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