Students



Berkeley College Welcomes New Resource
to Support Military and Veteran Students


Berkeley College

In 2017, the Berkeley College Office of Military and Veterans Affairs (OMVA) launched a new initiative in its support of student-veterans. Skyla, a 2-year-old rescue dog, has joined the OMVA staff and is training as an emotional support animal to assist veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression or panic attacks as a result of their experiences while in military service. 


There are more than 440 active service members and student-veterans enrolled at Berkeley College.


The OMVA has hired a professional dog trainer who specializes in the training and development of service dogs. Tami Pichardo, Director of Military and Veterans Affairs, has adopted Skyla and will act as her primary handler. Once trained, Skyla will participate in OMVA programs and activities, and will spend time with student-veterans and veterans in the community.  


“When Skyla was rescued from a kill shelter, she got a second chance at life,” Ms. Pichardo said. “Many of our student-veterans are also looking for a second chance as they transition to civilian life. This is an opportunity for them to help each other.”


According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. They are not “pets” or “mascots,” but considered assistive aids equal under the law to a wheelchair or other device that assists a disabled person.


Photo Caption: Skyla, a 2-year-old rescue dog and member of the Berkeley College Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, interacts with a student-veteran enrolled at Berkeley College.

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