The Clear Path Story: 10 Years in the Making

Part 1: The Beginning – December 31, 2010

Written by Co-founder and Clear Path Board Member, Melissa Spicer

It is hard to believe that ten years ago this New Year’s Eve, a retired Air Force Veteran called me looking for a trainer to support the vision of a Dogs-2-Vets program. When I finally realized that Dogs-2-Vets was for Veterans, not Veterinarians, I became cautiously optimistic that I may be able to help. That statement alone shows how far removed I was from those who wore the uniform. But things were about to change as that one call became the catalyst for a passion, I did not know I had.

Although the Canine Program’s name and leadership have changed over the years, the focus has not. Our signature program still believes that Veterans living with PTS can mitigate their symptoms by working with and being matched with service dogs.  The irony of that first meeting was I too was living with similar symptoms and a life of isolation.

During those difficult times, one of the bright spots in life was my dog, Maddie. After adopting Maddie, I purchased a fledgling doggie daycare and training facility as a distraction to the fast-paced, daily grind of both my booming career and life in general.  This new venture gave me a refreshing outlet, eventually linked me to a retired Air Force Veteran, and gave me the inspiration to create Clear Path for Veterans. As the saying goes “the rest is history” and over the next few months, I hope to share interesting highlights and stories that will inspire us to continue supporting the journey home for generations to come.