Each year on the 4th of July holiday, we celebrate the historic day our country declared our independence. Traditions for this holiday run deep. Picnics, parades, fireworks and fun are all part of celebrating this special holiday. While we enjoy the excitement of all this holiday brings, let’s remember the veterans and active military members who find it a little harder to cope with their symptoms of PTSD around Independence Day. The fireworks we enjoy watching explode in the night sky, with their piercing noise and bright flashes of light, can be a trigger for unwelcome memories and flashbacks for combat veterans. Not all veterans with PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries are affected by fireworks. However, for some, it takes them right back to the battlefield.
We hope you enjoy celebrating Independence Day this year. Let’s remember those who fought and sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy every day.
Please keep your pet’s safety in mind too during this holiday. The 4th of July is a difficult time for a lot of pets. The unusual roaring fireworks nearby can send some pets into a terrified frenzy. According to multiple animal control organizations, both local and national, more pets go missing on or around the 4th of July than any other holiday. (see infographic below for safety tips)
By using some common sense, you can help protect your pet or find them if they run away during the holiday. For example, take a photo of your pet just in case the unthinkable happens and they become lost. Is your pet microchipped? Is the microchip information up to date?
If you live in an environment where it is hot, and most of us do this time of year, think about heat safety for both humans and pets. Make sure this 4th of July is fun and safe for everyone.
Mark & NeanderPaul’s “4 Pets For Vets” campaign on 100.7 KSLX radio is ramping up this week with a soft opening. They plan to launch the campaign on Thursday at Desert Diamond Casino, a major sponsor of the campaign. Next week, June 17-21, Mark and NeaderPaul will be working hard during their morning show to promote donations for Soldier’s Best Friend. Link to page
Tied to PTSD Awareness Month, their goal is to raise $20,000, enough to give four veteran/dog teams everything they need to train and qualify as a service dog at no cost to the veteran. Funding is used to provide each veteran/dog team with professional training, equipment and supplies to care for and train the dog, veterinary care and the support they need to successfully complete this life-changing training program. It is amazing how lives can be changed once the veteran has a trained service dog who can help them cope with their symptoms of PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injury. Veterans who had become nearly home-bound before entering the program can better handle going to public places once again with their trained canine partner by their side. Some veterans who were working or going to school before entering the program, but struggling to do so, find their daily routine much easier to navigate thanks to their service dog. In turn, their families, friends, co-workers and communities are also positively impacted.
Last year, the KSLX audience rallied behind this campaign in an astounding way. We were so thankful for their strong support. Because of their generosity, many lives were forever changed: veterans who can enjoy the everyday things most of us take for granted, Arizona homeless dogs who now have a forever home and bonded partner, families, friends and many others. We know this program makes a difference from the words of some of those who have been impacted:
“Thank you for giving us back my husband, their dad and grandpa, our hero. You are not just touching two lives, you are touching families.”
Wife of a veteran graduate – April 2019
“For many years, my PTSD was treated with multiple medications. Despite those prescriptions, I remained anxious. I had no desire to get off the lounger, to go out, or to accomplish anything. Since bonding with Shadow, I am less frustrated and anxious. Some meds have been eliminated and others decreased. I found myself looking forward to the days I was scheduled for SBF training. Due to [my trainer’s] knowledge, skills and patient encouragement, I enjoyed learning how a dog thinks. I am willing to go to new places with Shadow and reconnect with the world. I can count on her to ’watch my back.’ I am, also, grateful for Shadow’s help with my balance and for her retrieving my dropped objects. Thank you to the entire Soldier’s Best Friend staff for ’my little shadow,’ my friend.”
Graduate December 2018
On Thursday, June 6, 2019, we mark the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. The men and women who fought in WWII are now in their late 80’s and 90’s. Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, it was estimated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that 496,777 were still alive in 2018. Of those, a little over 13,000 reside in Arizona.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower sent troops into Operation Overlord, code-named D-Day, on June 6, 1944. It was the largest amphibious military operation in history. Over 155,000 Allied forces (American, British and Canadian) invaded northern France, changing the course of WWII. It was a critical turning point in the war.
The 75th anniversary celebration of this momentous military effort is taking place in multiple countries. We commemorate the heroism and bravery of the men and women who changed history that day. It is important to remember them, as well as remember history’s lessons. Many of the people and relics from 75 years ago are gone; the results of their heroism are not.
At Soldier’s Best Friend, we not only celebrate this important anniversary, we are proud to share that we currently have a WWII veteran in our service dog training program. In fact, Elmer served in the Army during three separate conflicts: WWII, Korea then Vietnam. He and his dog, Comadre, are working together as a team in Sierra Vista to master their service dog skills. Currently, they are about halfway through their training program. Elmer and his wife attended the April graduation for other area teams, where he reported he and his rescued dog, Comadre, were doing very well in their training. We hope Comadre will continue to be of great help to Elmer and improve his quality of life. (photo: Elmer and Comadre passed their Canine Good Citizen test in February.)
Anyone interested in reading some history about D-Day, can find information, photos and video on the History channel website. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/d-day
For some, Memorial Day is a difficult time, especially for veterans remembering their brothers and sisters in combat who didn’t come home. Help is available at the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans, active service members, their family and friends can seek confidential help 24/7.
1-800-273-8255 press 1, text 838255, or live chat.
See details: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
May 30, 1966 was the first declaration of Memorial Day in the country. Today, we honor and recognize all American men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom in the line of duty. Memorial Day is dedicated to paying tribute to the fallen on a national stage.
We get the day off, not to picnic or enjoy a well-earned 3-day weekend, but to highlight the service of those who lost their lives, fighting to protect ours. It is vital to reflect on the sacrifices made to maintain our rights to live as freely as we do. These men and women are not forgotten. Each one is missed by their family, friends, brothers/sisters in combat and by our team at Soldier’s Best Friend.
Each year, the number of military members’ lives lost tallies higher. It is important we acknowledge those who have given their all for the country they love. Whether they fell to a musket at Gettysburg, were swallowed at the beaches of Normandy, struggled for breath through the jungles of Vietnam, or sacrificed over an IED in the Middle East, we owe them unwavering gratitude for giving their life to maintain the safety and prosperity of ours.
This Memorial Day we encourage everyone throughout the Soldier’s Best Friend community and beyond to make it a point to show your appreciation. Even in the smallest gestures, you are playing a vital role in the celebration and remembrance of those who have served.
Soldier’s Best Friend wants to thank all of our military members who continue to fight, knowing what sacrifice might one day be required of them. We are grateful for the next generation of men and women who serve, never letting fear derail their patriotism.
It isn’t without loss that we truly value what we have gained. No matter which branch they fought under, they stood united in their fight.
Watch for us on the Channel 12 Arizona Midday show on Wednesday, May 15, at 1:00 pm Arizona time. Channel 12 is spotlighting Luke Air Force Base during the two weeks leading up to Memorial Day. Soldier’s Best Friend has the opportunity to raise public awareness as part of this campaign. SBF President, Jill Nelson, and a SBF veteran/dog team, will be interviewed during the May 15 Arizona Midday show. If you miss it, the interview can be found afterward on the Arizona Midday website at https://www.12news.com/arizona-midday.
If you live in the Channel 12 broadcast area, you may see short commercials about SBF from May 14-24. Channel 12 filmed Jill, and some of our graduate teams in action, to put together this commercial. Our goal is to raise awareness in Arizona about our life-changing program, so we can help more veterans and rescue more Arizona homeless dogs.
Those of you on Facebook, may see a Facebook ad about us too. We hope these efforts through Channel 12’s Memorial Day campaign will have an impact. We have the ability to help more combat veterans and Arizona homeless dogs. If you, or someone you know, is a combat veteran with PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injury, check out more of our website. A simple website form to request an application can be found here. If you complete the request form, our application will be on its way to your email inbox right away. If you have questions, send us a Contact Us email or call our headquarters. Make sure you mention you saw us on Channel 12, so we know if our efforts were successful.
Did you see us on Good Morning Arizona (local channels 3 and 5) on Wednesday, February 20? Anchor Jaime Cerreta and her cameraman came to our campus in the wee hours to do multiple live segments during the show. She interviewed SBF board member, Marty Park, and one of our graduate teams Dave and Caleb. This was an amazing opportunity to spotlight the important work we do in the community to help combat veterans and Arizona homeless dogs.
Marty shared information about our mission and how our service/therapeutic companion dog training program makes an impact. Dave and Caleb were model representatives of our program. They graduated in 2015 and have stayed engaged with SBF, representing us on many occasions. Dave shared his story, and how life used to be for him compared to now. He says going through the program and having Caleb as his service dog has changed his life for the better. Dave has gone from never leaving his house to being actively involved in multiple veteran groups, and community events.
Good Morning Arizona shared one of the live segments with us. If you missed it, you can watch it now.
Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Holiday!
As we near the end of 2018, we think back on all the wonderful things this year brought to Soldier’s Best Friend. Through the incredible support of many of you, many teams have successfully completed their training. To date, 258 veteran/dog teams have graduated. That means 516 lives forever changed. Many foundations, civic groups, American Legions, other veteran groups, businesses, families and individuals contributed gifts to make it possible to offer this life-changing program at no cost to the veterans. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We continue to utilize our beautiful campus in Peoria, AZ. This year, one of our graduates in Sierra Vista gifted SBF building space for training. Now our teams in the southern part of Arizona have dedicated space, giving them the ability to train with fewer distractions. We continue to train in borrowed spaces in our other training areas including, East Valley Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott and Flagstaff.
Our annual Sporting Clay event and Golf Tournament were both successful this year, raising funds to support teams in our program. Thanks to all the participants, sponsors, volunteers and other supporters who had a part in this success. We look forward to hosting both of these events in 2019 and hope you will join us.
There are many more wonderful things that came our way this year and, if you were a part of it, we thank you. We recognize how fortunate we are to have such dedicated volunteers, donors, trainers, sponsors and supporters. You are critical to the success story. Whether you know if or not, you are making a lasting impact in many lives. So during this holiday season of celebration, we celebrate you, and wish you all the best for a happy holiday.
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on November 27th and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back.
Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y – a community and cultural center in New York City − #GivingTuesday inspired millions of people to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $300 million was raised online to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness. “We are incredibly inspired by the way the #GivingTuesday community has embraced this concept for a worldwide movement,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and Executive Director of 92Y. “As we prepare for November 27, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. The levels of creativity, effort and the quality of the new ideas people have contributed and shared are phenomenal.”
As we celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we want to say “thank you” to everyone who has supported Soldier’s Best Friend. Whether you have supported us with a donation, sponsorship, participating in one of our events, or you have given of your time and talent, you have been an integral part of helping us grow and thrive. We sincerely thank you for your gifts.
If you would like to support Soldier’s Best Friend on Giving Tuesday, please make your donation via our website. Your gift will benefit combat veterans and Arizona homeless dogs going through our training program. A combat veteran and their canine partner will learn the tasks and skills they need to navigate as a team in public. Your gift will help provide them with professional training, equipment and tools, veterinary care and the support they need to succeed. Thank you for your generosity on this day of giving.
Veteran’s Day is a day of remembrance and gratitude. We honor and celebrate the men and women who have bravely served our nation and fought to maintain our freedoms. For some the fight continues, long after they return home. We encourage everyone to be aware of the internal battles that veterans may face. Today, and everyday, we thank all veterans for your service, courage, and strength.
Veterans in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Call 800-273-8255 and press 1
Chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat
Text to 838255