War Vets Heal With the Help of Shelter Dogs

by Canines With a Cause
Vetted
Ethan and Marshall
Ethan and Marshall

"Marshall is like the brother I never had"

Although the focus of Canines With a Cause is placing dogs with Veterans suffering with PTSD, we get calls from others in need of a dog for various reasons. We placed a dog with two children suffering with Spinal Bifida, the children fell in love with therapy dogs at the hospital and wanted one of their own. We also place dogs with children battling terminal and long term illnesses as comfort buddies, most of these children do not go to school or have social lives, the dogs are their best friends.

Ethan's grandparents reached out to CWAC in search of a dog for their grandson, they had just adopted him from years spent in foster homes. He had severe PTSD from years of abuse. The only time he felt safe was when he dreamed about a dog that protected him, he now has that dog. From his grandmother Mary:

We are so overwhelmed to have been given this wonderful dog. I mean this is the first time since his dad kidnapped him against a protective order in 2009, which is a story in and of itself, that he has slept well with no nightmares. We had a street name only in California and an Assistant Attorney General over child protection here in Utah. They closed down this street of apartments and police and swat searched door to door (helicopter, etc.) and they found Ethan and his siblings. We consider that the biggest blessing of our lives. Ethan still has severe trauma from a horrible predator and struggles through each therapy session. But he strives to maintain dignity and privacy about his past through it all. He and Marshall are inseparable now. As grandparents who have worked so hard to see him heal, you can imagine how emotional we are over this entire thing. What a devoted dog owner this boy is, they protect each other.

Marshall was found as a stray in Lindon, Utah, his family never came looking for him. Dr. Lynne came across him while assessing dogs for our prison based training program, she liked his disposition and brought him onto the program. He was a star student, we all knew he had a future but had no idea how important his role would be in changing the life of a young boy. Their first meeting was magical, the bond was there, they have been together ever since.

Can dogs heal, we think so, just ask Ethan and his grandparents. Thank you for helping to make this story possible, we could not do the important work we do without your support.

Sincerely,

Cathy

Ethan and Marshall
Ethan and Marshall

Links:

Strut Your Mutt
Strut Your Mutt

"I love working with the dogs. It makes me feel how I used to feel...inside...before I went to combat".

Significant words from one of the Veterans participating in the Canines With a Cause (CWAC) dog-training program. The labors of our program ARE making a difference in the lives of Combat Veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.

How does this program serve so many Veterans and rescue so many shelter dogs when CWAC receives no funding from the Veterans Administration or US Government? Because of caring people like you, our donors, volunteers, foster families and all of the other contributors who make it all possible. Canines With a Cause could not sustain the important programs we offer, free of charge to qualified Veterans without the support of generous, giving people.

Our foster families take in dogs fresh from the shelter, stinky and scared, they give them love, a warm bath and help them remember what it’s like to be in a home again. Safe and secure, they socialize with people, dogs, cats and the outside world. This process also helps the CWAC staff determine what program the dog is best suited for; moving on to partner with a Veteran, moving into the Utah Sate Prison to train for service work or just finding the right family to give them a forever home.

Foster families help our dogs make a very important transition; we appreciate their love, devotion and time. They also take care of dogs belonging to Veterans who need time away for medical reasons.

Katherine and Mary Ellen have been volunteering with CWAC since the inception of the organization. Every Tuesday they drive 45 minutes to the Utah State Prison to assist with classes for dogs living and training with inmates. Every Friday they drive 30 minutes to assist with classes for Veterans who are learning handling skills for their dogs in training. They are part of the heart and soul that makes this organization special.

Our volunteers walk dogs, help at fundraising and adoption events, transport dogs and Veterans who can no longer drive due to PTSD, host food drives, raise fund through workplace donations and so much more. They are one of the most important assets CWAC has, people who truly care.

Global Giving has been a large part of CWAC’s fundraising success since June of 2010. The support of donors through this giving site has enabled CWAC to service 100’s of Veterans and save 100’s of dogs over the years.

Donors like you are a part of our success story, part of our family. Your support helps us achieve our goals. Sometime it does take a village and CWAC is honored to have such a wonderful one.

We appreciate your ongoing support.

Sincerely,

Cathy

Vail donation
Vail donation
Sephora employees
Sephora employees
Food donation
Food donation
Live, Give PC
Live, Give PC
Motorcycle Rally
Motorcycle Rally
Lila and foster child
Lila and foster child

Links:

Sergio
Sergio

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend.” - Albert Camus

Social isolation is a problem with combat veterans returning home from Iraq and/or Afghanistan with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They tend to avoid people, friendships, social support, and emotional closeness. This escalates the on-going issues of loneliness and helplessness and ends up allowing more time to worry.

The unconditional love of a dog can be, in many situations, an answer. The dog doesn’t judge, or ask questions. It is simply there, providing a basic necessity that all of us yearn for – someone who loves us no matter what. The dog validates the veterans and gives them hope.

Canines With a Cause (CWAC) offers several programs for veterans to engage with dogs. The dogs in our program are rescued from local shelters, the veterans can relate as they know some of the dogs have seen their own war. Dogs receive some basic training in the Utah State Prison where they live and train with women inmates.

Dogs are then placed with veterans to continue their training, this creates a bond and partnership, the veterans learn how to be dog handlers. Leaving their homes and coming to class has proven beneficial for the veterans, no more isolation.

Moving into 2016, CWAC will be offering more programs to benefit veterans. Certified Dog Trainers are in demand, CWAC will be offering internship programs for veterans interested in learning dog training skills and getting needed hours of "hands on" training to work as trainers or start their own business. Helping other veterans is also a benefit.

All of our work is made possible because of your generous support, we couldn't save dogs or support our veterans without you.

Thank you!

Cathy King

Glory
Glory

Links:

soldier and dog
soldier and dog

Man's Best Friend-Comrades in War and Life

After returning home from his final tour in one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan, and the world, Cameron didn't know what he was going to do with his life. Twenty-five years old, he couldn't sleep, had flashbacks of comrades fallen, bleeding out and dying. He drank too much, didn't take care of his health and didn't care whether or not he lived or died. Then came Romeo...

"I adopted a young yellow lab, through CWAC. At first, he was so crazy and hyper. I often considered returning him, and giving up being his forever home. His name is Romeo. He saved my life. Keeping him was like deciding to live. Suicide was no longer an option. I needed him. He needed me. We toughed it out. Now we are better friends then I could have ever imagined. I thank CWAC for saving Romeo from a shelter, and indirectly saving me from suicide."

Dogs and war have a long history, veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan speak of the local stray dogs that keep them company and give them comfort on long, lonely nights. The dogs bark to alert them danger is coming or watch their back when out on a mission. They are trusted companions and have been throughout history.

War dogs have been around for ages, dogs on the battlefield, protecting their partners. As far back as ancient Egypt, dogs were used as both offensive and defensive forces. Some Egyptian murals depict dogs being unleashed on Egyptian warriors’ enemies. Similarly, the Greeks recorded a dog’s contributions on a mural celebrating the Battle of Marathon against the Persians. Written accounts by the Roman writers and historians Plutarch and Pliny exist, and Strabo, a Greek historian, described the dogs being “protected with coats of mail.”

Attila the Hun, William the Conqueror, and succeeding generations of English rulers and leaders; the Spanish conquistadors; Napoleon; and Frederick the Great, dogs have served loyally. A frequently cited example of war dogs and their loyalty is Napoleon’s writing in his memoirs, “I walked over the battlefield and among the slain, a poodle killed bestowing a last lick upon his dead friend’s face. Never had anything on any battlefield caused me a like emotion.” 

Dogs have a bigger purpose after the battlefield, helping veterans return from the war that continues to in their hearts and minds. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Researchers are accumulating evidence that bonding with dogs has biological effects, such as elevated levels of the hormoneoxytocin. “Oxytocin improves trust, the ability to interpret facial expressions, the overcoming of paranoia and other pro-social effects—the opposite of PTSD symptoms,”. Dogs also give unconditional and nonjudgmental love. They require food and exercise, getting veterans out and helping them regain their family and social lives. They give some veterans a purpose to live.

Canines With a Cause would like to thank the men, women and dogs who have served. We would also like to thank those who make our life saving programs possible.

Happy Veterans Day!

Sincerely,

Cathy

in the trenches
in the trenches
loyal friend
loyal friend
Justice
Justice


One of the veterans in our program was involved in the rescue of a German Shepherd called Justice, hoping he might make a good service dog for another vet. Now, a new veteran in our training program has signed the adoption papers for Justice, and is attending classes at CWAC to continue the dog's training. Finding a good dog for a veteran always takes time and requires patience, but a match always makes Dr. Lynne's job so worthwhile!

Finding the right dog for a veteran in the Canines With a Cause program is not an easy job. Shelter dogs need to meet certain criteria, have discipline and necessary skills to train and become a good working partner with their new person.

CWAC is lucky to have on the only animal behavior consultant in Utah affiliated with the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) as our program dog evaluator. Dr. Lynne Gilbert-Norton was born and grew up in England and was always fascinated by animals and animal behavior. She has a BSc in psychology, an MSc in animal behavior, and a PhD in wildlife biology. Her expertise is canine behavior and learning in wild and domestic dogs, and includes studies on social status and personality; boldness and aggression.

Under the guidance of Dr Susan Friedman, a behaviorist with over 25 years of experience in animal training, she trained captive coyotes through shaping and positive reinforcement techniques. Her work is published in a number of scientific journals and she has presented her findings at conferences throughout the UK and the States.

Dr. Lynne works closely with local shelters and program veterans to find the right match taking activity level, size, temperament and other behavior traits into consideration to determine a loving, lifetime partnership. Dr. Lynne is a canine matchmaker!

Due to demand for service and companion dogs, which are NOT funded by the Veterans Administration, we depend upon the generosity of donors like you to fund our lifesaving programs. GlobalGIving's final Bonus Day of the year is on Wednesday, September 16th! Starting at 9am EDT, GlobalGiving will be matching online donations at 30% until the $70,000 in matching runs out.

Every dollar counts! Thank you for your support.
Sincerely,

Cathy

Dr. Lynne
Dr. Lynne

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Canines With a Cause

Location: Park City, UT - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.canineswithacause.org
Project Leader:
Cathy King
Park City, UT United States
$299,820 raised of $350,000 goal
 
 
6,556 donations
$50,180 to go
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