When the Leos Club decided to take on a project to raise money for soldiers/veterans with post traumatic stress, little did they know that it would lead them to some great partnerships, first with Scotiabank and eventually with the Canadian Service Dog Foundation Inc.
On Wednesday, December 4, all the partners in this wonderful story got together to pass on the results of their project. Joining them was Eddi and his best friend Jamie Billings of Morrisburg.
Eddi is a trained service dog, a 102 pound German Shepherd who came to Jamie through the Foundation, located in Ottawa.
On Wednesday, December 4th, Eddi and Jamie joined Foundation vice-president Peter Woolley and board member John Gray to accept a cheque totalling $1,129 from the Leos project.
The project involved two bake sales, one at Scotiabank on Friday, November 8 and the other at the arena in Morrisburg, on Saturday, November 9.
Thanks to the bank personnel who provided the baked goods and Scotiabank customers who purchased the goodies, the first bake sale raised $398 which was matched by Scotiabank.
Then on the Saturday, with members of the Morrisburg Lions club, the Leos Club and their moms and dads and friends and family providing the baked goods (and minor hockey moms and dads purchasing the goodies) the second bake sale raised another $300 plus.
So when the Leos put it all together, they totalled $1,129 for their project to raise money for soldiers living with post traumatic stress.
Research and several phone calls made by their mentor Linda Robinson then led the Leos to the Canadian Service Dog Foundation Inc. (CSDF).
CSDF is a non-profit organization committed to assisting people who live with a serious disability through use of trained service dogs, search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support animals; and to support human safety through use of trained police service dogs, military working dogs, search and rescue dogs and detection dogs.
CSDF’s primary initiative is to provide opportunities and resources to support past or presently serving Canadian Forces personnel or emergency services workers who are suffering from operational stress injuries through the provision of professionally trained service dogs, training courses and certification.
CSDF programs are intended to offer support to Canadians with specific psychiatric conditions in their effort to lead active and healthy lifestyles.
“We greatly appreciate this support,” said Woolley at Wednesday’s presentation. “We provide the service dogs to veterans at no cost.”
Woolley explained that the Foundation is “trying to nationalize the standard for service dogs. Our intent is to provide service dogs that are properly trained. It’s a long road, but we are really working towards it.”
Woolley said a recent Service Dog Summit in Ottawa, and attended by Veteran’s Affairs, was very encouraging. He explained that while Veteran’s Affairs does not recognize service dogs, they are now beginning to look at them and the wonderful possibilities and services they can provide.
With a cost of up to $30,000 for a trained dog and a time frame of up to two years to train them, qualified service dogs are simply out of reach financially for many people..
Wooley explained how service dogs can provide medical and emotional support to someone who wakes up with night terrors. “They can sense their partner’s anxiety and in some cases they can summon assistance. We have dogs trained to do deep muscle massage by putting their paws on a person’s chest. We have dogs trained to make space for their partner in a crowded situation simply by using their body.”
Woolley estimates there are about 120 veterans nationally who have service dogs. “So there aren’t that many. Not all vets need a dog and not all vets would want a dog, but for those who do, in many cases it gives them back their life.”
“Donations like this, really help us. No amount is too small. This is a fantastic donation.”