Karen B. London
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Decker’s Dogs
Denver Bronco helps military vets get service dogs
Eric Decker with service dog Rommy

Eric Decker is a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, but making it to this year’s Super Bowl is only one of his recent accomplishments. More important in the eyes of many is the start of his foundation Decker’s Dogs.

Decker’s Dogs is a part of Operation Freedom, which is the branch of Freedom Service Dogs of America that focuses on helping members of the military transition from active duty and combat to civilian life. They are paired with trained service dogs that allow them to function with less fear and fewer restrictions so that they can be more independent and happier.  Many vets have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), suffer from panic attacks and flashbacks, have TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) or are suicidal, and service dogs can make life better for people with such issues as well as those facing other challenges.

All of the dogs in Operation Freedom, including those in Decker’s Dogs, are rescued from shelters and trained to be service dogs. Dogs are provided to clients free of charge, but it takes roughly $25,000 and many months to train a single service dog. That’s where Eric Decker and his wife Jessica come in. Since starting Decker’s Dogs, they have raised many thousands of dollars, and placed their first service dog. They plan to place two more by this summer.

Maybe you are rooting for the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks in the upcoming Super Bowl. Perhaps you didn’t know who was playing and certainly don’t care who wins. Either way, it’s still easy to cheer for Decker’s Dogs and the veterans and dogs whose lives they change.


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

photo by Casey Bradley Gent, Snowshoe Studios

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Sharon Howard | February 1 2014 |

Thank you Eric Decker! We are Colorado Citizens for Canine Welfare. We work to educate the public and legislators about puppymills as well as advocate for animal welfare. We see John Elway purchases his dogs from Just Pets who buys from puppymills. They use John and Paige's photo for advertising on their website. We are certain the Elway's would never purchase from a pet store if they knew the cruelty perpetrated by mills on breeding dogs. USDA licensed means puppymill. A reputable breeder would never sell to a pet store. We would love to meet with him to share what we know. It would be even better to get a celebrity in Colorado on board with stopping animal cruelty. Is there a way to reach I'm through you all?

Submitted by Karen London | February 2 2014 |

Sharon, I love that you and your organization are working to educate people about this important issue! My advice for getting in touch is to go to the link in the blog to Decker's Dogs or Operation Freedom and use the contact info on the sites to communicate what you have in mind. Thanks for writing and best of luck with your work!

Submitted by PAULA DENMON | February 2 2014 |

Famous people who help or hurt animals make the news. And it is very important for animal advocates to use these events to make more citizens aware of the good things that are being done for animal welfare, and the tremendous amount of work still to be done. I really appreciate what Eric Decker is doing, and I hope that His Boss can be educated. There are great breeders who are in no way puppy mills for specific dog breed lovers. Buy from them if you must...while making sure that everyone knows about the super dogs that come from rescue...great enough to be Service Dogs.

Submitted by JCB | February 2 2014 |

Eric Decker is the reason I'm rooting for the Broncos to win Super Bowl 2014 (!)...as an online animal rescuer, I see the good, the bad, and the very ugliest of human behavior toward our innocent pets and animals...Eric Decker is using his fame for the best of reasons, to help those in need, and I am beyond impressed and grateful for his presence in the public arena. Rescuers are constantly fighting to save the unsaveable because folks do NOT spay or neuter, they allow their animals to run the streets, and do NOT take responsibility for these innocents...it's an uphill battle, but one we are trying hard to win. Thank you, Eric Decker!!!

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