Two of our favorite subjects!
Rescue dogs pay it forward, saving traumatized vets
I wrote about the Sansales a year ago, after the couple created their first calendar featuring rescue dogs working as therapy dogs. Lynn, who is retired from hospital administrative work, interviewed the pets’ owners about their outreach in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and libraries.
Paul, a Twin Cities art director and illustrator, photographed, then painted, exquisite portraits of the pooches.
They sold nearly all 4,000 “Rescue Dog to Therapy Dog” calendars within weeks and were set to create a similar calendar for 2013. Then Fitz changed everything.
Fitz is an English cocker spaniel and, according to Paul, “probably the prettiest dog I’ve ever seen.” That isn’t the reason he’s the cover boy for the 2013 edition, “Rescued Heroes.”
Fitz earned top billing by proving that a well-trained rescue dog also can work wonders with veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. “That’s the ultimate dog story, if you ask me,” Lynn said, “because they save lives.”
This isn’t the story they planned to tell. But while marketing the 2012 calendar, the Sansales were approached by Grace Morris of Brooklyn Center. Morris, owner of a dog-sitting business (www.petbuddyplus.com), bought a case of calendars and mentioned to the Sansales an organization she supports called Paws and Stripes. The Albuquerque-based non-profit (www.pawsandstripes.org) provides trained service dogs at no charge to veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
The organization was founded by Jim Stanek, a veteran of Iraq whose severe PTSD left him home-bound. After receiving his service dog, Sarge, Stanek weaned himself off of 10 drugs and regained his life. He and his wife, Lindsey, were featured in Lisa Ling’s documentary, “The Invisible Wounds of War.”
Read the rest here *sniff*