The five service pups I've raised...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Welcome Home New Vets

Sometimes I want to blog about something that happened, and well I just don't get to the computer for awhile. So it goes in this case, as it went with yesterday's post.

Back in August I experienced some things I'll share here;
days filled with appreciation and wonder.

I volunteered at the CCI booth for "Welcome Home New Vets" at the local VA Hospital.

This was a privilege. An information fair was put on to help returning injured veterans know what resources are available for them. The hallways were filled with vendors promoting what they offered that could help with various injuries.

I worked the booth with Jim and two pups in training, which are always a natural draw for folks.

CCI launched an initiative last summer to actively outreach to military veterans so that they know the benefits that a trained service dog can provide them. See this link here:

I’m used to volunteering to work CCI booths when most of the questions are about donating time or money or answering questions about puppy raising. This booth duty was different. As it was quite sobering to meet these young men; men that have given so much for the benefit of others; soldiers working for freedom in the world. What was so remarkable was seeing these young men with their various disabilities just going about getting on with their lives.

I saw a dad in a wheel chair with his wife and two little kids, one wanting to climb up on his lap to "ride" as he had just parked his wheel chair van and was wheeling into the hospital from the parking lot as I came out to toilet one of the training pups. I thanked him for his contribution. (I have stopped using the word “sacrifice” when thanking veterans I see now). For I realize most don’t consider it a sacrifice. They truly consider it a service to their country. It makes me so proud, so honored to live in America.

As an additional note ~ ~
On Saturday 8/22 CCI had their largest graduation ceremony to date with 23 people/dog teams (two classes- June and August) graduating. Normally there are 4 classes, one each quarter, so this was awesome to see so many new teams going out into a new world - a world filled MORE independence, thanks to four paws trotting along side of them. Three of the graduating teams were Iraq veterans – they all received standing ovations.

It was very moving.

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