Why A Calendar?
By Lynn Sansale
People asked us in the beginning “Why a Calendar?” Especially when most of us use the calendar on our computers and iPhones, etc. Here’s why…
When we first discovered service dogs were saving the lives of Veterans, we learned more by reading a book about a Iraq Veteran with severe PTSD who had successfully used a service dog to manage his symptoms. We gained a lot of insight and bought four more books to offer to people we were meeting with around this topic. We found that most people couldn’t find the time to read them.
But when a short story is put next to a dog’s portrait on a calendar page, along with a photo of the real dog and owner, people read them. In fact, after our first calendar was sold people were hanging their calendars at work and we were getting emails from their co-workers! The goal is to give Americans a better understanding about what our Veterans are experiencing through the stories of these twelve heroes, one calendar month at a time.
Twenty-two Veteran suicides daily. More than 2.5 million soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 20% have full blown PTSD. The need is huge. They are just like the young men and women in our calendar – proud and eager to serve their country. But 1 of every 5 returning soldiers find they can’t move on with their lives after their service. They can’t be the fathers, mothers or students they had hoped to be and are instead “white knuckling” through each day, often completely home-bound. For thousands there will be no relief through counseling or the “cocktail” of medications we heard about too often from the Veterans we met.
Maybe a relative, friend or a fellow warrior will purchase this calendar and read about Veterans and their service dogs and pass that information along. And then perhaps a service dog will be the “one thing” that works. Maybe reading about these great organizations will plant the seed in the heart of someone else who wants to start a group in another part of the country.
Let’s all share the news of the miracles that can be found with four legs.
And if you see a Veteran or a warrior in your community, don’t forget to go up to them and thank them for their service. They represent the 1% of Americans who step forward to protect us all and they deserve our thanks. Let’s all start thinking about new ways to help them after they return. If you live close to one of these great service dog organizations, offer your support by volunteering or with your dollars so they can continue to help more Veterans.