Paws & Effect, a Des Moines, Iowa-based non-profit organization that raises and trains service dogs for Iowa combat veterans, announced earlier in April that a litter of five service-dogs-in-training has been named in honor of 3,000 Iowa National Guard soldiers currently deployed to Afghanistan. The puppies will be raised by local volunteers for up to 18 months, then professionally trained and placed with veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) or mobility impairments.
Psychiatric service dogs assist handlers in navigating stressful environments and situations, both at home and in public. In public, service dogs often wear uniforms to indicate their special purpose. According to Paws & Effect, raising and training one psychiatric service dog costs approximately $20,000.
Born in the United States, the black Labrador puppies of the “Red Bull” litter are named:
- “Ryder”: In the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry “Red Bull” Division (2-34th BCT), the commander's radio callsign is "Ryder-6." During World War II, Maj. Gen. Charles W. Ryder commanded the 34th Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy. The 2-34th BCT is headquartered in Boone.
- “Avauncez” (aka “Vance” or “Van”): The 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment (1/133rd Inf.) motto is French for "advance" or "forward." The 1/133rd Inf. is headquartered in Waterloo.
- “Sabre”: Radio callsign of 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment (1/113th Cav.), Sioux City.
- “Archer”: Radio callsign of the 334th Brigade Support Battalion (334th BSB), headquartered in Johnston. Task Force Archer is currently in charge of administering Bagram Airfield, the largest installation in Afghanistan and home to approximately 30,000 U.S. and coalition troops.
- “Havoc”: Radio callsign of the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 34th Infantry Division (2/34th BSTB), headquartered in Cedar Rapids.
The organization had earlier hinted at the pending puppy news at a March 28 event, celebrating a series of televised Public Service Announcements that featured Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen.
Before it deployed to eastern Afghanistan in October 2010, the Iowa National Guard’s 2-34th BCT was one of the first U.S. Army units to be issued the Afghanistan-specific “MultiCam” pattern. Military apparel manufacturer Propper International Inc., Weldon Spring, Mo. has constructed and donated MultiCam service-dog uniforms for the “Red Bull” litter.
“As a company rooted in military heritage, we fully support Paws & Effect in their mission to provide services to Iowa veterans,” says Megan Henderson, marketing manager for Propper International. “We look forward to watching these puppies grow in the months to come, and to welcoming our troops home.”
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-raising events. 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