Having far exceeded their fundraising goal in 2016- a total of $8,000- the team decided early on in 2017 that they wanted to set a tangible fundraising goal for the year’s event. It started with a question to Wounded Warriors of Canada (WWC), “What does $8,000 provide?”
The answer, “Almost a puppy”
WWC works closely with National Service Dogs in Cambridge Ontario to provide dogs for those suffering with PTSD, they also train dogs for families and children with Autism as well as facility and companion dogs. The cost of raising, training, homing and veterinary care for a service dog is approximately $10,000. Even though 94% of dogs make it through the rigorous training program there is still a 3 three year waiting list for a service dog and the application process is temporarily closed, due to overwhelming demand.
It became obvious that our 2017 goal was going to be to home a dog with someone suffering from PTSD. We accomplished that goal, raising $10,027!!
With their eyes turned ahead to planning the event for 2018 Gord, Cheri and Steve Topham of WWC visited National Service Dogs to discuss strategies for this year and meet some of the staff, trainers and puppies. We met a lot of dogs in training but the star of the show was Neville, a black lab cross who is getting ready to meet with his potential owner and hopefully be homed with him in May, all thanks to the funds raised in November 2017. We helped a veteran receive this priceless companion. It was incredible to see the love and care the staff at NSD puts into training and caring for the dogs, as well as finding the perfect owner.
Each dog has their very own personality, strengths and weaknesses and NSD works hard to identify dogs and owners that would be a good match. For example, dogs that are being homed with Autistic families need to have a more calm and carefree temperament. Dogs that are being trained and homed with Veterans and First Responders suffering from PTSD need to be more alert and attentive and will be trained specifically to spot their new owner’s triggers and resulting behaviors.
We’re hoping that once Neville is homed in May we can chat with his owner and discuss how having a service dog changed his life.