Good Dog News
We hope everyone is having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. We wanted to take a moment to recognize the men and women who’ve served our country and to share the following information about how you can show your gratitude to injured veterans by helping to connect them with service dogs.
From Memorial Day weekend (May 27th) to Independence Day (July 4th), Dog Bless You and explore.org will provide up to 100 companion and service dogs to returning soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. For every 5,000 “likes” the Dog Bless You page receives, explore.org will donate a companion or service dog to a recent war veteran.
Put together in partnership with IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America), the Dog Bless USA Grant aims to spread awareness about the healing role dogs can play in the lives of those suffering from PTSD.
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The following information was provided by Wayne Pacelle of The Humane Society of the United States.
This Memorial Day, Help Connect Veterans with Service Dogs
So many veterans have returned to America from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflict zones with post-traumatic stress disorder. I am so grateful for, and humbled by, the service and sacrifice of these young men and women to our nation. When their service results in mental turmoil or physical disability, we have a duty to help them cope and to treat their needs.
It’s no surprise to see increased attention being paid to the use of animals, especially dogs, in therapeutic roles. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering H.R. 198, the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. This measure would create a pilot program that trains dogs for use in service roles, first by having veterans suffering from PTSD or other mental health conditions work with the animals, and then through the assignment of dogs to physically disabled alumni of our armed forces. One feature we at The HSUS especially like is H.R. 198’s provision for the use of shelter dogs in the program.
Now, just in time for Memorial Day comes a new initiative from Dog Bless You, the online community created by HSUS friend and supporter Charles Annenberg Weingarten, to connect up to 100 service dogs with returning soldiers in need. Between Memorial Day and July 4, for every 5,000 “likes” registered on its Facebook community page, Dog Bless You will provide the resources needed to fund a service dog to help our veterans.
You can help by “liking” the Dog Bless You Facebook community page, a site for photos, videos, and personal stories about animals.
Memorial Day is a storied holiday on which we reflect and honor the many sacrifices that millions of Americans have made in the best interests of our nation. This year, you can help to make it that much more meaningful for a veteran who might benefit from the companionship of a dog.
We only had one entry for our Nature’s Logic Giveaway, but one is all it takes! :)
The prize goes to Lanae who said she’d buy her Nature’s Logic at Chuck & Don’s.
Thanks for entering!
While most kids are asking for action figures and remote controlled cars, this big-hearted little boy instead asked for food donations for homeless animals.
Food is an ongoing need at the shelter and donations like Connor’s help to ease the facility’s burden.
The Joplin Humane Society recently shared a tidbit about the resources used at the shelter each and every day:
500 lbs pet food
200 lbs cat litter
wash 1,200 lbs laundry
spend $200 on vaccinations & medicine
spend $2,500 to operate the shelter
They say that change starts with the young. Connor is a shining example of a future animal lover. This sweet little guy must be learning something right at home.
Inspired by Connor’s generosity? Think of a way that you can help your local shelter. Collect food or blankets. Organize a fund-raising drive. Hold a bake sale….there’s many ways to help if you get creative. (check out our post 100 Ways to Help – free or low cost ways to help animal shelters in need for more ideas!)
Good job Connor!!
Please take a moment to share this sweet story with others. Maybe some will be inspired – maybe others will simply enjoy the respite from the sad news so often found in the world of dogs…..
Marilyn and her daughter, Brittany, raise and train puppies for Canine Companions for Independence, a non profit organization that provides service dogs to fill a variety of needs.
Brutus, a lab mix, came to Marilyn as part of the Canine Companions program but when it was discovered that he had IBS and atypical Addison’s disease, he was not able to continue the training to become a service dog. At that point, Marilyn decided to keep the sweet natured pup and find a job that he could do.
A physical therapist, Marilyn began taking the eighty-five pound puppy to work with her. When I have patients recovering from strokes who have a weakness on one side, it’s great physical therapy for them to brush Brutus or even lean on him for balance as they walk. And, he’s just so laid back and gentle, that he eases patients’ anxieties and makes physical therapy enjoyable.
Seeing how well Brutus did with her physical therapy patients, Marilyn looked into pet assisted therapy, thinking that this would be the perfect job for him. Now, at seventeen months, Brutus has been certified by Love on a Leash as well as the Delta Society. And, since his Delta Society certification is the highest level, Brutus can visit anywhere therapy dogs are welcomed.
Currently Marilyn and Brutus or Brittany and Brutus visit a local VA hospital as well as nursing homes, a senior center, and NOAH Homes which are facilities for mentally disabled adults. Even though he’s a big boy, everyone loves him, and he loves visiting people. One lady at a senior facility we visit is very anxious and cries a lot, but when Brutus comes in she is all smiles and even laughs a bit. And, it never fails to amaze me how they remember his name, even in the Alzheimer wing, though they don’t remember my name. Clearly he makes a bigger impression on them.
Brutus is a people-loving dog, but he is especially fond of children. Recently he was able to win over a disabled girl who was deathly afraid of dogs. Even though she had kept away from the other therapy dogs, she was drawn to Brutus and came over and sat by him, amazing the staff. This experience convinced Marilyn that she and Brutus need to increase his visits with children. They have already begun visiting at a library reading program and plan to seek out residential homes for children as well as facilities for mentally handicapped youngsters.
Brutus, despite his health problems, maintains a busy schedule, and Marilyn hopes that with medication and regular monitoring, he will have a long career as a therapy dog. He’s just such a big love and, though I’ve never had a therapy pet before, this is obviously Brutus’ calling. Anyone who chooses to get involved in pet therapy will discover what Brittany and I have and that is that we think we’re bringing something special to those we visit, which of course we are, but, as it turns out, we, ourselves, get so much out of it as well. Pet therapy changes lives, including our own.
Have a question for Marilyn: Brutus’ Mom
Meet Lee’s therapy dog: Frosty
Help children understand assisted living and nursing homes with the Nurse Frosty books: Nurse Frosty