As a dog owner, I’m always wanting to take my Great Dane, Newton, on vacation with me. Could you imagine what that would be like if you were seated next to me on an airplane, though? Believe it or not, I would be really stressed out about my dog’s comfort, but also yours! Is my dog breathing on you? Does he have enough room? Do you have enough room? Did you just sneeze because you are allergic to dogs? He isn’t a service dog, but because I am an intern at K9s For Warriors, I understand a little more about service dogs than the average person.
Thanks for your interest in hosting a fundraiser for K9s For Warriors for your birthday!
What’s this all about? Last year, we noticed how generous Facebook users were in holding birthday fundraisers to benefit our program. January is a time of new hopes and wishes for the coming year, so we thought we’d start a campaign to help you spread those hopes and wishes to our nation’s heroes suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
It’s that season when we're all thinking about some of our favorite things from the past year, like in Julie Andrews’ famous tune, “My Favorite Things.” We’re easily filled with warm, fuzzy feelings about the simple, yet significant substance of our lives, whether it be people, pets, pastimes, or brown paper packages tied up with string. Here at K9s For Warriors, we wanted to share our favorite things from the year. Join us as we look back with gratitude at all the wonderful “things” that made this year well worth remembering.
The hardest part about being a dog trainer
Dog trainers have a very special role in our organization. They are the liaisons between the animal and human worlds. Each trainer has a specific reason for choosing a career as a dog trainer, but as you could imagine, they all love working with dogs. Not every moment as a dog trainer is ideal, though. Our trainers shared their thoughts on the hardest parts of being trainers.
Favorite Part of Training
Our dogs are very intelligent and achieve many milestones during their time at Camp K9; the process seems so natural, it is easy to take for granted. From the moment a dog is rescued, to the moment a dog graduates, and every second in-between, our trainers are developing the skills, correcting the behaviors, and shaping the personalities of our future service dogs. There is not a specific step in the process that is more important than the next; however, our trainers do have their favorite parts.
We’re glad you want to be part of the K9s Smooch Your Pooch Movement! You’ll be joining thousands of others in the biggest effort yet to save the lives of rescue dogs and military heroes.
If you’re wondering what to do, simply read through this infographic. Most importantly: make sure you’re following the movement on our Facebook page, and when you post, donate $5, tag 5 friends, and use #k9spoochsmooch and @k9sforwarriors! Then, check out all the other selfies and videos posted by fellow “pawsome” supporters like you.
Service Dog Behavior
Not every dog is cut out for the working life. So what does it take? Here’s what our dog trainers had to say about what makes a seemingly ordinary rescue dog into a great service dog.
“Calm… eager to please… has the desire to be around people.”
Dear PTSD Caregiver,
You likely know this – but symptoms of PTSD can appear anywhere from one month to years after a traumatizing event occurs. These symptoms are debilitating. We understand that your warrior may no longer seem like the person you once knew; it is very difficult to see them in such a dark place. The truth is... witnessing this takes a toll on you, as well. PTSD can impact marriages, children, and families in unimaginable ways. This is not your fault. This is not your warrior's fault. We understand. It's okay.
In 2015, K9s For Warriors and the lab of Dr. Maggie O’Haire at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine began a collaboration to produce a first-of-its-kind research study. The aim of the research was straight-forward: find empirical evidence that service dogs mitigate Post-traumatic Stress symptoms in post-9/11 veterans. PTSD symptoms can include debilitating anxiety, night terrors, uncontrollable anger, fear of public places, drug abuse, and even more tragically, suicide.
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