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.