Tuesday, May 8, 2012

National Recognition, Changing a Life and Local Support

It has been a rollercoaster of activity since the Walk for Those Who Can’t in late March. In April the Canines for Veterans program was nationally recognized as a top 20 finalist in the Joining Forces Community Challenge at the White House. A trip to Washington DC including a tour of the White House, tour of the Pentagon with a reception with the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Dempsey and the Joining Forces anniversary ceremony at the White House. To be in the White House and among the many our national treasures and walk the halls of our forefathers; the experience was incredible.

This week team training is ongoing for a Veteran. He is receiving service dog Esther who was initially trained in the civilian foster program in Wilmington by a local family before going to the brig to finish her training. Here is what the foster family had to say “You know how much we loved fostering Esther but thinking about all the people who have poured time into her is amazing! She and her sister were donated; Canines for Service trainers met with us weekly or biweekly to teach us commands (in addition to being available by phone!); her Canines for Veterans trainers have worked with her for the past 9 months at the US Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston; and she lived with a handler in Charleston who obviously worked with her constantly to get her ready for her big day! All because Rick Hairston had a dream and desire to help people and his incredible wife, Pat, supported him the whole way! Please consider supporting Canines for Service with your time or financial donation - they are absolutely changing lives!!”

The difference in the client’s life is already being realized as he slept for 7 full hours for the first time in many years with Esther by his side on the very first night she stayed with him. The healing for this wounded warrior will take the next step as he and service dog Esther bond and become a team.
Canines for Literacy are wrapping up for the school year and the children are receiving their gift bags of books thanks to grants from Wilmington Newcomers Club and International Paper. The appreciation for our Canines for Therapy teams is evident from the photo.

Our work does not happen without the support of many. One local elementary school stepped up to make a difference in the lives of other students by donating raffle items and holding an in-school raffle. Together the 5th grade class of College Park Elementary raised $381 which is being matched by a generous donor for the Canines for Literacy program. The children totally get it and realize the benefit of making a difference in someone’s life.

Canines for Service can’t do all this alone. We need you. Whether it is fostering a service dog in training, training to be a certified Canines for Therapy team with your own dog, helping our children with the Canines for Literacy program, holding a fundraiser or donating on a regular basis, there are people waiting for the services we provide. Please help us to make a difference in a life today.


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