97°F
weather icon Cloudy

Group aims to save two lives at same time

The names of veterans service organizations cover a large linguistic spectrum. Examples of well-known names are Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.

With the higher awareness of the service that veterans have given to the nation the past several years, many other legitimate organizations have come to the fore. One in particular not only provides a service, but if awards were ever given for the longest name of a veterans group, this one would might win hands-down.

The group is called Red White Blue Dog Training After Government Service Inc. When abbreviated, it’s the lengthy R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. Now that you know the name, I can discuss what the nonprofit does.

Founder Milana Leonard said the group strives to have a positive impact on combat veterans, and at the same time save the lives of homeless veterans. Working with veterans and dogs, “Our motto is saving two lives at a time,” she explained.

She pairs rescued dogs with select veterans, working to forge a bond that she said gives the men and women hope. The veterans and animals have all been through rough times, but they keep going.

“They are happier together than alone. Our service dogs are Canine Good Citizen-certified and then further trained for specific skills and tasks needed by each veteran,” she said.

Leonard and other trainers who are associated with her work tirelessly to accomplish training, mentorship and socialization for individuals and dogs. Her service dog programs include working with veterans who suffer from traumatic brain injury, who have mobility issues, or who have thoughts of suicide.

“We also provide assistance services,” she said. “Disadvantaged individuals sometimes require assistance to take care of their pets with food and medical care.”

Leonard explained that in 2009, she became concerned with what she said was the lack of financial support and combat rehabilitation care for returning warriors. As the owner of Red White Blue Dog Training, she began offering free dog training and Canine Good Citizen classes to veterans who had experienced combat. She hoped that her services were therapeutic.

Three years later she was in an automobile accident, which she said was a mixed blessing. She said that in a small way the aftermath gave her a better understanding of the effects of pain management, physically and emotionally, as well as the rehabilitation processes that many veterans experience.

“I realized the impact misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment and overprescribing was having on veterans, especially regarding PTSD.”

She said that K-9 therapy is often an excellent part of recovery and functionality. Unfortunately, countless donated dogs are not suitable for companion or service duty because veterans tend to have specific needs.

In 2013, after much community outreach, due diligence and research, she and her team launched R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S. and received federal 501(c)3 nonprofit status. R.W.B. has partnered with more than 80 veteran/service dog teams in training-rehab programs; placed 50 formerly “condemned K-9s” into trained service dog roles; and has seen several participants graduate from Dog T.A.G.S. School and become trainers themselves.

R.W.B. saves dogs from euthanasia and assists young and old combat veterans with their pets. Her board includes seasoned individuals with military backgrounds. Her trainers are all volunteers, and donations are always being sought to keep the program running.

For more information, the website is www.rwbdogtags.org.

Chuck N. Baker is a Purple Heart veteran of the Vietnam War and the host of “That’s America to Me” every Sunday at 7 a.m. on 97.1-FM.

THE LATEST
A story of reconciliation amidst division

I keep going into the week when it is time for me to write a column with an idea that I know I want to write about but events keep pushing that idea further out into the future.

Who did more for veterans?

Did President Joe Biden or President Donald Trump do more for America’s veterans? It all depends how one keeps score: Introduce laws? Pass laws? Do large things, or many small things? Important things, or things that were not so important?Below are two examples according to Military.com.

Holy smokes!

Two weeks ago on June 25, I received messages from panicked individuals at the Elks Lodge RV Park stating that the Boulder City Fire Department had been conducting a controlled burn that had gotten out of control.

July is PR Month

For nearly 40 years, the nation has celebrated Park and Recreation Month in July to promote building strong, vibrant, and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation.

July 4 safety and awareness checklist

As we celebrate our great nation’s birthday, let’s run down this safety and awareness checklist so we can have a blast this 4th… but only the good kind.

“Be Kind, Be Boulder” this Fourth of July

Happy Birthday, America! Today, we celebrate an act of autonomy and sovereignty that happened in 1776, nearly 250 years ago: the Founding Fathers signing of the Declaration of Independence established this great nation. (It would be another 155 years before Boulder City’s founders arrived to construct Hoover Dam!)

Ensuring fire safety at Lake Mead

At Lake Mead National Recreation Area, our mission extends beyond preserving the natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

Independence Day in Boulder City

I was elected to the Boulder City council long ago. Believe me, there were more exciting events that occurred during city council meetings in the mid-to-late 1980s than there are at present. We had Skokie Lennon who arrived in the council meetings while standing at the back of the room. When he had something to say he would erupt with the statement “can you hear me?” Of course we could since he was the loudest person in the room. He would say what he had to say and then leave.

Nothing to fear

A June 13 letter by Norma Vally claimed Pride Month in Boulder City is an example of identity politics that will cause divisiveness in our safe, kind, and welcoming town. I cannot disagree more.

Save me some confetti eggs

In last week’s edition, I wrote a preview of the upcoming July 4 celebration and described Boulder City’s biggest day of the year as if a Norman Rockwell painting had come alive and jumped off the canvas. I had a few people praise me for that description, saying it’s the perfect way to do so.