Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 A Year in Review

Looking back at 2009, it has been a busy year filled with challenges and blessings.

In January, we launched Carolina Canines for Therapy as our own program after spending months developing the course material, registration and assessment. The program includes an affiliate through Teamwork’s Dog Training, Raleigh, NC and for the first time, the therapy program spans multiple locations in North Carolina. The third wounded veteran received his service dog from the Carolina Canines from Veterans (CCV) program in mid-January.

In February we were in full swing preparing for the 3rd annual Walk for Those WhoCan’t having pre-registered close to 30 teams stepping out to support the mission of Carolina Canines.
March found us saying good-bye to the first service dog placed, Saint. Joshua, the service dog placed in January was named the Booker Willoughby Service Dog of the Year by Chapter of Mega Tau Sima (OTS) at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blackburg, VA. And, the Walk for Those Who Can’t was held raising $20,000 thanks to the many volunteers, supporters, teams and individual walkers.

April brought us to the Coastal Living Show and the Azalea Festival Parade with preparation underway for PawJam in early May. We had to say good-bye to another friend, Service Dog Samson as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We also welcomed a new compliment of Board Members that are truly dedicated to Carolina Canines mission and services and share the passion to continue to service our community.

May events included PawJam and Vets Helping Vets, a fundraiser sponsored by North College Road Animal Hospital providing wellness checks for dogs and cats for a donation to the Carolina Canines for Veterans Program. And, the Ms. Atkinson’s 6th grade class of Shallotte Middle School raised over $500 in a fundraiser for Carolina Canines for Veterans.

June was busy serving two more wounded veterans with their service dogs from the CCV program, adding new dogs into the CCV program one coming from Tails U Win and Adopt-An-Angel, a new puppy in the civilian service dog program and Carolina Canines for Veterans was named the SPCA Shelter of the Week for our work with rescue dogs.

July celebrated a new pup into the CCV program donated by Carolina Animal Protection as a training exercise for the prisoners to learn how to train a young dog and we fully engaged in the world of social media managing a FaceBook page for Carolina Canines. August kicked off a fundraiser, Power of Ten, in which 10 people donate $10 each and ask 10 friends to do the same.

September we recognized our Volunteers for all their service in the annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic, welcomed two new puppies donated by Georgette and Jim Lynn, Serendipity Dry Pond Kennels, into the civilian training program, worked with our 6th wounded veteran as she received her service dog Isaac, and celebrated national recognition as a recipient of a Newman’s Own Award through Fisher House Foundation to reward ingenuity and innovation for programs that benefit service men and women and their families.

Service Dog Titus finished up his advanced training with a training mission to Disney in October. Our very own volunteer, Donna Sweetman was awarded the New Hanover County Volunteer of the Year and was one of 20 recipients of the North Carolina Volunteer Service Award Governors Medallion of Honor. October also found advanced trainers, Stephen LeQuire and Caroline O’Brien working with clients Kathy and Diane as they received their service dogs. Ms. Atkinson’s 6th grade class at Shallotte Middle School was at it again, this time over $600 was raised for the CCV program. The first annual VolleyPaws tournament was held at Captain Bill’s, Shallotte Rotary sponsored the first annual Coastal Hounds Walk the Town and at the end of October we were excited to launch a newly designed website for Carolina Canines thanks to our corporate sponsor and their creative design team, Talk Inc. and Home Health Testing provided an incredible look at the work done by Carolina Canines in a new video titled Triple Win.

We welcomed November with the 7th wounded veteran receiving his service dog, Titus and a new relationship with Air Compassion for Veterans making transportation possible for our wounded veterans to attend team training in Wilmington, NC. A new puppy for the civilian program donated by Richard and Carolyn Burton joined the family and a team of dynamic volunteers came together to plan the 2010 Walk for Those Who Can’t with a new location at Hugh MacRae Park

And in December the President/CEO reflected upon how he began his passion for service dog training and commitment to continue to service those in need. Christmas week found us celebrating the arrival of Stella, a 9-week old Anatolian Shepherd donated by Nancy and Ken Wargas of Full Circle Farms.

As we look back on 2009, we were faced with many challenges that we managed to deal with. Special thanks to our funders, volunteers and supporters for their unwavering commitment to support our mission. Without your support, we could not have accomplished all that we did. Carolina Canines for Service provided $280,000 in services to people with disabilities. Our volunteers logged an average of 2500 hours each month with their time valued at just over $600,000. We registered 79 Carolina Canines for Therapy teams who continue to touch the lives of thousands of people in their communities with pet therapy visitations. The total value of services provided by Carolina Canines for Service exceeded just over $800,000 for 2009.

We look forward to continuing to serve our communities. Wishing you and yours a Happy 2010!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Commitment

People ask me when I knew I was going to pursue training service dogs as a career. There are actually two answers to that question. The first answer is that when I was learning advanced training with Kojak, a big black lab in St. Louis, I knew I would do this for a long time. I went to class one night and witnessed the meeting of a young boy and his new service dog Crocker. The delight, happiness, joy, and glow that came from that 10 year old boy and that dog was nothing short of God’s miracle. The flame of passion was lit at that exact moment, and I knew I would do this for a long period of time. What I didn’t know then was shortly I would be leaving St. Louis and the life I knew there for Wilmington, North Carolina. I was very comfortable in St. Louis, with a lifetime of family, friends, recreation, and church. I had no intentions of leaving St. Louis for anywhere else in the world. He had other plans, and in September of 1996 I moved to Wilmington.

Moving to Wilmington was a big change, and as I looked for an organization to volunteer with, I found no service dog organizations existed in North Carolina at that time. So through a lot of prayer and soul searching on December 1st, 1996 Carolina Canines for Service came into existence; which is the second part of that answer.

I can still see that boy and Crocker, and a chill goes up my spine every single time I think of them. We have now placed 38 service dogs with our program and the same feeling, the excitement for the client, and that very soul identifying chill happens with each and every one. As times become more trying, we will continue to train as many quality service dogs as possible, whether it be one at a time or 300 at a time— that is my true commitment to the One we celebrate this Christmas Season.

Merry Christmas,
Rick Hairston

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Disney Give A Day.Get A Day.

Carolina Canines is pleased to be a part of the 2010 Disney Give A Day. Get A Day.

"Give a Day. Get a Disney Day." is a program that celebrates and inspires volunteerism.

Starting January 1, 2010, you may sign up for the program from As part of the sign up process, you will search and select from a list of eligible volunteer opportunities with participating organizations. After you sign up and complete your chosen volunteer activity, and the HandsOn Network has verified your service, you will receive an email from Disney prompting you to log in to your account and print a vouchers that may be redeemed for your free ticket to a Walt Disney World® or Disneyland® theme park.

If you plan to celebrate at the Disneyland® Resort, you can choose to redeem the voucher for a 1-day ticket to either Disneyland® Park or Disney's California Adventure® Park. If you plan to celebrate at Walt Disney World® Resort, you can redeem the voucher for a 1-day ticket to any of the following 4 theme parks: Magic Kingdom® theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom® theme park, Epcot® or Disney's Hollywood Studios™ theme park. Tickets are not valid for admission to a Disney Water Park admission, DisneyQuest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park or Disney's World Wide of Sports®Complex.

See FAQ and rules on
Things to Remember:
· You may pre-register at and receive an email from Disney reminding you of this opportunity. Before January 1, 2010, you can provide Disney with your contact information so that you can be reminded of when sign up begins and receive fun downloads in the meantime.
· Starting January 1, 2010, you may search for volunteer opportunities from this site and—once you've selected one, of course for Carolina Canines for Service, —sign up to volunteer and complete your service.
· You must sign up for an eligible volunteer opportunity through Only volunteer opportunities signed up through the are eligible.
· Volunteer time beginning January 1, 2010 will be counted towards the Give A Day. Get A Day ONLY if you have registered on
· Your volunteer time will be verified by the organization you volunteer for. All guests who participate in the program will be notified by Disney by email when their volunteer project has been verified.

What Will You Celebrate?

Monday, November 30, 2009

7th Wounded Veteran Receives His Service Dog

Cpt. Christopher Ayres, USMC, Retired was serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was injured at the first assault into Fallujah in April 2004 while conducting combat operations against enemy insurgents that killed the four U.S. contractors from Blackwater. The group was ambushed and sustained intense small-arms fire, light machine gun fire, and rocket fire. One of the rockets pierced the side of the vehicle and lodged in the engine compartment; right where the back half of his right leg just happened to be. Chris spent 75 days at Brooke Army Medical Center and left the hospital on a walker and forearm crutches. It took about 6 months for him to regain strength and learn to walk again.

Chris received service dog Titus, the seventh dog to be placed from the Carolina Canines for Veterans program. Titus came to Carolina Canines from Horry County Shelter in Myrtle Beach, SC and weighed a mere 46 pounds when he came to us. Titus is now a healthy 71 pounds and was trained by the prisoners at Camp Lejeune.

We'd like to thank Air Compassion for Veterans for providing air transportation for Chris and the Jameson Inn Wilmington for providing his hotel accommodations.

Chris and Titus arrived in Texas on November 22, 2009 and their first outing at home was to a Texans home game. If they can attend as event like a professional football game just one day out of team training, we think they are going to be a great team.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving Thanks

In this season of thanks, Carolina Canines would like to thank the many people supporting our mission and making the lives of people better in our communities. We could not accomplish all the work that is done without the gift of the hundreds of volunteers that give their time every day from raising and training our service dogs to visiting with their registered therapy dog in a nursing facility or hospital, to working with children to help them with their reading, volunteering in the office, organizing fundraising events or being a member of our Board of Directors. Thank you for the 2500 volunteer hours each and every month you give to support the programs.

Thank you to our in-kind donors for the many services and items you provide contributing to the programs and mission of Carolina Canines for Service. From the media, marketing, and website design of Talk Inc.’s Project Pet Project, the supply of waste bags from Doggie Deposit for the Carolina Canines for Veterans program, the green lasers used for training from On Point Lasers, the services of Wilmington Orthotics and Prosthetics to customize each service dog harness for the clients, and the incredible Triple Win video provided by Home Health Testing. Thank you.

To our many supporters, thank you. Whether you contribute monthly, acknowledge an honorarium or memorial, sponsor a service dog in training, or support a fundraising event, thank you. For every dollar donated, 94 cents goes directly to our programs. Because of you, Carolina Canines has provided over $280,000 in services this year alone to people with disabilities by providing a quality trained service dog to help them regain their independence. Over $25,000 in services has been provided in our communities by over 120 registered Carolina Canines for Therapy teams. Everyday these teams are touching the lives of people who need their day brightened because they are hurting or lonely.

In this season of thanksgiving, we say thank you to each and every person that makes our mission a reality.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's About the Impact

Serving the mobility impaired community with a quality trained Service dog training isn’t about the numbers, it’s about the impact. In our programs in Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC puppies are raised by volunteer foster families from the time the pup is 7-11 weeks of age until it is about 2 years old. This is an enormous commitment by our foster families. Attending weekly and bi-weekly classes, taking the pup on outings for socialization, meeting the everyday needs of the pup from veterinary care to food, toys, and love.

The service dogs in training are living, breathing “products” of our program. But unlike many “products” produced by for-profit and non-profit businesses, there are variables because the service dog is living and breathing. Variables come into play for the personality of the dog; can it handle the constant socialization in the public without shutting down? Another variable is the dogs’ health; it must be of sound health including strong hip development for the work that the dog will eventually do.

Over the years, many dogs have come through the service dog program and many had to be released for adoption because of a health of temperament issue. We are happy to say that the dogs released from the program have all been adopted into wonderful homes. And, while their release was a disappointment because it meant one less future service dog, it is always the right decision.

Every person with a mobility disability that receives a Carolina Canines Service Dog is a success. The receiving of the service dog is a culmination of many hours and many people giving their time and their hearts. Today we are celebrating the success of two recipients from the civilian service dog program; Kathy Ormsby and Diane Godwin. Kathy received service dog Eden in October after waiting four years for her dog. And, Diane Godwin received her second service dog, Issachar, in October as well. Eden was trained by the Morrison family in Myrtle Beach, SC with he advanced training completed by Stephen LeQuire and Issachar was trained by Ed and Jean Pridgen with advanced training completed by Donna Sweetman.

For both of these individuals the impact is great. It gives them the opportunity to be more independent and rely on their service dogs to assist them with the little things many of us take for granted. Join us in celebrating these gifts from the heart.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Website Design 101

For some time, we knew we wanted a fresh new look to our website. But, being a nonprofit and having a limited budget for what could cost thousands of dollars; a dedicated volunteer created and maintained our site for years. Earlier this year, our corporate sponsor Talk Inc. expanded their creative communications agency to include website design and management. When their creative team contacted us about taking on the project of redesigning and hosting our website, we were very excited. After all, we have had the direct benefit of the quality work this creative group does. Talk Inc. had redesigned our corporate brochures, helped us to name both our Carolina Canines for Veterans and Carolina Canines for Therapy programs, created our Carolina Canines for Therapy logo, prepared quality press kit information and have provided countless press releases over the course of the last two years. Needless to say, we were anxious to work on the website project with Talk.

Over the last several weeks, the creative work of Shawn, graphic designer extraordinaire, Susan with her very talented writing style and management of the project, and Nathan with his incredible web marketing and management skills, have proven their high caliber standards. Under the attentive direction of President & Creative Director, Debbie Elliott, Talk has exceeded any expectations Carolina Canines may have had. Actually, they have blown us away with the breathing website that professionally portrays the mission of our organization and our goal of helping people with disabilities.

Over the next week or so, Talk will be providing training to Carolina Canines for managing the content of our site. They will also be adding a photo gallery and a newsroom. Those pieces will go live as soon as we complete our part of those efforts.

Did this happen without our involvement? No. Step by step from the design to the copy, we were involved in every process. Even the transition to going live and changing over our email accounts was done with thoughtful guidance from Talk. Designing and implementing a website, whether new or redesigned, is an effort that takes a great deal of planning and cooperation between both parties. If you are looking for someone that will get the job done for you, using the latest technology and understanding how to market your business on the internet, I’d call Talk. They’ll get the job done right.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

North Carolina Outstanding Volunteer Service Award

Carolina Canines for Service would like to congratulate Donna Sweetman, Advanced Trainer, as one of the five New Hanover County Volunteer of the Year Award recipients and for being the New Hanover County’s Medallion of Honor winner for 2009. Donna will be recognized at the Governor’s Mansion in early November with the other 20 Medallion of Honor winners and could be selected as the 2009 North Carolina Outstanding Volunteer Award Recipient.

The New Hanover County Nominees and Award Recipients were honored at an awrds dinner hosted by the Cape Fear Volunteer Center at City Hall Chambers on October 22, 2009. Each year across the state of North Carolina, nonprofit agencies nominate volunteers who have demonstrated the upmost concern and compassion for their neighbors by making a significant contribution to their community through volunteer services. In New Hanover County, nine volunteers were nominated and recognized for their service in the community. The nominations are presented by the agency the individuals volunteer for and the nominations are reviewed by a committee of judges. Of those individuals, five were awarded the New Hanover County Volunteer of the Year Award. The selection of each County’s five nominees is conducted at the County level and submitted to the Commission for approval. Selection is based upon the nominee’s volunteer efforts, accomplishments, and impact. The nomination reflects meaningful commitment of time and service by the nominee. The nominee’s service addresses a community need and/or enhances the quality of life of North Carolinians and demonstrate acts of generosity and kindness. A statewide panel, under the direction of the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, evaluates the nominations for the Medallion Award.

Donna dedication and work over the last 9 years with Carolina Canines as a foster puppy parent, advanced trainer and instructor for other foster families and advanced trainers, exemplifies her passion and commitment to the volunteerism she does. Donna volunteers an average of 120 hours a month and is currently working to train her ninth service dog that will be provided to a person with a disability later this year.

Carolina Canines is honored to be in the company of this dedicated and compassionate individual and we are pround of Donna for all of her help to support the mission of our programs.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Training Mission Disney

Much of the service dog training Carolina Canines volunteers and staff do is in and around Wilmington, Myrtle Beach or Jacksonville, but occasionally we get an opportunity to take a service dog in training on a different kind of adventure. This time, Service Dog Titus went to Disney!

If you are ever wondering how we know a dog is ready for placement, visiting a high distraction location, like Disney, is one way to fully determine the service dogs abilities. From Hollywood Studios Toy Story to Magic Kingdoms Small World, Disney was full of surprises around almost every corner or curve. Titus, we are pleased to say did wonderful. He readily managed Disney, with the crowds of people, Disney characters, the Celebration Parade including stilt walkers, an evening performance of Cirque du Soleil and the infamous Disney fireworks displays. Titus is a champion.

This year at Disney is the year of celebration, and our friend Merilee ensured that Rick and I were celebrated with a button that announced our marriage. Disney cast members offered their congratulations and well wishes. During the Celebration Parade at Magic Kingdom, nearly every stilt walker came over to us to offer their congratulations and say hello to Titus. The Disney cast is an amazing group of dedicated and concerned people. Highly trained and taking their roles as ambassadors seriously, they frequently asked if our service dog needed water, always asked if they could pet him and offered access to areas where he could be walked. They guided us to ride access and asked if special seating was needed for certain rides. They were attentive without being overbearing.

Taking a service dog to Disney is a valuable experience for the dog because if they can handle this environment, they can handle anything asked of them. We’d welcome the opportunity to have a generous sponsor for a training excursion for each of our service dogs at Disney. Any takers?

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Look Coming Soon

We are working harder than ever to create a new look to our website. Well, we’re really just reviewing and approving the hard work of our corporate sponsor Talk Inc. Talk has been working with Carolina Canines for several years now after selecting us as their Project Pet Project. Talk, Inc is a creative communications agency that helps companies grow and navigate change. Talk utilizes public relations, graphic design and internet marketing to help companies find their voice. And, top Dog Camden keeps the Talkers on their paws to help Carolina Canines put their best paw forward.

We will be sharing more information as we get ready to launch the new site in the next several weeks and we know you will enjoy the new look and the ease of navigation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009 Volunteer Appreciation Picnic

The 11th annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic was held on September 19, 2009 at Castle Hayne Park. Sponsored by our Board of Directors, over 70 volunteers and their families including service dogs, service dogs in training and Carolina Canines for Therapy team attended the celebration. Volunteers were recognized for their contributions to the organization, from visiting local hospices, nursing homes or schools through our Carolina Canines for Therapy program or raising and training a service dog for someone with a disability through our Foster Puppy Parent program. In 2009 alone, CCFS volunteers have logged over 30,000 hours of volunteer time!

This year’s picnic was especially exciting as we were joined by our two newest clients, Leslie Smith and Kathy Ormsby. Also in attendance was Georgette & Jim Lynn from Serendipity Dry Pond Kennels in Snow’s Cut, NC. Georgette has generously donated 5 labradoodle’s to the service dog program and brought two new puppies’ with her to meet their new foster puppy parents, Deb Jendrasek and the Brinkley Family. With a beaming smile, executive assistant, Pat Hairston told the new service dogs in training their mission in life; to assist those with a mobile disability. Also joining us in celebration was CWO2 John Nolan and other members of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corp Base Brig Program that have helped make it such a success.

With beautiful weather and delicious food, the 2009 Volunteer Appreciation Picnic turned out to be a great success and a wonderful way for Carolina Canines for Service to show the many volunteers just how much they mean to us! Keep up the great work!

Ingredients for a Successful Partnering

Take one Wounded Warrior, mix with one Service Dog trained by Carolina Canines for Veterans, saturate with hard work, sprinkle with plenty of training opportunities, combine with laughter and rest, and the result is one incredible service dog partnering destined for new beginnings.

Meet Leslie Smith and Service Dog Issac. Leslie first met Isaac in Washington, D.C. the evening before the presentation of the Newman’s Own Award for the Carolina Canines for Veterans program. Since that time, plans were underway for the pair to begin their team training in Wilmington as the newest wounded warrior to be partnered, creating an opportunity for greater independence.

Leslie, U.S. Army Captain - retired, was serving during Operation Joint Forge, an eight-month peacekeeping deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, when just short of completing her deployment she was diagnosed with a rare blood clot disorder and rushed back to the United States where complications led to the amputation of her left leg below the knee and the loss of vision in her left eye. Leslie spent nearly 8 months at Walter Reed and underwent 20 surgeries that have enabled her to walk again. Her life since her injury has taken her down many paths, including the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN, and the one to Carolina Canines for Veterans is not without thought and planning. It is the right time in her life for a canine companion to assist with her every day needs, some of which she will have to rethink to use her service dog, instead of doing for herself. Like many, Leslie has learned to adapt to the tools she needs to live, but this time, the tool has four legs, a wagging tail, some dog hair, the desire to work and plenty of kisses.

Issac came to Carolina Canines from Grand Strand Humane Society and was just two days away from being euthanized. He has spent 14 months in training, having waited for his special someone for the last several months. Each match of a person and their service dog is unique. The needs of every applicant, whether civilian or veteran, are carefully reviewed and the dogs’ skills accessed to determine the best possible match considering needs, personalities and life style. The match between Leslie and Issac is right, more than right, and we know they will be a confident team as they go out onto their own. Carolina Canines for Veterans has given Issac the skills he needs and team training has given Leslie the tools she needs to use Issac. Now, it’s all up to them.
Making the placement of Isaac possible takes many and our thanks goes to the Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune, the prison handlers, Stephen LeQuire-CCV Trainer, Marianna Thompson-Myrtle Beach Trainer, Horry County Humane Society, Jameson Inn Wilmington, Wilmington Orthotics and Prosthetics and our Carolina Canines for Veterans funders.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Carolina Canines for Service Receives the 2009 Newman's Own Award at Pentagon Ceremony



Admiral Mike Mullen, USN, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided remarks at the tenth annual Newman’s Own Award Ceremony at the Pentagon on September 10, 2009, as awards totaling $75,000 were presented to eleven volunteer organizations for their innovative programs to improve military quality of life.

USA Together was judged as the best entry and received a $15,000 award. USA Together is a Craig’s List-like web site where qualified injured service members and their direct families can post unmet needs and receive assistance from individuals, businesses, community groups or other Veteran Service Organizations who want to help.

Newman’s Own, Fisher House Foundation, and Military Times Media Group sponsored the competition, which seeks to reward ingenuity and innovation for programs that benefit service men and women and their families. The challenge is straightforward: “Present an innovative plan to improve the quality of life for the military community and receive funding to carry out the plans.”

Admiral Mullen was joined by Tom Indoe, President of Newman’s Own; Fisher House Foundation trustee Tammy Fisher; and Elaine Howard, President of Army Times Publishing Company, in presenting the awards.

Including this year’s awards, the annual competition that began in 2000 has recognized 125 programs with awards totaling nearly $600,000. A total of 112 entries were received for the 2009 program. Six judges evaluated each entry based on the organization’s impact to the respective communities, creativity and innovation.

Judges for the 2009 competition were:
Mrs. Deborah Mullen Spouse of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Mrs. Sandee Cartwright Spouse of the Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Mrs. Mary Jo Myers Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
Mrs. Tammy Fisher Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
Mr. Bill Lee Vice President, Operations, Newman’s Own
Mr. Mark Tilley Director, Sales, Newman’s Own
$15,000 AWARD
"USA Together"

USA Together, Los Altos, California
USA Together is a web site whose purpose is to use the internet to connect individual injured service members who may need some help as they recover with those Americans who want to help, but don’t know who or how to do so. Simply put, USA Together is a Craig’s List-like web site where qualified injured service members and their direct families, including Gold Star families, can post unmet needs for goods, services or modest financial assistance. Then the public, as individuals, businesses, community groups or other Veteran Service Organizations, can reach out to offer help and support. Potential Donors subscribe (for free) to the site to get
notified via email as new needs are posted. For more information, contact Dave Mahler (

$10,000 AWARD
“Vets4Vets Peer Support Group”
Vets4Vets, San Diego, California

Vets4Vets ( is the national, peer support community of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans helping each other heal from the psychological injuries of war. In just over two years, more than a thousand individuals have attended one of 45 free, residential, weekend workshop across the country to benefit from and learn the skills of basic peer support. There are 25 local groups across the country. With the Newman’s Own grant, the volunteer leaders in the Camp Pendleton and San Diego area will organize two weekend workshops and form two on-going peer support groups for Marines, OEF/OIF veterans, and their spouses. The goal is to stay in touch with each other and provide each peer support after these workshops and share advice about way to reintegrate to civilian life including connecting with services provided by military units, the Veterans Administration, Vet Centers and other nonprofits. For more information, contact Abel Moreno (

$7,500 AWARD
"Homes for Wounded Heroes"
Bay Area Builder’s Association Support Our Troops. Inc., League City, Texas

Bay Area Builder’s Association (BABA), a division of Greater Houston Builder’s Association, was approached in 2005 by the family of a Marine severely injured in action in Afghanistan. The family was seeking a trustworthy remodeling contractor to make the necessary home improvements to accommodate their son, returning in a wheelchair. BABA answered, “Here we are!” BABA accomplished the project 100% free of charge, and BABA Support Our Troops, Inc. was born. Since then, the organization has provided new homes for 4 families of severely wounded heroes from the war on terror. The 5th new home is being presented soon, completely free, with taxes and insurance paid for two years. The dream is to spread this program to other Home Builder Associations around the country. In January 2010 BABA Support Our Troops, Inc program will be presented at the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas. For more information, please see

“Three Step Transformation”
Operation Life Transformed, Woodbridge, Virginia

Founded in March of 2007, Operation Life Transformed provides access to flexible online training programs that lead directly to high-demand job placement opportunities as identified by the Department of Labor. The Three Step Transformation program bridges the gap between online training, resume assistance and job placement with corporate partners, thus improving the quality of life and financial stability for our military families. The 2009 Newman’s Own Award grant will provide online training to 57 members of our military community to include: active duty military spouses (Guard and Reserve), Veterans, widows/ers, and the caregivers of wounded soldiers. Operation Life Transformed also received a Newman’s Own Award grant in 2007. For more information, contact Tania Mercurio (

$5,000 AWARD
“Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Veterans”
Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas

The Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Veterans is named in honor of donors Buddy G. and Charlotte Beck of Fairfax Station, Virginia. “PRIDE” is an acronym for Personal Rehabilitation Individual Development and Education. The mission of the Beck PRIDE Center is to provide combat wounded veterans with first class educational opportunities, extensive learning assistance, plus physical and mental health rehabilitation; within a university environment. It supports the reintegration and preparation of wounded combat service members into post-service careers. The Beck PRIDE Center opened in October 2007. It has served more than one hundred thirty active duty or discharged service members and their families; including all branches of military service from across the U.S. It supplements veterans benefits or fills service gaps; does not duplicate other federal or state programs. The Beck PRIDE Center is housed within Arkansas State University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions in Jonesboro, Arkansas. ASU is a natural setting for this program; offering comprehensive higher education programs and degrees that directly support veterans. A “military friendly” institution, ASU has an active ROTC program and houses the 875th Arkansas National Guard Armory. For more information, contact Susan E. Tonymon (

“Operation Patriot’s Call”
AMVETS Post 12, Winder, Georgia

Operation Patriot’s Call is a partnership between AMVETS Post 12 and local citizens, businesses and organizations that have pledged to support the families of the 1/121st, currently deployed to Afghanistan. The vision of Patriot’s Call is to mobilize Georgia’s communities to support their local heroes. National Guard Units do not have the convenience of a local base for support nor do they have the sense of community that comes with being attached to a base. While some communities wave flags as the soldiers leave and then quietly go about their business, Operation Patriot’s Call is actively creating and building a network to help with issues that come up while a spouse is deployed. This effort helps improve the quality of life for military families by providing a support network during the deployment and for up to 6 months after, giving the soldiers peace of mind while defending this Nation’s freedom. For more information, contact Michelle Walker (

“Carolina Canines for Veterans”
Carolina Canines for Service, Wilmington, North Carolina

Carolina Canines for Service (CCFS) is a non-profit health and human services organization that provides people with disabilities quality trained service dogs. In 2008, CCFS launched a national pilot program, Carolina Canines for Veterans, to assist wounded warriors with a quality trained service dog, using military prisoners to train the dogs rescued from local shelters. Operating entirely on private donations, CCFS trains prisoners at the Camp Lejeune brig in Jacksonville, N.C. to raise and train each service dog. Carolina Canines for Veterans is the first of its kind to work within the walls of a military prison to train service dogs. Prisoners get a second chance to help their comrades. Wounded vets get a second chance for an independent lifestyle. Shelter dogs get a second chance at life. Service dogs are provided at no cost to the wounded warrior. For more information, contact Pat Hairston (

“Camp C.O.P.E.”
Camp C.O.P.E., Dallas, Texas

Camp C.O.P.E. provides interactive small group counseling, specifically designed for the children of deployed or injured service members. Participants engage in therapeutic activities which highlight: coping skills, expression of anger, feeling identification, handling stress & anxiety, caring & empathy, empowerment, and dealing with grief & depression. The camp is designed to help our young heroes cope with the effects of war, deployments and the sacrifices they are asked to make every day. So far, Camp C.O.P.E. has held six camps and provided services to over 1,000 children. All camps have been supported by corporate and individual donations. For more information, contact Sarah Brava (

“Support Our Wounded Heroes”
Family & Friends for Freedom Fund, Inc., Pompton Plains, New Jersey

Family & Friends For Freedom Fund, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was founded in January 2005 after the founder’s family member, GySgt James Sturla was severely wounded in Iraq. Family and friends worked together to get through life-altering circumstances, and became aware of many other families who were undergoing similar changes in their lives. These families have been living a financial hardship long before our economy changed, and now have the added struggle of coping with emotional and physical burdens. Family & Friends For Freedom Fund has assisted over 170 military families and made grants in excess of $400,000. For more information, contact Kathy Sturla (

“Expanding the Comfort”
Sew Much Comfort, Burnsville, Minnesota

Sew Much Comfort provides adaptive clothing to support the unique needs of wounded service members from all branches of the military and national guard. The need for adaptive clothing continues to grow as American military members continue to be injured serving in current conflicts. Each week, wounded military members are medically evacuated to the United States for extensive treatment for bullet wounds, burns, head and limb injuries and amputations. Many previously injured are still in the recovery process. Some injuries require large fixator, prosthetics and casts that are too bulky to fit under ordinary clothing and underwear. Sew Much Comfort is the only organization providing adaptive clothing at no cost to our wounded service members. Without adaptive clothing, the only option for them is a hospital gown. Sew Much Comfort have produced and delivered over 75,000 items of adaptive clothing to our injured since we began in December 2004. For more information, contact Michelle Cuppy (

“Camp STRIDE Wounded Warrior Fall Family Retreat”
STRIDE Adaptive Sports, Rensselaer, New York

In September 2008, STRIDE Adaptive Sports launched a unique mentorship opportunity between STRIDE Youth Athletes and Wounded Warriors with similar disabilities. The Wounded Warrior Fall Family Retreat was an outgrowth of four years of winter events to teach recently injured service members how to ski or snowboard in our adaptive program. The fall retreat is hosted in the Adirondacks for three days of kayaking, whitewater rafting, hiking, campfire cooking, and tent camping, but most importantly, a time to connect Wounded Warriors with children in the community who have similar challenges. Since 1985, STRIDE has been enriching the lives of children and individuals with disabilities by providing adaptive sports and recreational opportunities. In partnership with school districts and other non-profits, opportunities are provided to challenge people, potential and possibilities. STRIDE Adaptive Sports is a volunteer non-profit organization providing over 4,000 adaptive sport and recreation lessons annually to children & individuals with special needs. STRIDE has over 250 skilled volunteer sport instructors, serving more than 1,000 families; and offers free programs in seventeen different sports and locations. For more information, contact Katie Moshier Suhr (

Monday, September 7, 2009

Don't Miss Your Opportunity

Don't miss out on a fabulous dinner and a chance to help us continue to help others at the Italian Fall Feast hosted by Carrabba's Italian Grille on Friday, October 2, 2009. There are three opportunities to parttake in scruptious Chicken Bryan, Penne Pomodor, bread with herb mix, and incredible tiramisu for dessert. All this for one low cost of $20!

This meal is worth far more and it benefits Carolina Canines for Service. So, call (910-362-8181) or email ( today to get your tickets. Tickets available for take-out at 11 a.m. or seatings at 11:30 p.m. or 12:30 p.m.; your choice, same special price.

Remember, while you are enjoying this wonderful selection prepared especially by the Chef of Carrabba's Italian Grille, you are also helping to provide people with disabilities more independence with their very own service dog.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Kid in Town

Working with Adopt An Angel , a Wilmington rescue, Carolina Canines for Veterans found a new dog to begin her training as a service dog for a wounded warrior. Jada (AKA Barrette) was hanging out at the local PetCo on Sunday afternoon waiting for someone to adopt her when Pat spotted her and placed a call to Rick. Unknown to Pat, one of our volunteers told us about the dog several weeks ago, but at that time there was not an opening in the program. Rick arrived and did a temperament test on Jada and was happy to tell the volunteers of Adopt-An-Angel that she was the newest service dog in training.

In front of the Adopt An Angel volunteers and a small crowd that had gathered around, Jada was told her very special mission of being trained to work with a wounded warrior, of the many skills she will learn, the good food and great treats and all the attention that will be lavished on her by the prison handlers. Jada had been with Adopt An Angel for some time, but her special someone had not found her. We figure things happen for a reason and she must have been waiting for us.

Carolina Canines continues to be grateful to the local rescues that are committed to their work in saving unwanted dogs and their willingness to work with us for our programs. Thank you Adopt An Angel for Jada and all the others that you save.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friends for Carolina Canines

Carolina Canines for Service has joined the social media frenzy. Carolina Canines for Service (CCFS) is on the threshold of 400 friends on their ever-growing Facebook fan page. Social media has been a highly utilized tool in the non-profit sector in recent years and continues to expand at a rapid pace. Currently Facebook has 250 million users, with over half of them logging in daily! With those kinds of numbers, Talk, our local PR firm, urged us to pursue using Facebook as a marketing tool. In December of 2008 Carolina Canines started its Facebook fan page and the numbers began to rise.

Facebook is not a new tool, but it has grown substantially in use as a FREE marketing tool by many organizations and businesses. Thanks to applications such as events and RSS feeds, CCFS can update our fans about the latest activities we will be involved in as well as automatically pulling in other social media tools, such as this blog! Carolina Canines has also grown in popularity around the country with fans from New York to Washington and down to Arizona! Our fan page is a great way for all of our fans to stay in touch as well as watch our service dogs in training grow from a puppy in potty training to the placement with a much deserving individual. We have also used Facebook as yet another way to thank our many supporters. Nylabone also has a Facebook fan page, which CCFS has become a fan of and as such allowed our volunteers and fans to support the company that has supported us!

So how can you help us reach the 1,000 fans? Become a fan on Facebook and share with your family and friends. Find out how Magdalene is advancing as a service dog in training at the Marine Corps Brig at Camp Lejeune in our Carolina Canines for Veterans program. Learn about how you and your dog can become a Carolina Canines for Therapy. Visit and search for Carolina Canines to keep up to date with what’s happening in our many programs.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Carolina Canines Kicks Off 100 Days Fundraising Campaign

Carolina Canines for Service, Inc. launched the Power of 10 fundraising campaign on Monday, August 3. The goal of the 100-day initiative is to raise $60,000 – the cost to complete advanced training and place three service dogs.

The Power of 10 fundraising concept starts with 10 supporters donating 10 dollars each to Carolina Canines. They, in turn, ask ten of their friends to do the same, who in turn ask ten more friends ……… creating a powerful wave of support and fundraising dollars.

A kick-off for the campaign was held at Carolina Canines for volunteers, friends and supporters on Saturday, August 1. People gathered to enjoy complimentary hotdogs and drinks provided by the Board of Directors. Along with the Board Members, staff, clients and volunteers were on hand to get the wave of going. “This is an easy opportunity for our communities to help support the programs and services offered by Carolina Canines”, states Paula Zabkar, Board Secretary. “Power of 10 is easy, you donate $10 and ask 10 friends to do the same, and they ask 10 friends creating that powerful wave of support. You can do this in person or send an email. But, everyone already knows 10 friends they can ask. Include a personal story of your own about how your life has been touched by Carolina Canines or how you have touched others. By asking just 10 friends and those friends asking 10 friends anyone can easily raise $1,000 and reach our goal of $60,000.”

Did you know…..…

  • 34 service dogs placed, valued at $1,292,000, but hundreds have been in training to achieve this

  • 76% of placements are in North Carolina

  • Service dogs are valued close to $40,000 each, know over 70 tasks and are provided at no cost to the person receiving the dog

  • Carolina Canines for Veterans was started in January 2008 at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Brig and already five Wounded Warriors have received their service dogs

  • Carolina Canines for Therapy has registered over 200 teams with over 90 active teams

  • Paws for Reading helps children improve their reading skills in a fun, non-judgmental way by reading to the dogs

  • We are over 200 Volunteers strong and our volunteers have donated 119,811 or an average of 2500 hours each month

Carolina Canines for Service is a non-profit corporation dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater independence. For more information, call (866) 910-3647 or visit

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting Vested

For humans, getting vested might mean to become eligible for pension benefits or to have a right or privilege to something, but for a young service dog in training, it opens up a whole other world of training opportunities.

Service Dog in Training Sheba received her service dog vest this past Monday. To have achieved this milestone, Sheba’s potty training was successful and at just 12 weeks of age, that is very good. For Sheba and her foster family, the Rupp’s, this means she can begin her socialization activities as part of her service dog training. The Rupp’s will start taking Sheba with them on age appropriate outings to get her used to behaving in public and learning about the world she will work in as an adult dog.

It is a happy moment for the foster family and the pup and one of the many accomplishments to follow as the training progresses.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Meet Magdalene, Service Dog In Training

Thanks to Carolina Animal Protection ( for the newest member of the Carolina Canines for Veterans program. Magdalene, formerly known as Molly, was rescued by CAPS and was awaiting the perfect home when we spotted her. She was already on hold for a couple waiting to complete their home interview, but when litter mates Max and Maddy did not meet our requirements, CAPS graciously let us test this girl. Of course, she passed with flying colors!

Carolina Canines waited to hear if Magdalene would be ours and the happy call came Thursday evening. The CAPS Foster Mom and Volunteer, Jane, met our director early Friday to transfer the girl to our program. This is another great example of local non-profits working together for the good of the dog and in this case, a person with a disability in the future.
The prison handlers at the brig are very excited to have this little girl in the program and she will be well cared for and loved. She was already learning to sit on command with the guidance of treats and loving every minute of it. Over the next several months, Magdalene will learn many tasks in addition to growing and maturing. Follow our blog as we keep you updated on her service dog training adventures.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

National Pet Fire Safety Day

Today is National Pet Fire Safety Day. So, if you are one of the millions of humans that share your home with one or more pets or a service dog, the please take a moment to consider the points published by America Kennel Club and ADT.

  • Extinguish Open Flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.

  • Pet Proof the Home - Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires and other potential hazards.
    Secure Young Pets - Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.

  • Keep Pets Near Entrances – When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.

  • Practicing Escape Routes with Pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.

  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. You can obtain a free window cling here or at AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days events.

  • Keep Your Information Updated - Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house aids rescuers in finding all of your pets.

  • Use Monitored Smoke Detection Services – As an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms, smoke detectors connected to a monitoring center help save pets who can’t escape when left home alone.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Paws for Reading

Paws for Reading

The mission of the Paws for Reading is to improve the literacy skills of children through the use of registered Carolina Canines for Therapy teams as literacy mentors.

Paws for Reading demonstrates that registered handlers and their therapy dogs are instrumental in improving the literacy skills of children in an effective, unique and, most importantly, fun manner. The objective of Paws for Reading! is to have children in second through fifth grade read to the therapy animals on a weekly basis during the school year.

Since initiating Paws for Reading in September 2002, Carolina Canines for Service has provided this valuable literacy tool to over 370 children in the schools and over 500 children in the library program or community activities. The program has included emerging readers in kindergarten to middle school students, although originally designed for second through fifth grade. We have teams located at the Wilmington Northeast Library, the community Boys & Girls Club of Wilmington, as well as select local elementary schools during the school year.
Results from Paws for Reading demonstrate that 83% of the children participating have improved their reading skills.

“I like to read sometimes, but it is very hard for me. I LOVE reading to the dogs and giving them treats. The ladies are very nice and help me with the hard words. Coming makes me like reading more and I get excited to come to read.” -Gabe

Gabe also told his mom one day when he was not feeling well that “he had to be at school today because it was a Paws for Reading day and that he was the best reader they had and did not want to let them down.”

Paws for Reading is an affiliate program of the Intermountain Therapy Animal Reading Education Assistance Dogs® (R.E.A.D. ®) program.

Are you interested in becoming a Paws for Reading team? Contact Carolina Canines for Service at 910-362-8181 or visit to find out how to become a therapy team in Wilmington, NC. Contact Teamworks Dog Training at 919-855-0422 or visit for information in the Raleigh, NC area.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Celebrating Independence

Injured in a training exercise, Andrew Goodrich has come a long way since his injury. Having spent the first 5+ months paralyzed from the neck down, Goodrich is thankful for the ability to walk once again. Now, his walking will be aided by a special companion, Charity. Charity was trained by the prison handlers at the Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune in the Carolina Canines for Veterans program. She will help Goodrich by being his moving hand rail to assist with his balance, pick up dropped items, and navigate just a little easier. Charity, previously named Dixie, came from Carteret County Humane Society as an 8 month old in November 2008. In just 8 months, with the guidance of the prison handlers, she has turned her life around from a throw-away canine to one valued at $38,000 knowing over 70 tasks. Charity is the fifth placement from the Carolina Canines for Veterans program providing just under $200,000 in services to our wounded warriors.

So, how can you get involved in this triple-win program? We do need your financial support to continue to provide wounded warriors and others with quality trained service dogs. All of the costs for the Carolina Canines for Veterans program are the responsibility of Carolina Canines. From food and treats to vet care and leashes, we do need your help to continue to serve those that defend our freedom. PetSmart or PetCo gift cards would help to provide food and treats for the dogs in training.

In our civilian program the wait list is 2-4 years. We need your help to raise and train a service dog and give someone the gift of independence. If you can’t raise a dog for someone in need, sponsor one by making a monthly donation of $100. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law and you are giving the benefit of independence to someone in need.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meet Snuggle Bug, Soon to be Service Dog

Meet Snuggle Bug, Soon to be Service Dog, Sheba!

Meet Sheba, a 7 week old apricot Labradoodle. Sister of fellow service dogs in training, Luke, Judah, Izzachar, and Zebulon. Office staff, Pat and Rick picked Sheba up on June 20th, 2009 and was blessed to get to know her snuggly personality on the 3 hour “love affair” ride home. When Sheba isn't sleeping, eating, and sleeping some more, she is busy playing with her new foster family, Greg, Debbie and Micah Rupp. She loved to explore things with her sharp puppy teeth and is learning quickly to find other means of exploring! She is adjusting very well without her siblings and has become quite attached to the Rupp’s.

She is already working hard on learning to potty on command and name recognition. She is a firecracker and we hope she has the willingness to learn like her big brothers!She can't wait to get started on becoming a service dog to help a person with a disability.

Let’s all wish her the very best!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saying Good-bye to a Friend

It is with deep sadness we share with our friends and volunteers, the passing of our friend, Linda Braund. Linda touched our lives when she was partnered with Service Dog Zaccheus in November 2005. Linda was a strong supporter of Carolina Canines and often assisted with presentations and events in the Raleigh area from a fundraiser with the Raleigh Browns Backers to one with Durham Regional Hospital. She and Zaccheus were the reason Carolina Canines has received funding from one grantor after they met someone in the Raleigh area. Linda was a retired U.S. Army veteran and believed in our Carolina Canines for Veterans program.

In Linda’s own words several years ago she said, “Zacheus or Zack is the most wonderful gift I could ever receive to help me deal with my multiple sclerosis. He has opened more doors for me than I ever knew was possible. He literally opens doors by tugging on a cord temporarily attached for that purpose, or rising to touch the pad to open a handicap accessible door; but he can also open the invisible doors that often separate me from the life I used to have. Before Zack, I was alone, having this cheerful, loving dog as my constant companion makes my spirits soar in a way I thought they never would again. I feel like I’m a part of something again and I have the help to be able to live independently. There are not words enough to say what a wonderful gift Zack is; he gave me back my life.”

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 am, Saturday, June 20, 2009 at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 SE Maynard Rd., Cary, NC. Burial will be at 1:00 PM, Monday, June 22 at Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle, VA. The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 p.m., Friday, June 19 at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Reins From Above, 86 Polenta Rd., Smithfield, NC 27577 or Carolina Canines for Service, Inc., P.O. Box 12643, Wilmington, NC 28405. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Service Dog Zaccheus will be retired and return to live with Donna Sweetman, advanced trainer for Carolina Canines.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Linda’s family during this time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Carolina Canines for Service receives grants for one-of-a-kind veterans program

Carolina Canines for Service, Inc. recently received a total of $6,500 in grants from the Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation, the Brian A. McAleese Memorial Foundation, Officers’ Wives Club of Camp Lejeune and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International (SPCA).

These grants will be used to support the Carolina Canines for Veterans program, which teaches prisoners in the Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. prison to train service dogs for wounded warriors. The pilot program is the first of its kind in the United States and is funded by private donations and grants to Carolina Canines. It costs $38,000 to train one dog, but dogs are provided free of charge to wounded soldiers.

“These grants are going to allow us to continue providing service dogs to the brave men and women who have come forth to protect our country,” said Carolina Canines President/CEO Rick Hairston.

The Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation awarded Carolina Canines $1,500 as part of its mission to improve the quality of life for others. The Piedmont Natural Gas foundation was established in 2004 with the goal of assisting specific, well-defined areas of the nonprofit community throughout its three-state service area in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The Brian A. McAleese Memorial Foundation granted Carolina Canines $1,500. The Brian A. McAleese Foundation was established to honor McAleese, who was a New York City firefighter that lost his life on 9/11 while trying to save the lives of others at the World Trade Center.

The Officers’ Wives Club Camp Lejeune awarded $2,500 to assist with team training of a wounded warrior with his/her service dog.

Carolina Canines was honored as the SPCA Shelter of the week and received a $1,000 grant. SPCA International recognizes animal organizations that are doing an exceptional job of helping animals, but could benefit from extra financial assistance.

Carolina Canines for Service is a non-profit corporation dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater independence. The group trains certified service dogs with the help of volunteer foster families, matches the dog to an eligible recipient and provides the dog free of charge. Since its inception in 1996, Carolina Canines has placed 32 service dogs, valued at more than $1.2 million. For more information, call (866) 910-3647 or visit

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Carolina Canines for Service receives grant that helps drive community service efforts

Carolina Canines for Service, Inc. recently received a $15,700 grant from the Cape Fear Memorial Foundation for the replacement of its company vehicle.

For Carolina Canines, the grant couldnt come too soon. The worn-out company vehicle nearly left Carolina Canines President/CEO Rick Hairston stranded in the heat with a client and a service dog due to mechanical malfunctions just last year. Hairston drives to the Camp Lejeune Brig three to five days a week to teach inmates how to train canines to serve wounded warriors returning from duty. Hairston also drives to Myrtle Beach monthly to train service dogs and around the state to deliver presentations. Stevenson Chrysler in Jacksonville, NC worked with Carolina Canines to provide a vehicle that accommodates their tight budget.

Without a dependable vehicle we could not offer many of the services that we do, says Hairston We greatly appreciate the Cape Fear Memorial Foundation grant that will provide us a with new vehicle and enable us to get out and meet people, share our mission and to be more involved in the community.

The Cape Fear Memorial Foundation is a private foundation located in Wilmington, North Carolina. The primary purpose of the foundation is to serve the health and medical needs of the people of Southeastern North Carolina. It supports charitable not-for-profit organizations that provide health and medical services and health education.

Carolina Canines for Service is a non-profit corporation dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater independence. The group trains certified service dogs with the help of volunteer foster families, matches the dog to an eligible recipient and provides the dog free of charge. Since its inception in 1996, Carolina Canines has placed 32 service dogs, valued at more than $1.2 million. For more information, call (866) 910-3647 or visit

Monday, June 8, 2009

CCFS Named SPCA Shelter of the Week

Carolina Canines for Service was named the SPCA International Shelter of the Week and is being recognized on the SPCA website,

SPCA International selects an an animal shelter that they feel is not only doing a great job, but also needs a little extra financial assistance. With the recongnition by SPCA International also comes a $1,000 check from SPCA International which is much needed funding at these economic times.

We are very greatful to have been selected by SPCA International as their Shelter of the Week and here's what SPCA has to say "SPCA International is proud to recognize Carolina Canines for Service as Shelter of the Week. They are helping a community in great need and giving shelter dogs a new purpose in life at the same time."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A New Kid in Town

There’s a new kid in town and her training starts now. Meet Holly. She is a lab mix that came to Carolina Canines by way of Tails U Win. She has yet to realize her full potential, but she is already starting to walk to a new cadence.

Holly is the newest addition to the Carolina Canines for Veterans training program. After another online search of numerous dogs, Holly was temperament tested just before the Memorial Day weekend and proved herself worthy of the next step, the hip evaluation. Holly visited a local veterinarian and was found to have good hips and joined the program on May 28th.

Her future job is not yet known so for now she will spend the next several weeks working on basic obedience under the guidance of her prison handler. Once she masters the basics, Holly will progress to learning long distance retrieval, opening doors, turning on light, loading a washer, unloading a dryer and learn to be guided by a laser light to objectives to pick up. Her destiny, the service dog of one deserving wounded warrior.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Carolina Canines Tales and Tails

Read all about it! The latest news from Carolina Canines in the Spring/Summer issue of Carolina Canines Tales and Tails. Read about the new Carolina Canines for Therapy program, the success of the 3rd annual Walk for Those Who Can't, meet the newest Carolina Canines for Veterans service dog team and the winner of the Cuddles for Canines Quilt.

Remember, stay informed by joining our newsletter mail list. Email today.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thanks for a Successful Wellness Clinic

The Wellness Clinic at North College Road Animal Hospital at May 9, 2009 was a great success! Over 30 people came out with thier cats and dogs to take advantage of a great deal in Vets helping Vets. A complete blood screen was done on each animal for a $30 donation to Carolina Canines for Veterans.

Joining us for the event was Sunny FM 104.5 Craig Thomas broadcasting live from Noon until 2 p.m.

We'd like to thank Dr. Nusbaum and her team at North College Road Animal Hospital for a great event. Over $1,000 was raised to help us continue to provided our wounded warriors with quality trained service dogs. Thank you for everyone who came out to support the program and thanks for taking care of your special cat or dog.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Congratulations to Shallotte Middle School 6th Graders

Congratulations to Ms. Atkinson's 6th Grade class at Shallotte Middle School. The class held a car wash fundraiser on May 2nd and raised $532.50 in support of the Carolina Canines for Veterans program. The social studies class was working on a "pay it forward" project and chose Carolina Canines for Service to lend a helping hand to.

We sincerely appreicate the work this class did and the dedication to giving back to our Wounded Warriors. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vets helping Vets!

Vets helping Vets!

North College Road Animal Hospital Animal Wellness Clinic

North College Road Animal Hospital is celebrating National Pet Week (May 3-9) by hosting a wellness clinic for dogs and cats. NCRAH is dedicated to the Carolina Canines for Veterans program and is excited to be hosting this event.

A complete blood count will be done for your animal and a report given to you. This is very important information to have as a baseline for your animal! The event will be held from noon-3pm on Saturday May 9th, 2009 at the NCRAH at 3414 Enterprise Dr in the Northchase Business Park. Pre-registration is requested. Call 910-452-2273 to schedule your appt.

The cost is $30 and is a value of $100, and the best news of all! 100% of the proceeds go to benefit the Carolina Canines for Veterans Program! We hope to see you there!

Amie Granbois

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What do paws and jam have in common?

The 8th annual Paw Jam, Saturday, May 2, 2009 from 11 AM - 5 PM at Battleship Park brought to you by Pets Are Worth Saving (Paws) of NC. Admission is $5.00 at the gate and proceeds support multiple rescue organizations in our community.

The mission of Paws of NC is to facilitate opportunities to raise funding and awareness for no-kill, non-profit animal rescue organizations in Southeastern North Carolina through the education and empowerment of the public.

If you are looking for a pet friendly event to attend, come listen to live music, enjoy festival food at the food court and beer garden, stroll through and purchase the wares of local arts, and pets vendor and enjoy pet related activities. Please, pets must be leashed.

Carolina Canines for Service is one of the 10 benefiting organizations. Come on out and say hello to our crew, met service dogs in training and therapy teams, renew old friendships and add to your Carolina Canines tee-shirt collection with our 2009 tee-shirt.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The End of National Volunteer Week

This is the last issue of this year’s National Volunteer Week newsletter. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone for all the work that you do! We have been able to help so many people and touch so many lives through your passion and dedication to this worthy cause and we hope you continue to support Carolina Canines through your time and efforts! Thanks again!

Foster Puppy Parent: Lori Brinkley is currently training Tamara, a beautiful golden retriever. She is the breeder of Tamara and over the years have donated a number of puppies to become service dogs in training. Lori is dedicated to the success of Tamara, and wants to see her succeed into being a service dog for someone. It is evident in the hours she spends working with her. Lori is also a dedicated Carolina Canines for Therapy Team. Thanks for being such a great ambassador Lori!

Carolina Canines for Therapy Team: LaceyAnn Struve is a wonderful Carolina Canines for Therapy Team. She is very active in the Paws for Reading program at Wrightsboro Elementary school in Castle Hayne. Paws for Reading is a program developed to assist children reading below grade level. She has been very active with the Therapy program for many years now and thanks to her dedication we hope to continue her work at Wrightsboro. Thanks for all the great work you do LaceyAnn!

Overall Volunteer: Pam and Glen Adair have trained a service dog that was recently placed. They were able to witness the placement of Conway with his new client. Even after the placement, they have continued to stay active with Carolina Canines by attending our many functions and fundraising activities. Their passion for the many programs of Carolina Canines shines through and we are so happy to say that they are a dedicated volunteer of Carolina Canines for Service.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

National Volunteer Week

Hello to all of our wonderful volunteers,

Established in 1974 by former President, Richard Nixon, National Volunteer Week, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their community. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, in unison, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. National Volunteer Week is about taking action, encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change—discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation. National Volunteer Week is not only our moment in time to celebrate our volunteers, but to enable a nation to share ideas, practices, and stories, wherever they happen, and shaping a movement to re-imagine the notion of citizenship for the 21st century.

We want to take a week and acknowledge some of our amazing volunteers, without whom we would not be able to do what we do! Thank you to everyone and we hope you continue to help us help others!

Foster Puppy Parent: Stacey Sears is a new but dedicated foster puppy parent. She is the newest foster mommy to Luke, a 7 month old labradoodle. She has shown her passion through her weekly commitment to Monday night classes as well as being the 2nd highest individual fundraiser for the 3rd Annual Walk For Those Who Can’t. Thanks for all you do Stacey!

Carolina Canines for Therapy Team: Dave Thomas recently celebrated his 5th Anniversary as a Carolina Canines for Therapy team at Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He and Sam enjoy their weekly trips to visit the residents and continues to show his enthusiasm for the Carolina Canines mission! Keep up the great work Dave and Sam!

General Volunteer: Stuart Callari is a recent graduate of the Carolina Canines for Therapy team, but what stands out is her constant willingness to come in a lend a hand in at the office! Stuart always brings a smile to the staff’s face when she comes in to help out whether its framing pictures or mailings. Stuart comes from Southport and keeps the staff in stitches as she plugs along at her tasks. Thanks Stuart!

Friday, April 17, 2009

30th Annual Coastal Living Show

Join the Wilmington Woman's Club for the 30th Annual Coastal Living Show this weekend, April 18 - 19, 2009 at the Schwartz Center.

The Coastal Living Show is produced by the Wilmington Woman's Club as its only fundraiser. It is an opportunity for businesses to showcase to the public a variety of gifts, products, and ideas for the home, garden, office, and seaside living. All proceeds from this fundraiser are distributed to non-profit agencies and college scholarships and this wonderful groups of hard working women support Carolina canines for Service.

Look for us in the lobby area and meet some of our newest Carolina Canines for Therapy teams that are starting to visit in our communtiy. We'll be there both Saturday and Sunday; Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. - 4 p.m. See you there!