Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Vietnam Veteran Finally Receives Welcome Home

Sgt. William L. Elkins, Jr. finally receives his welcome home

On July 4th, 2014 at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in Charleston, SC, home of the Charleston Riverdogs,  Sgt. Butch Elkins, United States Air Force, retired was recognized in a special ceremony honoring his service to our country.  Canines for Veterans had the honor of thanking Sgt. Elkins for his service and presented him with Service Dog Abner.  Sgt Elkins honorably and proudly served our country from 1966 to 1970 including tours of duty in Udorn and Danang.  While on duty serving our country he was injured and to this day experiences the lasting effects of exposure to agent orange.  Sgt. Elkins is thankful to finally receive the thanks and a welcome home all Veterans deserve.

Service Dog Abner was rescued from Colleton County Animal Control in South Carolina after they found him as a stray. 

Remarkably, Canines for Veterans had already recruited his brother Eli who was also found wandering Colleton County, SC.  The two brothers were perfectly suited for Service Dog work.

Canines for Veterans is changing the lives of our Veterans in ways that doctors, hospitals and medications cannot.  The sad reality is that while thousands more Veterans could benefit from the gift of a service dog, we are limited by funding. We receive NO government funding.  We receive NO reimbursement from insurance companies or the VA.  

The value of one of our dogs is $40,000. For just the care of the dogs in training alone the monthly costs are almost $1,800 and include the following:

Heartworm/Flea Meds:    $217
Dog food/treats:            $370
Veterinary Care:            $528
Harness/Collar/Leash:    $217
Other Supplies:             $377

When a Veteran is partnered with his or her Service Dog, it is referred to as Team Training.  The Veteran stays in Charleston for a week to train with the dog.  This training week alone costs $2500 or more per Veteran.  

You have the opportunity to help SGT Sean Knapp receive service dog Bosor RIGHT NOW!  We are making plans to partner these two but need help with the funding of team training.  You can help Bosor get his Veteran by clicking HERE.  Check out the video about Bosor while you are there! 


Now accepting donations of new or gently used items for our first online Facebook auction.  Anything goes!  (Well, let's keep it clean people!)  Anyone on Facebook will be able to bid on the items up for auction starting August 18th.  Click HERE for details.  

Here are just a few items currently listed:

  • Hilton Wilmington Riverside Downtown: 2 night stay
  • Bissell Vacuum Cleaner
  • Free Illustration of your pet by local artist
Don't miss out on these great items.  Start bidding August 18th!
Do YOU have anything you could contribute?   

Saturday, June 7, 2014

CFS Happenings

There is so much happening here that we are trying to keep up with it all!!  

Service Dog Ava
Gotha-ya Day
On June 15th team training begins with a Marine receiving his service dog.  Sgt Kyle Miller and his wife, Vanessa, will spend one intensive week learning to work with Service Dog Ava.  This is always a very exciting time filled with many emotions for the recipient and the team of trainers and volunteer handlers at Canines for Veterans.  Service Dog Ava came  Francis Willis SPCA in Summerville, one of our rescue partners, in July 2013 and has completed her training in just under one year.  Ava with assist her person with balance and post-traumatic stress related issues.

Gotcha-ya Day
Service Dog Abner training with a harness
Later in June, Service Dog Abner will meet his partner, Air Force Sgt William Elkins, Ret., a Vietnam Veteran. Service Dog Abner came from Colleton County Animal Service, a high-kill shelter in October 2013 and is finishing his training in just under 8 months.  Abner is the brother of Service Dog Eli partnered last November also with an Air Force Veteran. 

In other news,  Wilmington Sharks invited Canines for Service, Bat Dog Titus and our service dogs in training to be a part of the 2014 baseball season in Wilmington as a sponsor of Canines for Service.  Appearances will be made during the season at one game each week.  Service Dog in training Abigail is working to step into Bat Dog Titus's paws by learning to retrieve bats.  Bat Dog Titus will be at the games on June 13 and July 11th. 

Harry Barker Inc., a supporter of the Canines for Veterans program with a line of products with a portion of the proceeds donated to us will be at the Atlanta  market in July with a special appearance by Veteran recipient Dean Suthard and Service Dog Esther.  Read the latest news here.  

Happening now, Canines for Service has launched a 2015 Calendar Contest! Through July 31, 2014, pet photos can be submitted for a donation of $10 per photo for judging by three local photographers to be included on a month in the 2015 calendar.  If folks don't want to submit a photo for a $5.00 donation your pets name will be listed on a date of your choice.  Pre-order for the calendars are being taken with the calendar planned to be available in time for the 2014 holiday giving season. For contest guidelines and how you can submit a photo visit our website Events page. 

A new store has been launched on our website and a new tee-shirt is available through Bonfire Funds for a limited time only.     
Order at Bonfire Funds

There are so many ways for your to support the mission and services of Canines for Service .  Please join us today in giving the gift of independence to those in need.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Canines for Therapy goes to College!

You wouldn't know it by the smiles on their faces, but these college students are in the middle of final exams.  Canines for Therapy has played a prominent role in bringing stress relief to students at colleges like Duke, UNC Chapel Hill and William Peace University during the stressful time of final exams.  

Multiple studies prove that pets offer a powerful form of stress relief, lowering not only blood pressure but also harmful stress hormones like cortisol, which is associated with depression and anxiety, and elevating beneficial ones like oxytocin, which is linked to happiness and relaxation. [Source: Grimshaw]   Some people even experience an increased output of endorphins and dopamines after just 5 minutes with an animal.

Check out the video made by the News & Observer about our visit at Duke by clicking here.

Canines for Therapy is only able to provide these services because of the generosity of our strong network of volunteers.  If you have a dog you think might enjoy meeting new people at various different facilities and are interested in becoming a certified team, you can get more information and watch our Canines for Therapy video by clicking here.

We offer Pet Therapy classes in the Wilmington and Raleigh areas for people and their pets.  If you are a pet obedience trainer and are interested in adding our Pet Therapy course to your business please contact us for more information on our Pet Therapy Instructor Workshop or click here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rain Drops Can't Stop Our Supporters!

The rain didn't stop our awesome volunteers, supporters, clients, vendors, walkers and dashers from coming out and having a GREAT time at our 8th Annual Walk and Dog Dash on March 29th, 2014 here in Wilmington, NC.  There might have been lots of soggy doggies but there were also lots of wagging tails and smiling faces.  A good time was had by all.  Here are just a few pictures.
Check out our Facebook photo albums here and here to see more great photos of this event.  We had so many fun activities this year including a new "Kissing" booth to get your photo taken with your pooch, a costume contest, a booth to make your dog's paw prints and a chance to let your dog try some Pet Reiki.

Thanks to the generosity of so many individuals, we came together to raise more than $30,000 in cash and in kind gifts that will help another person receive the gift of independence through a specially trained service dog.  This event was a true community effort for which we are eternally grateful.

If you attended the event and have some pictures you would like to share please tag us on Facebook or email them to us at information@caninesforservice.org, we would love to see them!

Of course we could not make this event happen without our sponsors. Thanks to all of our community sponsors that help to make this event possible!

Hope to see you all next year at the 9th annual Walk and Dog Dash!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Independence, Companionship, Literacy

Everyday, we take for granted opening a door for ourselves, picking up the pen we dropped or dressing ourselves.  We sit with family and friends and talk about our day or we pick up our favorite book and read a few pages.

Do you ever stop to think “what if”?  What if I could not open the door, pick up that pen, pull up my pants?  What if I was in a facility and had not had a friend visit for a week, ten days, a month?  What if I opened a book and could not read even one word? What would I do?

Everyday, Canines for Service is working to help people with disabilities live more independently.  Everyday we are working to change the life of just one person in a hospital or a nursing care facility by brightening their day with a visit from a pet therapy team.  Every week we are working with children in our community to help them love to read with the aid of a friendly tail wag and a gentle paw.

But, there are so many needs. Like Sarah who has been waiting four years for her Canines for Service dog to help her walk just a little further.  Or the group home waiting for a pet therapy team to come visit their residents or the countless number of children that just need the help from a friendly paw to read one more sentence.

Through your support of the 8th annual Walk & Dog Dash, you can help fulfill these needs and contribute to more independent living, less isolation and increased literacy in your own community. Here's how your financial support can help.

$25 provides for one month of heartworm and flea/tick prevention for one dog in training
$50 provides for premium dog food and training treats for one dog in training
$100 provides for an annual veterinarian visit and vaccination for one dog in training
$250 provides for the health assessment and hip evaluation of on shelter dog to enter training

Help us, help other by registering to walk in the 8th annual Walk & Dog Dash or visit our fundraising page and raise funds as an individual or a team.  Do it now, people our waiting for our services. 

Thank you for making a gift to those who are served by Canines for Service and for giving the gift of independence.

Friday, February 7, 2014

8th Annual Walk and Dog Dash

Canines for Service annual fundraiser the Walk and Dog Dash will be held at
Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington, North Carolina on March 29, 2014.  Registration is now open for individuals and individual and team fundraising at walk.caninesforservice.org.   Individual registration is $25 with children 12 and under free!  Day of event registration is $35.  Individuals and teams are encouraged to raise money for our program and virtual participation is encouraged for those not in the immediate area. Individuals raising $100 or more will receive a special recognition; just click on the link for fundraising.  Virtual participation and fundraising is encouraged. 

Businesses interested in sponsoring or participating in this event may visit our website at http://www.caninesforservice.org/walk---dog-dash.html or call Laura at 910-362-8181. Don’t miss your opportunity to promote your business while helping to change lives, four paws at a time.

Along with our Walk, this year’s event brings back the Dog Dash – a fun run for people and their favorite canines!  Anyone completing the untimed run with their canine will be eligible to win a  prize. Other activities benefiting Canines for Service include: Vendors, food and music, Pet costume and look alike contests,  Doggie “Kissing Booth”, Doggie massage, reiki & belly rubs, Canine training demos, Doggie paw prints booth, Photo booth, and a raffle.  P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grill will be selling breakfast and lunch, with a portion of proceeds being donated to Canines for Service. Bring extra money to shop with our vendors, buy your raffle tickets, and participate in the many activities that support Canines for Service.

Support for the 2014 Walk and Dog Dash comes in part from CBS 10 WILM, Sunrise Broadcasting, Sunny 104.5, StarNews Media, Queensboro,  Dock Street PrintingPawPrints Magazine, P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grill Food Truck, Port City Java and more.  Event, hospitality food sponsorships, and vendor tables  are available; for more information call 910-362-8181.

The Walk and Dog Dash raises money for the Canines for Service’s programs. Funding is used to support growing programs within the organization such as the Canines for VeteransCanines for Therapy and Canines for Literacy and the service dog program. Service dogs, valued at $40,000 each, assist people with disabilities to regain their independence with the help of the quality trained dogs that can complete over 350 tasks.  “We continue to see a growth in the need for our services.  With the national visibility of our organization, now more than ever, we need the support of our local community.”  said President and CEO Rick Hairston. “This walk is a wonderful opportunity to learn about our many programs and support our mission through a sponsorship, donation, or participation.

Canines for Service is a non-profit corporation dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater independence. The group trains and places certified service dogs with the help of volunteer foster families and military prisoners, provides pet therapy certification classes and helps children in our community improve their reading skills. Since its inception in 1996, Canines for Service has provided over $9 million in services to our community. For more information, call 910-362-8181 or visit www.caninesforservice.org.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year, Fresh Start, New Goals

The new year is always a time to look back at what was accomplished and look forward with anticipation of what will be. In the background all of the end of year work is happening, pulling last years’ financial records preparing for an audit, cleaning files, setting the event schedule and grant submission plan, preparing annual donor letters and creating new donor acknowledgement letters.  All this while the mission continues and goals are set.

The new year started off with team training for a retired United States Marine as he received his service dog.  
Long awaited because there were several challenges that had to be overcome to get to this day including the weather.  But mother-nature was gracious and only caused an hour delay in one flight on route to one of the biggest changes of Chris’s life.  Cpl Owens (retired) met service dog Samaria and it was difficult to tell which one had the bigger smile.    We know the miracle of this gift but the package is just beginning to be unwrapped by Chris as he learns to work with his new partner.

Stepping into a new year is also a time to set goals and one of those goals is to grow.  It just has to happen; we are determined.  The plan is set and now we need the financial support to make it happen.  Larger space will allow Canines for Service to offer vocational training in our community with a proven, comprehension service dog training curriculum.  More service dogs in training means more clients waiting can be served and more shelter dogs can be rescued.   We also need foster families; people willing to commit their hearts and their time to serving others by raising a puppy to be a service dog.  We can’t serve the people on our wait list unless new dogs are being added for training.

What are you doing in 2014?  Join our family of donors and volunteers to change a life of someone with a disability with the gift of a service dog. You never know, you might just change your own life too.