We are a national organization; a nonprofit supporting Military Veterans across the United States. Our mission is to address Veterans mental health by connecting Veterans through the outdoors while incorporating an environment of peer based mentoring and counseling. We do this through three programs; HUNTING, FISHING, and a SOCIAL program each uniquely focused on peer group based experiences in the outdoors. We only use world class guides and outfitters to provide the most exclusive and amazing experiences to our nations heroes!
The “Black Dog” is an international metaphor widely used throughout the western world to describe depression and ill mood; we use this metaphor to describe and champion a mission of supporting Veterans.
Veteran Founded, Veteran Run; By Veterans, For Veterans
Our Hunting Program focuses around the unique sport of waterfowl hunting. Waterfowl hunting provides the opportunity for medium to large size groups to hunt from blinds using shotguns and targeting migratory birds through four distinct flyways. Throughout North America the Pacific, Central, Mississippi, and Atlantic flyways bring migratory birds like ducks and geese down from far northern breading and nesting grounds to warmer climates in the winter. The season typically runs from September through February with specific birds targeted throughout the season based on their individual migration patterns.
Our current Partners:
Army Veteran Chris Slaten
Our Fishing Program is very diverse in that we fish for multiple species across the country. From Salmon, Halibut, and Lingcod in the Pacific Northwest to Red Drum, Trout, and other game fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Using commercial fishing vessels, our fishing events typically support small to medium sized groups based on capacity of the individual charter. The seasons and limits vary greatly across the country, but the catch is always bountiful and the boat full of excitement. Our Fishing program runs year round.
Our Current Partners:
San Juan Island Fishing Charters
Friday Harbor, Washington
Du'South Fishing Charters
Homosassa Guides Association
Navy Veteran Brandee Paisano
Our Social Program centers around events such as festivals, feasts, and concerts and typically supports medium to large groups of Veterans. We have attended craft beer festivals, beef and crab feasts, and local concerts while offering free attendance for area Veterans and their families. We partner with many organizations and local groups to provide access to these events year round. As a small part of our social program we also participate and support the local Wreathes Across America event in our home area of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Our Current Partners:
Fredericksburg Agricultural Fairgrounds
Craft Beer Festival
“the Black Dog”
Sir Winston Churchill made famous the metaphor of the “Black Dog” referring to his own battles with depression, but this image Churchill used of “the black dog sitting on his lap” goes back centuries before Churchill. The black dog is used internationally as a metaphor for depression and mental health in that the dog can be controlled, managed, and treated.
“Heal” VS “Heel”
HEAL-ing Veterans through the Outdoors is our mission and we provide an environment where Veterans have the opportunity to come together with other Veterans and speak a common language through shared experiences. This environment is not cold and clinical but warm, inviting, and for these Veterans instantly relatable because they share it with fellow Veterans.
The HEEL command used commonly in dog training simply means the dog must walk directly beside you instead of behind or in front. The dog is required to keep pace with you, only stopping when you stop and walking when you walk. We use this as an expression of our mission in providing Veterans the environment to heel their own black dog.