Paws of War, a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs, gives them the necessary training and then pairs them with veterans in need of service dogs, is pairing two U.S. veterans with working dogs. The introduction between the dogs and their new owners will take place Sept. 29 at the Beach Front Grill, located at 2444 S. Ocean Shore Blvd. in Flagler Beach, Fla. The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m., when the veterans will receive the service dogs that have been trained specifically for them, free of charge.
“I’m so excited to once again be a part of this important mission,” said Lauren Driscoll, dog trainer and program director of the Paws of War Florida chapter. “Our veterans have given so much to us, and we know firsthand how trained service dogs can help veterans suffering from invisible wounds. Too many of our veterans are struggling as civilians, so we are making it easier for them.”
Both of the dogs that will be given to the veterans were rescued from the Fort Pierce Humane Society in Fort Pierce, Fla., and are being placed by the Florida chapter of Paws of War. They were both rescued in February and have undergone extensive training.
Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motor Cycle Club XXII has offered to provide an escort for the veterans to go from the Paws of War location to Beach Front Grill for the handoff.
The veterans who will be receiving the service dogs are Robin Ramos and Derek Logsdon. Ramos was stationed in Panama in 1989 and 1990 and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The dog he will be paired with is Colby, a Lab/Catahoula leopard dog mix, which has been trained, among other things, to retrieve items for him, as well as turn lights on in a room before Ramos enters.
Logsdon also suffers from PTSD, as well as suffers from hearing loss in both ears, and he has attempted suicide twice. His service dog, Carly, is a Lab/greyhound that has been trained to retrieve items for him, as well as assist with his hearing loss, such as waking him up if a smoke alarm goes off. Logsdon is a former Army sergeant who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.
“We are so grateful for our veterans and so happy when we can give back to them,” said Dori Scofield, co-founder of Paws of War. “We have assisted numerous veterans by pairing them up with rescued dogs that have been expertly trained. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
Driscoll has successfully trained 19 dogs prior to the two being paired up with the veterans this month. She is the owner of Pet Peeves Dog Training Florida and volunteers her time for the Paws of War organization. Paws of War is an all-volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support its efforts, visit pawsofwar.org.