Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's About the Quality

There are some days that it seems we are more about the business of a non-profit than assisting our clients.  With each step we take to spread the word about the work we do, we are raising awareness of the needs for quality trained service dogs and the need to support our mission financially so we can continue serving our clients.  

It is about the quality.  Providing a reliable service dog that meets the needs of the person receiving it.  While others may be producing more, we have taken care to develop the right skill sets for the disabilities we serve and making the difficult decisions along the way.  Our dogs know about 90 commands with a new set of commands that are specific for our Veterans living with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  These commands were developed in the Canines for Veterans program working with the prison handlers, many of which have PTSD.  Each command is specific to address a symptom of PTSD. 

As we share below the places we have been and the people we have met, each step we have taken is working towards building awareness of the quality of service dogs Canines for Service provides and the commitment to the people we serve. 

The first week in August we celebrated the newest Canines for Veterans service dog team in Charleston.  Sgt Chase Jones received service dog Elder to assist him with his mobility, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder.  After an intense week of training, Sgt Jones returned home with Service Dog Elder re-energized to regain his life with his wife and family. Struggling for years dealing with his injuries, he had isolated himself from the world and his loved ones.  Now with Elder by his side, Sgt Jones has a new leash on life and is ready to re-engage.

On August 12th, the Hairston’s headed to Washington DC to attend an Evening Parade at the Commandant of the Marine Corps home.  As an invited guest, they joined others to celebrate and honor the Honorable Colin Powell. An amazing display of military marching precision, the evening parade is full of tradition and inspires anyone to remember why we are proud Americans.
Then onto NYC to join our friends at Harry Barker Inc. at the NYC International Gift Market to help them launch the Canines for Veterans products. "Harry Barker is honored to sponsor Canines for Veterans," said Carol Perkins, founder of Harry Barker. "We are passionate about our products, and we are excited to begin a campaign with such a great organization. We want to help spread the word about Canines for Veterans because we love what they do, and we will do whatever we can to help the program grow.”

The Harry Barker Canines for Veterans product line features a collar and leash set, fetch balls, and a decorative tin filled with dog treats, all of which are original designs. The products will be available in stores in October 2011 and many retail locations will be holding events on Veterans Day to feature our program and the products.. Visit the Harry Barker Inc to learn more about the products and how your store can offer this exclusive product line to support our Veterans.

NYC was a full schedule but included some time to treat ourselves to a NY style pizza and the all-American past time of baseball at a Brooklyn Cyclones game. US Army Cpt. Leslie Smith, Ret. and her service dog Isaac were honored during the game and the Hairston's along with Service Dog Titus were introduced to the NY fans. The Brooklyn Cyclones stadium is the home of the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance of the First Responders of 9-11.  A reminder to us why we started the Canines for Veterans program as the names and faces of those who gave their lives for others became real and looked back at us as we took a moment to reflex on those that sacrifice for others every day.

As we are reminded of the reason for the need for more service dogs for Veterans consider supporting Canines for Service to ensure the continued availability of quality trained service dogs for the people we serve, Veteran or not.

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