Commack Students Give Towards Training Service Dogs To Assist Returning Veterans
In honor of Veterans Day, student members of Commack High School’s Cause Four Paws Club and the Literacy Club presented a check for $1,000.00 to the America’s VetDogs Association. The money was raised through fundraisers and pizza sales that will be used towards the cost of training a service dog to assist a returning veteran. The cost for training a helper dog is $50,000. These service dogs help the veterans deal with such things as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, as well as a number of other physical and emotional challenges that they face when they return home. These special dogs are trained to turn on light switches, warn a vet of a seizure that is about to happen and awaken them when they have nightmares.
America’s VetDog is part of the Guide Dog Foundation. Sue Semple and Hugh Reilly, representatives from America’s VetDog Association, attended the clubs’ meeting in November, and educated the club members about how valuable these dogs are to the returning vets. They also brought along two dogs: Major Timmy, a yellow Labrador Retriever, who has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, offering the soldiers unconditional love when they returned to the barracks after a mission, and Tobay, a black Labrador Retriever, who is currently going through puppy training to make a difference in the life of a veteran. Hugh and Sue told many poignant stories about the service dogs, and Hugh stated, “Not only does a vet dog provide assistance with daily activities, but the dog provides the motivation to conquer new challenges. People focus on the dog, not the disability. With a vet dog by his or her side, a veteran is not alone.”
Club members were surprised to hear of the many activities and lifesaving chores that these dogs perform to assist their veteran with daily living activities. The members are eager to volunteer to help at the Guide Dog Foundation when they are 16 years of age, as the Foundation is always looking for help with these loving animals.
In photo at top, presenting a check for $1,000, are: Hugh Reilly with Major Timmy, Sue Semple with Tobay, club members and club advisors Laura Revera, Trish DeRose, and Isabel Zinman.
By Brenda Lentsch