In recent years we’ve heard a lot about the impact of PTSD on Veterans, but what we often don’t hear about are the organizations trying to help them when they return. Last week, Comcast invited myself and other local bloggers to a viewing event of Paw Stars on Hallmark channel. The event gave us the opportunity to meet Stiggys Dogs a local organization helping local veterans by pairing them with shelter dogs who have been trained to be therapy dogs.
In the past five years, Stiggys Dogs have paired 52 dogs with 52 veterans throughout Michigan. All of the dogs are rescues from shelters, or have failed out of leader dog school. While most leader dogs are a particular breed, Stiggys Dogs doesn’t seem to have a preference, they’re looking for dogs that would be a good match regardless of breed.
We were lucky enough to meet Sargent, Recon and Baxter at the event, all dogs who have been through the Stiggys Dogs program – and two are actively working with their Veterans. After a year of training, the dogs know how to help calm their humans down, get them out of stressful situations and be a good companion when needed. All of Stiggys Dogs have been trained that they are working while wearing their vests, but are free to socialize when they’re not wearing it.
Even though Stiggys Dogs is helping make an impact in the lives of veterans in Michigan, there are currently 300 Veterans waiting to be paired with their canine friend. The program is currently funded by donation, and Comcast helped with a donation of $1000 last week. Stiggys Dogs helps promote other groups that help support Veterans who have PTSD or other issues they’re dealing with. Two of their canine recipients have started their own service groups for veterans including the Veteran’s Refuge Network to help prevent suicide, and Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors, that provides outdoor activities to wounded veterans or ones with health challenges. The organizations keep giving back to those who have given so much for our country.
Thank you for Comcast for having us and letting us enjoy Paw Stars as well as to get to know the great people at Stiggys Dogs, Veteran’s Refuge Network and Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors. Also a big thank you to Hallmark Channel, Oogies Gourmet Popcorn, Coffee Beanery, Fox Home Entertainment, Sugar Logic Bakery and Zebra Pens for sponsoring the Event!
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