Last year more than 300 individuals participated in the Walk For Those Who Can’t, raising more than $20,000 for Carolina Canines’ programs. Funding was used to support growing programs within the organization such as the Carolina Canines for Veterans program. In the last three months of 2008 alone, three service dogs, valued at $38,000 each, were placed with wounded warriors. The dogs for the Veterans program are trained in the Camp Lejeune prison, making it the only program in the country in which military prisoners train rescued shelter dogs to become service dogs for their wounded comrades. This year, as the Veterans program continues to grow, Carolina Canines will also launch its own therapy animal training program, with curriculum designed by Carolina Canines Founder and Executive Director Rick Hairston. Members of the public who have pets that have passed basic obedience courses can register to train as a pet therapy team and volunteer in children’s reading programs (Paws for Reading), hospitals, nursing homes, Hospice and more.
In 2009, Carolina Canines will also continue to operate its Domestic Violence Animal Awareness Program. As a part of that program, victims of domestic violence who are scared to leave their home for fear that harm will be inflicted on their pet, can call the police department, who in turn contacts Carolina Canines to pick up the pet and house it for up to 90 days, free of charge, while the victim seeks shelter.“There has never been a greater demand for our programs, so to our end, there has never been a greater need for funding,” said Executive Director Rick Hairston. “This walk is a wonderful opportunity to learn about our many programs and support our mission through a sponsorship or donation.”Support for the 2009 Walk For Those Who Can’t comes in part from Merrill Lynch, Papa John’s, NRL Builders, Inc. and Talk, Inc. Corporate sponsorship opportunities and volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals are still available by calling Carolina Canines at (910) 362-8194.
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 31 service dogs, valued at more than $1.2 million. For more information, call (866) 910-3647 or visit www.carolinacanines.org.