Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dog Bless You Helps Veterans

Dog Bless You, a Facebook Campaign has selected Canines for Veterans as one of the recipients for their Spirit of ’76 Facebook Campaign.  From Memorial Day (May 28th) to Independence Day (July 4th), Dog Bless You, a non-profit community created by explore.org founder and Annenberg Foundation Director and Vice President, Charlie Annenberg, will celebrate dogs and soldiers in America and bring service and companion dogs to war veterans through a challenge grant that incorporates Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

For every 1,000 new subscribers on the Dog Bless You Facebook, Pinterest, or Tumblr pages, explore.org will donate the costs of one service or companion dog to a war veteran.  Through a grant made possible by the Annenberg Foundation, explore.org will donate up to 76 dogs with the help of non-profit organizations throughout the US. The Spirit of ’76 is a celebration of 1776, the birth year of our country’s independence. The campaign offers a chance for people to come together and raise awareness surrounding the healing role dogs can play in the lives of those affected by war. The Facebook page, Tumblr page, and Pinterest page will feature photos, videos and discussions aimed at educating and inspiring.

“This is a great example how foundations are incorporating social media into the opportunities for grantees” says Rick Hairston, President/CEO of Canines for Service.  Dog Bless You is a creative way to feature the service Canines for Veterans is providing to our warriors while creating a needed funding source to continue to provide this medical option to our Veterans.”

Canines for Veterans, a program of Canines for Service, is a triple win; providing quality trained service dogs to our veterans at no cost, teaching military prisoners new skills that they can use when released from prison and rescuing dogs from local shelters giving them a second chance at a new life.   The program is innovative and provides a professionally trained service dog within about one year from the dog entering training.  

So, what makes CFV different?    For one thing, 95% of the dogs in the program are from rescue  and all are temperament and health tested to ensure the right fit for the service work the dog will be trained to do.  Next, training standards have been developed and approved by the U.S, Department of Labor as an Apprenticeship program which includes 3600 hours of training for the handler and an average of 2,500 hours for each dog; the first of it's kind for a prison service dog training program.  The skills to assist a Veteran with PTSD have been developed by and with individuals that have PTSD and are compliant to federal law (Americans With Disability Act).  After completing an application and review for a service dog, each client receives individualized instruction when they learn to work with their service dog.    Because we work with each recipient individually, they get the specific training needed for the skills needed, can ask as many questions as they need to understand and we can reduce the training time for the team to an average of 5 days.  That saves the client time, money and most of all anxiety of being in a unfamiliar location. And, we don't stop there.  Once the client has completed training and goes home with their new service dog, CFV is there for the team for follow-up and we provide the liability insurance coverage for the service dog by maintaining the ownership.   

Canines for Service, previously known as Carolina Canines for Service, empowers people with disabilities to achieve greater independence through the gift of quality trained service dogs. Through the volunteer efforts of foster families and military prisoners, the organization trains certified service dogs and then partners the canines with eligible recipients.  

Canines for Service is asking the community and supporters to like Dog Bless You on Facebook from now to July 4th and share this with your friends to help veterans receive service dogs.