Our Outreach Efforts
We strive to help people understand why there is a need for programs like ours, what service dogs do, and educating the public on proper service dog etiquette.
Our program believes that through outreach with the public, we will create a better understanding of the plight of wounded warriors. Through education on service dog issues, warrior stories, and public awareness, we hope to ease the transition to non-military life for our warriors.
A warrior is not ever truly a civilian! Warriors always have the foundation of military that stays with them their entire life. Most civilians do not understand without help, how difficult it is for warriors to transition to civilian life. For those wounded warriors, there are often impossible barriers that prevent them from adjusting.
The service dog community that our program is creating helps eases that transition for the warriors, helps the warriors find services to assist them, support the families and develops the “military family” that the warriors lose after discharge/retirement, but so badly need.
Here are some of outreach events we have participated in!
Outreach: Mead, WA
On Friday, November 8th, 2013, Alex and Susie, Will, Libby and Gretchen, Josh and Cooper, Tim, Maggie, and Bailey, along with several from the WWP Peer Mentor Support Group in Spokane were asked to speak to the Northwood Middle School n student in Mead, WA. There were 750 students, faculty, and staff along with parents there for Veteran’s Day. During the ceremony we were presented with a check that was raised by the students for SFLS. We were honored to accept it. We were humbled by what followed. Getting back to the office to finish packing for our trip to Phoenix, Maggie decided to check the company email one last time before she left. We had received an email from the school. Here is what followed…
“Dear Friends from Wounded Warriors and Shepherds for Lost Sheep:
I thought that there was no better way to share the impact of your time, your words, and your heart than to share the impact that all three had on our kids at Northwood. I asked my students to finish three simple statements after attending our morning assembly:
Attached are student reflections about our Veterans Day assembly this morning. Darel and Tim, your words had a tremendous impact on our students. Thank you for speaking from the heart. To all of you, thank you for giving your time to create a meaningful assembly for Northwood students. With a grateful heart, I will be thinking of all of you on Monday.
• I thought about how chaotic and destroyed the U.S.A. would be without the veterans and their deceased brothers that we under-appreciate.
• I thought the assembly was very touching and heart-warming.
• I thought that PTSD really affects veterans who experienced trauma and that a service dog can change all of that by comforting them.
• I thought it was sad when the Colonel explained the differences between stress and PTSD. It was sad when he said PTSD is when someone you know dies in your arms. Those words struck me. I never thought about PTSD in that way.
• I thought it was amazing how well Bailey listened to commands.
• I thought that the Vietnam veteran drawing people’s pictures was an amazing way of thanking people.
• I thought that I am glad I donated my money to help this cause. I also thought that Tim had power in his words and that every single dollar does help.
• I thought that Tim and the other veterans with dogs were brave to bring their dogs and to come out in public.
• I thought the story of the veterans’ parents getting the sketches was very inspirational. It showed the emotion of how the family of a fallen soldier is after their death. They died for our country to keep us safe.
• I thought that when the two guys were speaking that they were really speaking from the heart.
• I thought that for Tim to get up and tell his story was really brave.
• I thought that the video was sad when the parents of the dead soldiers were talking about their soldiers. I felt sad for how many parents lost their kids.
• I thought about my dad during the video because that could have been his face on that video and he could have died in Afghanistan.
• I thought about my parents and all of the other people who are serving my country and how much I appreciate them putting their life on the line for my freedom.
• I thought they deserve more respect.
• I thought of my uncle.
• I thought that it was amazing to see the veterans who came out to talk to us. It must have been hard, but I really loved what they did for us.
• I wondered how it would feel to come back from watching my brothers and sisters die next to me, sacrificing themselves for their country and then watching us go about our day not thinking about their stories.
• I felt sadness when I saw the drawings and pictures of the past warriors. I felt bad for how I didn’t honor our veterans like I should have.
• I felt sad when I heard the difference between stress and trauma. The Colonel said, “Trauma is when someone dies in your arms.”
• I felt joy because when I heard Tim talk about Bailey, I thought of the bonds that can be strong between dogs and their owners.
• I felt proud that we have so many great people serving our country. They chose to risk their own lives to save ours.
• I felt thankful for our military who protect us every day.
• I felt sad when the Colonel talked of PTSD and the difference between trauma and stress.
• I thought that those dogs looked like great friends, very brave, and very beautiful.
• I thought that having the color guard was really cool, because it really showed that it was a serious assembly.
• I felt thankful to these people that I didn’t know until today and that served for me.
• I thought it was an inspiration to hear the vets talk about their stories with us and to even be here to talk with us.
• I felt really said during the assembly but I was touched by what Tim said about Bailey.
• At times, I felt like crying because of all the veterans that commit suicide each day over the things they saw when keeping us safe.
• I felt that the speeches were very powerful.
• I felt emotional that every day 10 veterans commit suicide.
• I felt sad that they could barely even hug their loved ones before they got their dogs.
• I felt devastated. The reason why is because my brother is serving and I haven’t heard from him in a week. Him and I are really close and I can’t wait for him to come home.
• I felt that when the retired military man was drawing pictures of the fallen he really put his love and hard work into each and every one of them. He draws them like it would be a loved one.
• It occurred to me that anybody who has served or is serving is one of the bravest people on Earth.
• I felt sad when the veterans had to stand, and I saw this one veteran who had lost both of his legs in combat.
• I felt sad for Jarrod’s family and friends to have lost him, and I also felt happy about the fact that Northwood donated money for Shepherds for Lost Sheep.
• I felt shocked at how many veterans committed suicide each day. I wished that I had brought in more money. It could have saved one of those soldiers.
• I felt angry at myself for what I had done. I let myself take for granted the freedom of our country.
• I felt sad that so many kids have moms, dads, or siblings serving right now.
• I learned that many veterans would not be able to sleep, take a walk, or go into a store without their dogs. They would have many problems in life.
• I learned that service dogs allow veterans to go out into public without feeling fear or anxiety.
• I learned that service dogs are really helpful for the soldiers with PTSD. People think dogs are just there to snuggle with, but to these soldiers, these dogs were their life. Soldiers say that these dogs saved lives.
• I learned that service dogs can save people’s lives and help them recover from PTSD.
• I learned that it is really important for veterans to have a dog and when you see one say “Thanks for serving us” to brighten up their day and make them feel welcome.
• I learned that stress and trauma are two different things that both hurt.
• I learned service dogs really mean a lot to people with PTSD, it means the world to them. It’s what holds them on to life.
• I learned that PTSD takes over your life. The things and people you loved and cared about become nothing to you.
• I learned that a veteran goes through much more than war.
• I learned that when you are in a grocery store in line, one out of every nine people are a veteran.
• I learned that I need to respect others’ disabilities.
• I learned that to train a service dog, it has to be a young dog. Not an old one that won’t be able to re-learn how to protect their friend.
• I learned that 60% of Americans have traumas.
• I learned that the service dogs help beyond recognition.
• I learned that every day soldiers get up before light and carry 100-110 lbs. of stuff on a walk.
• I learned that when a soldier has PTSD that they need to be loved more than anything in the world. They need to feel like they’re not in war anymore. They need to feel like they are not in danger.
• I learned that no matter what happens, we are all united as one strong and free country.
• I learned that I don’t stand alone with having siblings or parents serving in the military. It is a comfort to know that I’m not alone.
• I learned that I need to hug my dad when he comes back from Afghanistan.
• I learned that man’s best friend is the best friend to help you heal. They won’t judge, so it’s easy to let them in.
• I learned that service dogs are like a third limb to the soldiers and how they can’t live their lives without them
Thank you to all our SFLS Family members for their service.
Outreach Fairchild AFB, Wa
Tim and Maggie McDonough along with Larry and Cathie Griffith, trainers and board members took a break from training and reached out to the community out at Fairchild Air Force Base. We were invited to participate in the 2013 Fairchild Air Force Base Pet Parade that occured on April 13, 2013. We were able to bring several of our service animals to include: Bailey, Dooley, Treaker, Lucy and Molly. This was a great opportunity for Nicholas and Molly to work together in a situation that was less than comfortable for a person with PTSD.
This was a wonderful time to get to talk to people about what it is SFLS does and how the community can help and assist our organization. Community awareness about PTSD as well as what their options are is critical.
Thank you Ben from the Fairchild AFB Vet Clinic for inviting us to attend. We had a great time.
In August we sponsored our First Annual Wounded Warrior Weekend. It was a time for our warriors to get together in a judgment free zone and talk, share stories, and finding friendship.
It is important for those in our program to get together. We use these weekends as training sessions, relaxation sessions, and bonding time.
We challenged our veterans to try PADDLE BOARDING. That is a new sport where you stand up on a board similiar to a surf board and use a paddle to move around. All of our veterans tried it, some loved it, some didn’t, but all were able to do something that they never thought they would.
We had 10 veterans, 7 children of veterans, and 8 service dogs/service dog in training in attendance. What a terrific weekend we had!
Attending an event put together through STRIDE Adaptive Sports and Wounded Warrior Project, the Shepherds for Lost Sheep, Inc. leadership met the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.
“It was an honor to meet him and let him know what wounded warriors needing service dogs go through while on active duty.” said SFLS President Tim McDonough. He was very responsive to our ideas.
Shepherds for Lost Sheep, Inc. attended the Dutchess County Fair in NY. Although we were not invited to do outreach, the vast number of people stopping us to ask questions turned into an outreach event. President Tim McDonough and Service Dog Bailey along with Veteran’s Liaison Heather Fall and Service Dog Maddie talked to the public for almost an hour just answering questions about service dogs, our program and the people we help.