Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN) announced today its merger with Our Turn to Serve (OTTS), a not-for-profit organization in the Fort Wayne area that provides service dogs for veterans with combat-related challenges specific to PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and military sexual trauma.
For many veterans, the battle isn’t over when they come home—and the service-related trauma associated with their service to our nation impacts their quality of life.
“Janet and I absolutely adore the way ICAN matches loving service dogs with people who can find healing and more mobility with the support of a canine companion,” said Gov. Holcomb. “There’s no one more deserving of this than our heroic Hoosier veterans, and we couldn’t be more excited that more veterans and ICAN service dogs will have the opportunity to form strong bonds and gain increased independence together.”
Over the past 20 years, ICAN has provided well-trained service dogs for veterans with mobility issues resulting from combat-related injuries. However, in the past year, ICAN began pursuing a plan of action to broaden and expand its services for veterans.
“We feel it’s our duty to positively impact the lives of our brave veterans who’ve chosen to serve this great nation,” says Jillian Ashton, President of ICAN. “Our merger with Our Turn to Serve provides us the opportunity to reach additional veterans with well-trained service dogs.”
The missing component for ICAN was finding VA mental health providers to work alongside their program to help serve these veterans as they worked to train and receive their service dogs.
“By merging ICAN’s 20-year-strong operational structure, service dog accreditation program, and reliability of diverse funding resources with OTTS’s breakthrough relationships with veterans and the VA Hospital—ICAN can increase access to well-trained service dogs for veterans,” adds David Harris, President of OTTS.
Our Turn to Serve is becoming a division under the umbrella of ICAN services. The goal is not to disrupt current OTTS programming but increase its ability to enhance and provide additional service dogs to veterans in the Ft. Wayne area and eventually throughout Indiana.
“Our teams are working hard to ensure everyone involved with OTTS continues to feel supported, confident, and informed during this transition,” states Sean
Diamond, VP of ICAN Programs. “By merging our strengths with OTTS’s relationships, we will be able to increase access to well-trained service dogs for veterans in the Ft. Wayne area with a future mission of serving veterans all throughout Indiana.”
ICAN’s mission changes lives on both ends of the leash. Their service dogs provide independence and confidence for children and adults with disabilities and offer purpose and a second chance for inmate handlers.