Recognizing the tremendous need for service dogs among veterans of the United States military, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) has selected Paws and Stripes as its official charity.
With an increased number of military troops returning home, many veterans soon discover that the trials of war do not end abruptly. Instead, a staggering number of veterans experience ongoing struggles with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI.) Paws and Stripes, a nonprofit organization, works to provide service dogs for veterans of the United States military suffering from PTSD and TBI. The service dogs are obtained exclusively from shelters, and are trained by professionals at no cost to the veteran. Paws and Stripes allows the veteran to participate in the weekly training of the service dog from the first day, providing a unique form of therapy for the veteran.
Through the partnership, NAPPS members will have the opportunity to designate a portion of their membership dues to Paws and Stripes, participate in several fundraising activities throughout the year – including a charitable auction benefitting Paws and Stripes at the NAPPS Annual Conference and Small Business Forum– and foster greater public awareness of the vital importance of service dogs for veterans through grassroots initiatives.
Paws and Stripes was founded by Lindsey Stanek, whose husband was sent home from his third tour in Iraq for injuries he received on deployment. After nine months in treatment at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, Lindsey’s husband, Jim, discovered that the most comfort and relief he found was in the presence of therapy dogs. In May of 2010, Lindsey and Jim tried to obtain a trainer for their rescue dog, Sarge, and soon discovered the difficulty and expenses associated with this process. After being either turned down or unable to pay for service dogs from multiple organizations, Lindsey and Jim decided to start their own organization for veterans, and incorporated the organization in June 2010. To learn more about Paws and Stripes, please visit www.pawsandstripes.org.
Donating to Paws and Stripes is as simple as going to the website and visiting the donate page at www.pawsandstripes.org. Also, consider being a private sponsor for a veteran and dog.
It is always important to be aware that service dogs are not pets, they are working dogs with a purpose. The public is cautioned to not attempt to pet or distract the dog in any way. Always, give the dog and its handler the respect of allowing the dog to do its job.
It is also important, for businesses, to respect the rights set forth for individuals and their service dogs in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Access must always be allowed to a handler and his/her service dog. The only time that a business can ask a handler and his dog to leave is if the dog is a threat to others, or is creating a disturbance and the handler is unable to control the dog.
For more information about disabled Americans’ rights with service animals, please visit www.ada.gov