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Farmingdale bedding co. makes comfy donations to local vets and their service dogs

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A local mattress and bedding company recently gave the gift of comfort to incoming veterans and their service dogs.

Bedgear, based in Farmingdale, recently visited the Guide Dog Foundation in Smithtown for a full day of donations and bed-making to support the next class of veterans and their dogs who will be staying on the campus during trainings.

Located at 371 East Jericho Turnpike, the Guide Dog Foundation provides guide dogs and training free of charge to people who are blind or who have low vision. The team behind the organization helps train and place these service dogs to help increase independence and enhance mobility for a better quality of life.

However, 20 years ago, the foundation created a subset of the nonprofit, America’s VetDogs, dedicated to training and placing guide and service dogs for veterans with disabilities. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police and emergency medical personnel. 

So, last week, team members from the Bedgear Foundation (the company’s nonprofit arm) helped set up the dorms at the Smithtown campus for the next class of veterans and their pups who will be living there while the dogs are in training. The group donated everything from mattresses, sheets, pillows and blankets to the incoming class, and even a few doggie beds for the four-legged friends.

“At Bedgear, we are dedicated to serving our nation’s heroes any way we can,” said founder and CEO Eugene Alletto. “This donation specifically is so impactful for us because America’s VetDogs is a nonprofit organization in our community. We are honored to provide the proper bedding for their clients and are proud to play a part in giving veterans and first responders back their independence.”

Once a veteran or first responder (from anywhere across the country) is accepted into America’s VetDogs’ program, they are invited to spend two weeks on-site at the organization’s headquarters in Smithtown. While on campus, veterans stay in a residence hall, fully furnished to simulate a dormitory.

The nonprofit provides transportation, as well as meals and housing, while visitors bond with their guide or assistance dogs and learn to utilize the aid that their dogs provide. Clients also learn how to work with their new service dog alongside a certified service dog instructor.  According to the foundation, it costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.

“While on campus, our clients spend 14 hours a day learning how to work with their new service dog,” said John Miller, president and CEO of America’s VetDogs. “Having bedding in each of our dorm rooms that will support the rest and recovery of our clients is so impactful to ensure they wake ready each day to continue training with their dog.”

Laura English, VetDogs’ chief administrative and financial officer, added that the donation will help the veterans’ overall well-being and that the foundation was grateful for the partnership.

“Our veterans and our guide dog recipients are going to be blown away,” she said. “It’s going to be a wonderful surprise for them.”

Scroll down for photos from the day of the donation. (Photo credit: Julianne Mosher)