Abington-area pooches, get ready to report for duty.
A group of students from Marywood University's CSI Pi honor society in counseling as well as the school's campus ministry program and student veterans alliance have joined forces with the Abington Area Community Park to host "Operation Tails for Troops" this Sunday, April 7, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Abington Dog Park, located behind Hillside Park at the intersection of Winola Road and Grove Street in Clarks Summit.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Paws and Stripes, a New Mexico-based non-profit organization that trains rescued shelter dogs to become service dogs for wounded military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injuries. The event's ultimate goal is to raise $2,500, which will sponsor one veteran and dog through the program.
Jennifer Rojek, who is the student service coordinator for CSI Pi, explained why event organizers decided to help Paws and Stripes.
"From a counseling aspect, the organization pulled at me because this is so big right now with PTSD and traumatic brain injury with veterans coming back from overseas," she said. "With counseling, there is only so much we can do, but the dogs are with the veterans 24 hours a day. They can help them with things that the counselors or people might not be able to help them with."
"Service dogs for people with physical disabilities are different from what these dogs are trained for because these dogs are being trained for more psychological duties - it is more complex," she continued. "They are in tune with their owners and try to keep their stress levels down and help them with their mental well- being."
Operation Tails for Troops will include basket raffles, a homemade dog treat sale, a doggie talent show and the chance for guests to meet shelter dogs that are up for adoption at local shelters.
One of the event highlights, however, is the K-9s and Crowns dog pageant, featuring a dog costume contest, which will begin at 1 p.m.
"We are going to have a patriotic dog contest, we're encouraging people who bring their dogs to dress them up patriotically so they can participate," Rojek said. "There will be a dog pageant with awards for the cutest, most patriotic and funniest dressed dogs."
All dogs attending the dog park for the event must be leashed at all times. For more information on Paws and Stripes, visit http://www.pawsandstripes.org. For more information on Operation Tails for Troops, visit its Facebook event page at http://www.facebook.com/events/350679415045009.
Operation Tails for Troops comes to Abington Dog Park