Friday, October 1, 2010

First Puppyraiser Meeting

The excitement is definitely building. With names assigned, the handing out of crates and toys, the ordering of an entire pallet of Whole Earth Farms puppy food, I'd say we're definitely in the throes of preparation. There's VPI insurance to purchase on Monday, all sorts of arrangements being made for filming PSAs at Camp Dodge and the official countdown of T minus 10 until the puppies come to Paws & Effect.

There'll be pictures soon!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Planning, Planning, Planning

The first puppyraiser meeting is on the horizon. We've got names: Valor, Honor, Glory, Noble, Anthem, Courage, Freedom and Liberty. One of the little girls will be Valor. The yellow boy and one black dog will go to two puppyraisers in Newton (an adult brother and sister who want to be able to tell them apart!) One black puppy will be raised in recognition of Pixel, a service dog that was pulled from our program early for medical reasons.

It is just around the corner. I'll get the newbies on a Monday afternoon and they will go to the vet the next morning. They will be making their first appearance at Camp Dodge on October 13th, where they will be greeting people during a presentation about the benefits of placing service dogs with military veterans. They will also be integral in making sure that we warmly welcome the crew coming in from New York to film a few PSAs at Camp Dodge and JFHQ. Then, after everything quiets down, each dog will go to its raiser.

Since it is always good to have goals, I hope to have each puppy sitting, spinning, backing up and lying down before it reaches the hearts and homes of our puppyraisers. Six days....I can do it!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Paving the way and building relationships.

Sometimes those chance meetings develop into the most wonderful relationships! This is surely an example of tragedy being triumphed. Several months ago I was asked to assist in a death notification on behalf of Iowa's Disaster Behavioral Response Team (Iowa's DBHRT.) I met Maj. Amy Price from the Iowa National Guard, who happens to head the retention and suicide prevention programs from her office at Joint Force Headquarters. We've been working together to see how best to develop a direct referral program as well as build awareness for Paws & Effect's PTSD service dog program.

Paws & Effect has decided to produce public service announcements to highlight the benefits of matching appropriate veterans with service dogs. This past Friday, Maj. Price, Col. Kuehn and Col. Hapgood met with Todd Cerveris to move this specific project forward. We have been granted the opportunity to film these PSAs at Camp Dodge utilizing Iowa's soldiers. Filming is slated for the second week in October, when the Fall leaves will be at their best. Conveniently, the Military Litter, comprised of four black males and two black females, will arrive that week as well.

We are looking forward to this very busy time period with a great deal of excitement. We'll make sure we post photos as production on these PSAs occurs.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Military Litter Has Arrived!

The much anticipated phone call from the breeder came in today! The litter we reserved has been whelped, six healthy puppies will be joining us. There are four black males and two black females, all of whom have seen the vet, who has given them a clean bill of health.

While today's events mark the beginning of a journey for the puppies as they embark to become service dogs, we've been making plans for their arrival for more than a year. Hiring fundraisers, recruiting puppyraisers, establishing relationships. At the same time, the Iowa National Guard has been working hard to prepare our troops to deploy to Afghanistan at the end of this year. The timing of these events are not coincidental: this litter of puppies will be ready for placement at about the same time we expect troops to be needing them.

We hope that you'll follow us for the next two years, watch things unfold, enjoy our successes and, no doubt, some disappointments. Your willingness to share this experience means a great deal to all of us and, I'm sure, means a great deal to all of the soldiers and their families.

Nicole Shumate
Executive Director
Paws & Effect