When the on-air sign lights up red at the crack of dawn, nationally syndicated radio host and TV personality, Bobby Bones brings a smile to his listeners’ faces with his bubbly personality and kind soul. Now, Bones is placing his microphone down and stepping behind the camera to educate his audience about a philanthropic effort that is near and dear to his heart.
In honor of Service Dog Awareness month, the award-winning personality partnered with Dog Chow to support the brand’s fourth annual “Service Dog Salute” campaign. Similar to his previous work – he offered military veterans a platform to share their personal stories on how their furry friend provides support while suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Bones, Dog Chow, and Got Your Six Support Dogs spent the last year following three brave vets around to produce the documentary short film, Even Heroes Need Heroes.
“My career over the past ten years or so, I have been extremely military-focused because I understand that I don’t get to do, what I do if it weren’t for the men and women over there fighting for our freedom,” says Bobby Bones during an exclusive Country Now interview. “We try to build a house for a vet every year, and we do a lot of military things to help out people that are even currently serving,” he adds.
However, it was a heart-wrenching article about a service dog and his companion that sparked his new mission. At that moment, he was determined to educate those around him about the life-changing benefits a well-trained canine could have on an individual’s mental and physical health.
“I stumbled across a story about service dogs, and I was like ‘I don’t even know what they are needed for?’ I have seen them at the airport and the grocery store, but then I read how much they help our service members with PTSD,” he shares with Country Now reporter Tiffany Goldstein. “I thought…maybe our show could help! But, then I realized services dogs are $20,000 each, and nobody has $20,000 laying around. So, we started raising money, and we were buying service dogs for military members on the radio show.”
Three years ago, Dog Chow recognized the thoughtful gesture that The Bobby Bones Show was putting forward. Therefore, it wasn’t long until they joined forces to bring their initiative to the next level.
“We wanted to make this documentary for people like me…I was completely ignorant of how much they are needed and the job that they do. I felt like I was kind of making this movie for someone like myself. If they saw it, they would be moved to help, to support, or to spread the message. I wanted to do a story that people could look at, grow with, identify with, and hopefully help,” says Bones about the mission behind the motion picture.
The chilling clip features veteran and PTSD service dog pairs Shannon and Pepper, Tishawna and Archie, and Andy and Storm. Throughout the documentary, viewers will learn how the dogs handle obstacles such as night terrors, emotional detachment, and hypervigilance.
Bones took on the challenge as executive producer to encourage each vet to come out of their shell to help deliver a meaningful and impactful story. “I like to be in front of the camera because I’m better at it, but with being behind the camera, I just wanted to make sure that certain parts of their stories were focused on.”
He continued to share how his work with American Idol has prepared him for this role. “It’s a very personal documentary, and sometimes you have to talk to people and go, ‘Hey, we are about to be on camera, and I know your story, and you know your story, but the more you share and the more vulnerable you are… the more you are going to affect people,'” he reveals about the process.
“These veterans, they are not trained to be on camera. But, I can sit with them and go, ‘okay, I know this is a message you want to get out there, let me help you feel comfortable. So, you can share that message.’ I think that was a lot of my role, especially when I was on camera with them. These dogs mean so much to them, not just as a companion…but, as tools to get back to trying to have a normal life again,” says Bones with passion in his eyes.
Due to the current climate of the world and military forces returning back from Afghanistan, the radio personality believes that there will be an increase in demand for services dogs.
“I think there are going to be a lot of people that are doing things that we have no idea about what’s going on in the military, that are protecting us. With that, sadly, comes a lot of PTSD. The more money we can raise, the more dogs that we can get into their hands, the better shot they have of bouncing back and having an extremely productive life back here in the states,” he says. “Right now, it feels very personal, but it’s always felt personal to me. I never don’t want it to feel personal. They are coming back, and they’re having trouble…I would love for at some point in the future, for everybody that needs a dog can just get a dog or money would not be an object that keeps them from having a therapy dog.”
To lend a helping hand, visit DogChow.com/service.
Click below to watch the heartwarming documentary.