30 March 2011

TV Spots Feature Service Dogs, Iowa Troops

Paws & Effect, a Des Moines, Iowa-based non-profit organization that raises and trains service dogs for Iowa combat veterans, recently launched an award-winning series of four television Public Service Announcements (PSA). Some of the actors featured in the PSAs are actually Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen, both male and female.

The “We Serve with Honor” Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign depicts how service dogs help veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) negotiate physical and emotional hazards, at home and in public. Copies of these 15- to 30-second television spots are available to media outlets.

Psychiatric service dogs perform such actions as:
  • Gently nudging an individual to interrupt flashbacks.
  • Keeping others at comfortable distances.
  • Checking around corners, and guiding through crowds.
“A service dog is not a pet. It is a medical necessity, just like a crutch, a cane, or a wheelchair,” says PSA writer and director Todd Cerveris of The Woods Productions, New York City. “Some conditions that require service dogs are physical and immediately apparent; others are more hidden. Both deserve to be respected.”

According to the organization, handlers of psychiatric service dogs--and service-dogs-in-training--are granted access rights in the state of Iowa identical to that of handlers of seeing-eye dogs, which enjoy a longer history of recognition and acceptance by the public.

The campaign was officially launched at a Mar. 28 event held at the Gold Star Museum, Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa. “So many businesses and organizations donated time, talent, and resources to this project, we wanted to celebrate this as a shared achievement,” says Nicole Shumate (“shoe-mayt”), executive director for Paws & Effect. “We also wanted to introduce our next litter of puppies, who will be named and trained in honor of the Iowa National Guard soldiers currently deployed to Afghanistan.”

The campaign recently won a Gold “ADDY” from the Des Moines Chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in the Public Service category, and a Silver “ADDY” in a four-state district comprising Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri AAF chapters. The campaign has advanced to national competition.

“Each year, more than 50,000 entries are submitted to the ADDY awards,” says Kathleen Riessen, 2nd lieutenant governor of AAF District 9. “To be eligible to compete among the top 3,000 nationwide is a huge honor and tribute to the high quality of the work.”

Participants and donors in the “We Serve with Honor” PSA campaign and launch event included:
In addition to training service and mobility dogs, Paws & Effect provides “Pet Partners” for animal-assisted therapy and activities. It also regularly conducts agility trials as fund-raisers. Because it is a 501(c)3 organization, donations to Paw & Effect are tax-deductible.

For more information on the Paws & Effect organization, visit: paws-effect.blogspot.com

Selections from the PSA campaign, including "outtakes," can also be viewed at: www.thewoodsproductions.com

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