Latest newsletter with easy prize giveaways!

Well, I’ve not been posting too much in the last few weeks as life sometimes gets so busy and so complicated and so, so messy. But, there are always obligations. And, that means getting out my foundation’s quarterly newsletter.

You don’t want to miss it. There’s a NEW giveaway with 3 folks each winning a prize valued at $20 …. simply by answering a mystery question and posting the answer at our foundation’s Facebook page.

Just click here and you can print out your own full-color issue.

Hero Dogs for Veterans


Adorable 12-week-old Golden Retriever Maverick is being trained through Hero Dogs, Inc., a fabulous new group from my own state of Maryland that provides service dogs to military veterans or active members of the U.S. armed forces. They train dogs to meet those multiple challenges inherent to mobility, hearing, and/or psychiatric disorders. (Be sure to check them out and the many other service dog groups across the globe.)

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The concept of the Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD) has received an increased emphasis in the media, their status elevated due to the concerns regarding the huge numbers of war veterans suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as Traumatic Brain Injury due to the use of the improvised explosive device (IED). Some estimates show greater than one third of vets returning home from war in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from PTSD, this article on declining morale of US troops in Afghanistan revealing the significant societal impact:

Think tank RAND report in 2008 had revealed 300,000 veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan had been diagnosed with severe depression or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It said more soldiers were going AWOL to find treatment from PTSD. RAND further reveals that rates of PTSD and traumatic brain injury among troops taking part in war on terror have been excessively high, with a third of returning troops reporting psychic problems and 18.5% of all returning service personnel battling either PTSD or depression. Marine suicides doubled between 2006 and 2007; army suicides are at highest rate since records were kept in 1980. There has been 80% increase in desertions since 2003. Over 150 GIs refused service while about 250 war resisters are taking refuge in Canada. 1700 strong GI resistance is gaining momentum. The veterans have signed up for anti-war Oath Keepers (an association of serving military officers, reserves, National Guard, veterans, fire fighters). Longer war drags on more resistance from within ranks. Hundreds of letters have been written to Obama by serving and retired servicemen, urging him to bring back US troops. Long absence from homes is escalating divorce rates. …

Mental state of those on duty on scattered posts is worst since they feel scared. Many suffer from mental disorders. Sleeplessness and bouts of anger are common. Many are found broken down and weeping since the faceless enemy frustrates them. Seeing their comrades blown up shatters them. They feel irritated that in their bid to help the population by giving them humanitarian assistance, they do not cooperate and often lie and tend to protect Taliban. Recent rules of engagement to minimize civilian casualties are seen as fighting with one arm tied behind backs. Most demoralizing thing is that soldiers are not getting killed in combat actions but by roadside bombs on routine journeys. In 2009, most casualties were from IEDs and still are. All combat missions are accepted with a heavy heart. There is no sense of pride or accomplishment in them. None want to die or get crippled. All they desire is complete their tenure and return home safely in one piece.

Here is so much more . . . .

Service Dog case finally resolved

Carter Kalbfleisch and his Service Dog Corbin

Carter’s parents had been fighting Columbia, IL school leaders since last summer to get the district to allow Corbin to accompany Carter to school. They repeatedly refused, despite a contrary ruling by a Monroe County judge and an upholding of that ruling by the 5th District Appellate Court. This is not surprising. Years ago I attempted to bring my trained Golden Retriever Therapy Dog into school settings and was met with much opposition.

Interestingly, the district finally decided to send Carter and his dog to the Illinois Center for Autism, a quite costly endeavor (having to pay over $30,000 yearly). But, Carter is now thriving, and Corbin has not caused any of the problems that the district had feared.

One of the reasons the school district refused to allow Corbin in the school was the fear that the dog would create havoc in a room full of autistic and special-needs kids.

“We’ve had no problems at all,” Illinois Center for Autism Principal Sandra Rodenberg said. “He’s fit in beautifully and is a big motivator for a lot of our kids. We’ve had to change nothing to accommodate him.”

Rodenberg said the school would gladly welcome more service dogs trained for autistic children at the school. “We would love to have more,” she said.

Melissa Kalbfleisch watched her son interact with other children, jumping from one wading pool to another, his clothes drenched, his face, smiling. Before Corbin, it would have taken more than one adult and brute force to move Carter out the classroom to participate in the Fun Day activities, Kalbfleisch said. He would have had no interest in the wading pools or with interacting with staff and students.

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Patriot Service Dogs ….. *Golden* Justice for All

Could anyone ever find the words equal to the powerful message in this photo? I don’t think so. (Be sure to click on the photo, and then again, to see a glorious supersized version.)

Tim Shelton, director of the American Legion Riders Florida Chapter 137, and Justice, a 5-month old Golden puppy who is being trained by Patroit Service Dogs. This chapter held a bike show event, raising funds to sponsor dogs for disabled veterans. (The Florida Times-Union, Don Burk)

Learn more about Patriot Service Dogs and Golden Retriever Justice’s progress here.

And, go to sitstaysoothe.htm to learn more about the work our special canine angels are doing for those in the military.

Making Amends

On Monday I shared a story of a store owner that kicked out a family with a Service Dog, Golden Retriever Ellie. Well, Susan Ivancevich and Robert Bryant met yesterday at his store to make amends.

First I have the initial video with the man screaming to the family about getting out of his store. Then, you can see the second video showing the apology. You will notice towards the end of the clip how Ellie has just been lying down under the table and not budging during the entire interview. And, you know, of course, that there was much activity there given the crew shooting the film.

I hear that folks in the area have not taken to kindly to this store owner and that some boycotting had already taken place, so prompting his attempts to make amends.

FIRST ENCOUNTER

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A CHANGED MAN

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