NEW GLASGOW – A local Legion is asking people to Chow Down for a good cause.
Don Kennedy, left, president of the Branch 34 Royal Canadian Legion, and Legion executive member Hugh Muir are preparing to host a Chow Down in support of an organization that provides veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with trained rescue dogs. Sueann Musick – The News
Branch 34 of the Royal Canadian Legion is hosting a potluck dinner Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Legion in an effort to raise money for the Citadel Canine Mission that provides rescue dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Hugh Muir, a Branch 34 executive member, said the unique fundraiser is a perfect way to help dogs that need new homes and veterans who need a loyal friend in a difficult time of their lives.
“The Legion mandate it to help veterans and everyone understands that Legions are having a difficult time right now, but they haven’t forgotten their mission.”
Muir said he first heard about the Citadel Canine Mission through a friend in western Canada who currently has a dog from the program. He approached Branch 34 executive about holding a fundraiser in New Glasgow and the money will go directly to the program that is aiming to establish an association in the Maritimes.
“We believe they will eventually be able to help local veterans,” he said.
In fact, he said, he recently learned that a little dog named Oscar was delivered to a veteran in Halifax and the Citadel Canine Mission received a duck tolling retriever from Digby to be trained for a veteran.
The veterans are given the dogs free of charge, said Muir, but the costs for training range from $2,500 to $5,000. Training fees include boarding, vet bills and rescue fees.
Don Kennedy, president of Branch 34, said he recently saw a program about these types of dogs and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and was amazed at the difference such a dog can make in a person’s life.
“These dogs have a real calming effect,” he said. “These veterans can’t go into large crowds so it senses when its owner starts to get upset and he pulls his owner to the side and sits down.”
He said the owner of the dog will be forced to look at the dog to try to figure out what is wrong and will eventually pet the animal as he relaxes and lets his anxiety pass.
The Citadel Canine Society delivered its first dogs to recipients in January 2013 and since this time it now has dogs in training or recipients from Victoria to Halifax.
Muir said the public is welcome to attend the potluck and monetary donations will be accepted at the event. Any donation over $20 will be issued an official receipt from the society.
“This is a great organization because it helps veterans and saves rescue dogs,” he said. “It is everyone’s responsibility to support our veterans, not just the government’s.”