Giving back in Southeastern North Carolina
Wilmington, NC - August 11, 2010- Carolina Canines for Service (CCFS) announces the relocation and expansion of the Carolina Canines for Veterans (CCV) program to the Naval Consolidated Brig, Charleston located at Naval Weapons Station Charleston, South Carolina in August 2010 in coordination with Navy Corrections and Programs.
The Carolina Canines for Veterans program was started in January 2008 at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and since inception has partnered ten (10) wounded warriors with service dogs trained by military prisoners providing over $400,000 in services to wounded veterans. The Carolina Canines for Veterans program is the first of its kind to work within military prison walls to use prisoners to train service dogs exclusively for wounded warriors.
The transition of the program to the Navy Consolidated Brig Charleston (NCBC), South Carolina is occurring because the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC V) realigned the post-trial confinement mission from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to the Joint Regional Confinement Facility, South East, located at the NCBC.
Recipients of CCV service dogs have served in all branches of the military and sustained injuries while serving in Operations Iraqi or Enduring Freedom. CCV service dogs are trained to support individual mobility issues and post traumatic stress disorder.
"We have been very happy with the support of the United States Marine Corps and success of the Carolina Canines for Veterans program at Camp Lejeune. The move to Charleston will enable us to grow the program and serve more of our deserving Veterans," says Rick Hairston, Carolina Canines for Service President & CEO. The program is solely funded by the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations to Carolina Canines for Service. CCFS is seeking new financial partners in Charleston and South Carolina.
The Triple Win of Carolina Canines for Veterans
Since inception of the CCV program, ten (10) wounded warriors with disabilities including limb amputation, traumatic brain injury, concussive disorder, black-outs/seizures, and PTSD have benefitted from the placement of the service dogs. The impact expands beyond the individual receiving the dog to family members and care givers who benefit because the individual is more independent, less depressed, able to go back out into public and more confident. One client with mobility issues and PTSD experienced his first full night's sleep free of nightmares and night terrors in two years after receiving his service dog and has continued to experience full nights of sleep.
The impact to the prison population has resulted in an overall calming with less tension when service dogs in training are in the facility and included in group sessions providing better focus for the prisoners. With over 50% of the prison handlers having PTSD, working with the dogs has eliminated medications the prison handlers were taking within months after working with the dogs.
Additionally, two prisoners released have since been employed in the retail pet industry. One individual started as a pet obedience trainer and is now a store manager. The other is currently a cashier and will be moving into a grooming position to train as a dog groomer before furthering his education this coming fall as a veterinary technician. He states in a note to our organization, "I will say that's the biggest thing about the program there. It taught me a new set of life skills and opened my mind to another thing that makes me happy doing."
An additional impact has been the rescue of shelter dogs saved from euthanasia and trained to become a valuable asset to a person with a disability. While some dogs have started in the training program were found not to have the temperament for service dog work, the dogs were placed in good adoptive homes and entered those homes with strong basic obedience skills and good house manners making the dog a better pet.
The service dogs trained in the CCV program know 70 skills at placement which translates to over 350 tasks to assist a veteran with a disability. Carolina Canines ensures the overall health and temperament of each dog in training to provide for the best possible standards of a quality trained dog.