Emmy Award-Winning Journalist & Host Maria Menounos and Her Dog Whinnie Team up to Encourage Dog Owners to Join Purina’s #DogThanking Movement.
MARIA MENOUNOS, Emmy Award-winning journalist and host of Apple Podcast “Conversations with Maria”
In celebration of the National Dog Show Presented by Purina and the Thanksgiving holiday, Purina invites dog lovers across the nation to share why they are thankful for their pet, using #DogThanking and tagging @Purina. This November, Purina wants to recognize the four-legged friends who make our lives so special, especially those pets that act as service animals to veterans across the country.
From November 9-25, for every unique post shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that includes @Purina and #DogThanking, Purina will donate $1 (up to $25,000) to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation’s Pets and Vets program. This amazing program helps pair shelter pets with veterans coping with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, and other service-related challenges as they transition back to civilian life following their service. Additionally, through Veterans Day, the Purina Dog Chow Service Dog Salute campaign is also paying tribute to our armed forces and the loyal dogs that serve them by sharing their stories and donating up to $500,000.
The National Dog Show will premiere on Thanksgiving Day on NBC at noon in all time zones. In its 17th year, the show celebrates man’s best friend and continues an established family holiday tradition. The show will crown one of America’s great dogs as its 2018 champion, bringing canine competition and entertainment to more than 20 million viewers. More than 2,000 dogs representing more than 175 breeds will vie for Best in Show honors. Beloved TV personality John O’Hurley, best known as “J. Peterman” on Seinfeld, will serve as show co-host, along with veteran dog show analyst David Frei. NBC sports commentator Mary Carillo will also be participating as a National Dog Show correspondent.
MORE ABOUT MARIA MENOUNOS:
As a journalist, Emmy Award Winner, Maria Menounos, holds the distinct honor of having conducted the only interview with the entire Obama family: an interview touted by ABC News as the top defining moments leading to Obama’s victory. Maria’s achievements have thus far set numerous like industry milestones. Her groundbreaking conversational style of reporting led her, at the age of 22, to become the youngest person ever to host “Entertainment Tonight.” She would go on to do the same for the “Today” show and “Nightly News" AND become the first person in the history of Hollywood to report for network news and star in a wide-release feature film. Currently, Maria hosts the leading female Apple Podcast, 'Conversations with Maria!’ Maria is also THE most viewed face in all of American cinema as Host and Producer of NCM's 'Noovie', the cinema pre-show seen daily, before each and every feature, on 70% of America's movie screens.
Saving America’s Vets and America’s Pets
New National Initiative by American Humane Seeks to Help Stem Tide of Veteran Suicide and Euthanasia of Shelter Animals
First Class of Highly Trained Service Animals Graduates, Helps Give Veterans and Veterans’ Families Their Lives Back, While Providing a Second Chance to Abandoned Dogs
American Humane’s Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs has launched a new initiative to harness the healing powers of the human-animal bond to help our brave veterans and more of America’s beautiful, adoptable animals. Every day, 20 veterans struggling with the invisible wounds of war take their own lives, and 670,000 dogs are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year. Vast anecdotal evidence and a growing body of scientific research show that specialized PTS and TBI service dogs can offer life-changing—and often lifesaving—support to affected veterans. However, there are obstacles standing in the way for veterans in need of service dogs: Waiting lists are long and the training process is time-consuming and expensive, costing upwards of $30,000 per dog.
To help begin turning the tide of veteran suicide and save the lives of more adoptable animals facing an uncertain future, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, is announcing the first graduating class of service dogs and retired warriors in its new national “Shelter to Service” program. The initiative rescues shelter dogs and specially trains them to become lifesaving service animals for military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). American Humane’s new canine training center provides specialized PTS and TBI service dogs to veterans in need, at no cost to the recipient.
American Humane is introducing the first class of service dog graduates at the Hamptons, Long Island home of philanthropists Jewel and Robert Morris amid a sea of some 200 humanitarian and celebrity advocates for America’s veterans and animals, including country star and longtime supporter of the military Naomi Judd, NHL star Matt Martin, former PepsiCo Restaurants International CEO Tim Lane, Hallmark Channels President and CEO Bill Abbott, New York City socialite Jean Shafiroff, and many others.
Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, said: “As an organization that has worked for more than a century to help both these groups, American Humane was compelled to provide help and healing, and created a nationwide model based on our development of the country’s first national training standards to help ensure veterans an adequate quantity as well as quality of lifesaving service dogs.” Veterans now face wait times of a dangerously unacceptable 18- to 24-months.
“With 20 veterans committing suicide each day and PTSD cases continuing to increase at alarming rates in the veterans community, it is unconscionable that we have not been taking advantage of every possible mechanism to reverse this horrific tragedy,” said internationally renowned philanthropist and American Humane board member Lois Pope. “It is equally tragic that hundreds of thousands of dogs are euthanized in shelters each year. Given that it is well-known that dogs have an indelible connection with humans and have served as therapy and service companions for people with physical and emotional afflictions for so many years, the Shelter to Service initiative is a perfect solution to both problems. That is why I’m pleased that through the Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs, American Humane has pioneered and is taking the national lead on partnering veterans with shelter canines in order to help them heal from the invisible wounds of war.”
American Humane began working with the U.S. military more than 100 years ago when they deployed to the battlefields of World War I Europe to rescue more than 68,000 wounded war horses every month. Following World War II they advanced the field of animal-assisted therapy to help returning veterans cope with the invisible wounds of war, and aided children of military families during their parents’ deployments. Recently, they helped change the law to make sure we bring our military hero dogs home to U.S. soil when their service to our country is finished. They also work to reunite these four-footed warriors with their former handlers, and provide them with free specialized healthcare so they can enjoy the happy and healthy retirement they deserve. This newest initiative seeks to save the lives of more veterans, as well as those of abandoned, adoptable animals.
Program Made Possible by Committed Friends and Generous Sponsors
American Humane’s Shelter to Service program has been made possible thanks to a wide range of committed supporters and generous sponsors, including, among many others, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Zoetis, Hallmark Channel, NCR Foundation, Banfield Foundation, Adtalem Foundation, Kriser’s Natural Pet, Matt Martin Foundation, Door Automation Corp., Kyrus Charities, Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, The Philly Pack, Monster Energy, Marta Heflin Foundation, Red River Charitable Foundation, Nora Roberts Family Foundation, All About Dogs, LLC, and Merck Animal Health. American Humane is grateful to all of them. Without their support, this program would not be possible.
“I am so pleased to be supporting their newest effort to save America’s vets and America’s pets by pairing our retired warriors with trained service dogs who are themselves rescues from shelters,” said country singer, longtime military supporter, and American Humane board member Naomi Judd. “In this way, we can save lives on both ends of one healing leash.”
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.AmericanHumane.org.
SMITHTOWN, NY – (September 21, 2015) – Pairing service dogs with military veterans suffering from PTSD has proven to help the healing process. According to the National Center for Health Research, studies have shown that a dog’s presence, loyalty and love are known to improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and regulating the heart rate during stressful situations. Paws of War, was founded to help those military veterans by training rescued dogs to be service dogs. Now, their mission is expanding to incorporate a Paws of War Therapy program, in honor and memory of US Air Force Veteran Duane Franzone.
“A few years ago, we saved a pitbull mix, Jada. She’d been living under a dirt crawlspace with a broken jaw. Jada was trained to become Duane’s service dog and she meant the world to him,” says Dori Scofield, executive director of Paws of War. “After Duane passed away, his family wanted to carry out his legacy of helping other veterans. That is what inspired us to start a therapy program.”
The Paws of War Therapy Program will train rescued dogs to become the best therapy dogs they can be before visiting any facilities that help veterans. Therapy dogs’ responsibilities include:
- Provide psychological or physiological therapy to individuals other than their handlers/owners
- Maintain stable temperaments and friendly, easy-going personalities
- Visit various institutions like hospitals, schools, hospices, psychotherapy offices, nursing homes and more
Many veterans at medical facilities also miss the love and companionship of their own family pets while they are away from home. Bringing in canine therapy does wonders for them. The animals draw out even the most isolated personality, and having to praise the animals helps traumatized veterans overcome emotional numbness.
We anticipate getting many dogs and veterans involved with this program so that we can continue our work of helping both ends of the leash,” states Scofield. “We are both honored to provide this service in Duane’s memory and to expand our work with canines and veterans through our Paws of War program.”
Paws of War is an all volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members with their pets, and provides service and therapy dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. To learn more, get involved, or to make a donation to support Paws of War please visit the website: www.pawsofwar.org.
About Paws of War
Based in New York and founded by Guardians of Rescue, Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at www.pawsofwar.org.
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2 Wolves Films, eOne Entertainment and Strings of Films present a 112 minute, R rated, Music, Drama, directed by Daniel Duran and written by Oscar Orlando Torres with a theater release date of May 8, 2015.
When things get tough, it’s often the simple things that make the greatest impact on our lives.
Kathy Smith knows that only too well. She lost her husband Dennis to the effects of Agent Orange exposure he received while serving his country in Viet Nam. Dennis never complained, instead he was proud to have served his country.
After losing Dennis, Kathy wanted to make his life and his service to our nation meaningful so she founded a non-profit called Dog Tag Heroes to help veterans and their families with quality of life issues, which other organizations often overlook.
Kathy realizes the importance of helping them get back into the mainstream of society and has used the "simple things" to help that happen. Something as practical as taking care of a pet while the veteran is in the hospital or making sure the person has a Christmas tree can mean a great deal. Other examples may include providing home furnishings, assisting with their short term financial needs, or providing a bicycle to make it possible for them to get to work, a bus station, a doctor’s appointment or just get to the store.
Because of Kathy's personal involvement, she has single-handedly impacted more lives than veteran organizations that are much larger. What makes her efforts even more remarkable is that she has been performing her generous acts while taking intense chemo-therapy for pancreatic cancer. She is still battling the cancer, although it is currently in remission.
Despite her personal challenges, Kathy remains focused on her mission to help our veterans by opening a thrift store called Veterans Exchange Store. This will enable Dog Tag Heroes to be self-sustaining while providing expanded services to our veterans and their families.
Dog Tag Heroes needs to raise $175,000 dollars to make it happen. Your generosity will make it possible to keep Kathy’s dream alive to help America's veterans for years to come.
Dog Tag Hehoes - to donate: 727-577-5455 or link to PayPal on Facebook: www.facebook.com/dogtagheroes
SMITHTOWN, NY – (December 17, 2014) - Guardians of Rescue, a national organization dedicated to the welfare of animals rescued Jada, a 3 year old pit bull living in a dirt crawl space under the foundation of a home on a frigid winter day in 2013. That was her life, or more appropriately, her existence. Now, on December 23, 2014, Jada, has become a fully trained service dog through their Paws of War Program, and will be placed with local veteran. “When we found Jada a year ago, she’d been used for breeding and lived outside. She had a broken jaw that healed crooked and she was found huddled in a dirt crawl space. We took her in and as we got to know her, we saw what an amazing personality she has,” affirms Dori Scofield, vice-president of Guardians of Rescue. “We decided to put her into our Paws of War Program and train her to become a service dog for a veteran suffering from PTSD. She has proven to be amazingly smart, and also an inspiration for forgiveness and survival!" With a large number of military men and women returning home and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Guardians of Rescue wanted to do something to help. Guardians of Rescue started the “Paws of War” program, which takes the time to rescue dogs and train them to suit the needs of those with PTSD and TBI and match them to a veteran. Jada will go to, Air Force Sergeant Duane R. Franzone for Christmas. Duane will now join the ranks of dozens of service dogs and veterans who have been united through Guardians of Rescue and are now on the road to recovery. On December 23, 2014, Jada will finally meet her new owner and pal, Duane R. Franzone, a former sergeant in the Air Force, at the Save-a-Pet facility in Long Island, New York. Franzone spent 12 1/2 years in the Air Force, including deployment in Afghanistan, before being medically retired and now suffers from PTSD that has effects on his daily life. “I’m thrilled to be able to welcome Jada into my home. I hope that she can help me with my PTSD and I can help her by providing her a home and love,” affirms Sgt. Franzone. “It’s the best Christmas present I could ask for.” “The holidays can be particularly rough for PTSD veterans because of the increase in crowds, noise and activities,” affirms Scofield. “We want Jada and Duane to be able to be together for the holidays to help each other, especially after all that Duane has sacrificed for our country, he deserves to feel safe and loved.” To learn more or to make a donation, visit the site at www.guardiansofrescue.org. About Guardians of Rescue Based in New York, Guardians of Rescue is an international organization whose mission is to protect the well being of all animals. They provide aid to animals in distress, including facilitating foster programs, rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups and providing support to families, both military or not, who need assistance due to economic factors. To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit the site at www.guardiansofrescue.org.
SMITHTOWN, NEW YORK – (February 5, 2013) – Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is something that many people are vaguely familiar with. Yet they may not know exactly what it is or what can be done about it. PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after someone has gone through a traumatic event, such as a war; this makes it common among veterans. The more people understand this condition, the more likely they will seek to receive the help they need in order to overcome it.
“Veterans have served time protecting our country. Once they come home, it is our job to step up and help protect them,” explains Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue. “Many of our veterans are suffering from PTSD and need resources and help in order to help them improve their quality of life. We try to do our part in helping those veterans, and have been successful so far.”
Here are 5 things every veteran should know about PTSD:
- They are not alone. PTSD is common among veterans, so much so that it is estimated that around 400,000 of them currently experience it. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reports that the average PTSD rate for all adults is 6.8 percent. Yet for veterans it ranges from 12-31 percent, depending on their service. For example, the PTSD rate for those who served in Vietnam is 31 percent, while those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is 14 percent.
- It changes people. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), PTSD changes the body’s response to stress. It does this by affecting the stress hormones and chemicals that carry information between the nerves. This creates an anxiety in people, one that comes with a range of side effects.
- They may have the symptoms. Some veterans may not recognize that they have PTSD, yet they may have some of the symptoms. Those symptoms include reliving the event, nightmares, emotional numbing, avoidance, being easily startled, and feeling irritated, among others. Veterans who have these symptoms for more than a 30-day period should be evaluated to determine whether they have PTSD.
- There are three main categories. The NIH breaks down PTSD symptoms into three main categories, which include reliving the event, avoidance, and arousal (e.g., anxiety, being paranoid, etc.). Each of these tends to disturb their day-to-day activity and life. Another aspect is that veterans may feel guilt about the event, or for being one who has survived it when others didn’t.
- There is help. There is help for those who have PTSD. Such things as having a good social support system, attending a support group, and desensitization treatment can be helpful in preventing and addressing it. Animal therapy is another effective treatment method, which involves getting veterans around animals, such as getting them a dog.
The group is making plans to visit military bases and pick up dogs of those soldiers who need help taking care of them while they are serving abroad. This is instrumental so they don’t end up in high kill shelters and can be adopted out or placed in foster homes. They have recently made stops at Fort Stewart and are soon heading to Fort Bragg.
Guardians of Rescue has a program called “Animals Helping People,” where they pair shelter dogs up with veterans suffering from PTSD or other psychological conditions. Army Corporal John Wallace is part of this program to help the soldiers. He teamed up with the organization after they sent him his beloved “Tommy” after he returned from the war. Together, they have helped transport 10 dogs from Afghanistan to the United States and have reunited them with the U.S. soldiers that cared for them during combat.
“Many times, soldiers rely on the dogs they find as their eyes and ears,” explains John Wallace. “But when the troops finally leave, the animals are just left to fend for themselves, and often become targeted. Reuniting these soldiers with the dogs they had while deployed is therapeutic.”
Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets, helping to rescue them, provide medical care, food and shelter, and find foster home placement. Many families are still struggling to recover from the storm, making it difficult to care for their pet, either financially or while living in temporary housing. To learn more, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto www.guardiansofrescue.org.
About Guardians of Rescue
Based in New York, Guardians of Rescue is an organization whose mission is to protect the well being of all animals. They provide aid to animals in distress, including facilitating foster programs, rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to families, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors. To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit the site at www.guardiansofrescue.org.
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Spring Reins of LIFE
Horses, Humans & Healing (501c3)
Spring Reins of Life (SROL) is a non‐profit 501c3 organization.
We are an EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning
Association) model program offering Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
(EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) which incorporates the use
of horses for therapeutic intervention toward promoting emotional
growth and healing. Our program is a team approach featuring a
licensed Mental Health Professional (MHP), a certified Equine
Specialist (ES), and Horses specifically selected for their capacity to
work with individuals who are troubled or suffering. We do not offer
any riding or mounted work in our program. While there are many
physical benefits to horseback riding, the EAGALA model is a solution
focused base that enhances the emotional benefits of behavioral
rehearsal and experiential component that is displayed when observing the horses in free will interacting with
Animal assisted therapy with horses combines the positive emotional effects gained from the human/horse
bond with opportunities to challenge and explore one’s thoughts and internal struggles during activities with
an equine partner. It is a therapeutic intervention that defeats the
stigma often associated with traditional counseling, but more
importantly, it is an intervention that works. Spring Reins of Life
provides services to those populations who have the least access to
equine therapy yet are the same individuals who would derive the
greatest benefit. Currently, we offer our services to the
military and their families, bereaved children, at‐risk
youth and addiction recovery. We invite you to explore our
website and learn more about our innovative and effective program
promoting positive growth and healing.
SPRING REINS of LIFE is a non profit organization. We need support and
funding to offer EAP and EAL services to the Military and their Families, Bereaved
Children and At Risk Youth. Currently we have several organizations that are
working with us and more are contacting us each week. However in order to serve
these populations free of charge we must rely upon generous donations and funding.
Please consider SROL when determining gifts this holiday season. We accept
donations in any amount, we accept sponsorship of horses, and donation of horse
supplies (please check with us first) and also we accept volunteers ☺
“There is something about the outside of a horse
that is good for the inside of a man”
~ Sir Winston Churchill
SPRING REINS of HOPE
Getting to the Horse of the Matter
Spring Reins of Hope (SROH) is a ground‐breaking program
offering Equine Assisted services which are designed to generate
personal resources and empowerment. At Spring Reins of Hope we
are committed to improving people’s lives both personally and
professionally. The field of Equine Assisted work is growing at a rapid
pace with marked results. Founded in 2009; Spring Reins of Hope
offers both Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (for personal growth) and
Equine Assisted Learning (for professional growth).
Horses, which are herd bound prey animals, are a perfect choice to serve as gentle guides in this arena due to
their inherent ability to increase self‐awareness and generate opportunities for resiliency. All exercises are unmounted
and no horse experience is necessary to benefit. Please join us and explore the various services we
offer. On a Zephyr Wind* the horses patiently await your arrival…
SROH is an EAGALA Certified Model Program (www.eagala.org
Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) where all
horse related activities are ground based (un‐mounted). Under
the LLC we offer both EAP and EAL services for the following:
*Anxiety, Depression, Communication/Social and Relationship
Skills, PTSD, Trauma, Anger‐Stress Management, Phobias, ADD,
ADHD, Bi‐Polar, Divorce, Bereavement, Addictions, and more…
We also offer life‐skills learning workshops (EAL) for:
• Corporate Training and Executive Excellence (team building / leadership)
• Defiant Teens at Home (disrespect and disobedience)
• “ Horse for Healers” improving bedside manner workshop for Medical and Dental professionals
• Improving social and communication skills for schools, teens, parents & children, groups.
It Is Amazing What Can Be Learned, Resolved or Solved with the help of...A HORSE!
S = Stimulating P = Personal R = Resources I = Inspired by N = Non verbal G = Guidance