Every day, the brave wake up and take one step forward. They don’t think about where that step is taking them or the danger that they will face. They don’t know why they are being called to service but as they look up at their handler, they know that they have a job to do. For them, it is all about the work and the few minutes at the end of their day where they get the rewards for working hard.
While we often think of brave soldiers when we think of wars overseas, the brave soul in that image is not the soldier but the military dog he is handling. There are so many stories of their inspirational work and they have spanned the generations. In fact, there is an excellent book called War Dogs by Michael G. Lemish that goes over the history of war dogs in this last century.
But our focus today is on the canines that are serving overseas right at this moment. Every day, these dogs are put at risk protecting life, love and freedom, they don’t ask for much, which is probably why this event has touched our hearts here at the Natural Dog Company even more.
Every October, a small community is Michigan, known as Wolverine Lake Village, along with Support Military Dogs, makes a big contribution to showing their gratitude to the soldiers and military dogs that are currently serving overseas. In the cool autumn day, they gather and pack up care packages for soldiers and military dogs. These packages are filled with treats and general commodities that offer comfort to the troops who receive them.
About Support Military Dogs
Before we go on about the initiatives for this fundraiser, I wanted to take a moment to introduce the main contributor that we are overjoyed with helping. Support Military Dogs was started by Starline Nunley when she contacted her son, Major Parker Frawley (who is now a Lt. Colonel), when he was stationed in Iraq in 2008.
Starline knew that being a Longbow, Apache helicopter fighter pilot was extremely hot work and she asked him if he wanted a cooling vest to cope with the temperatures. Major Frawley’s reply was “Mom, I am and we (soldiers) are all right. The military provides for us very well, but dogs have different needs. It is so hot that they are having trouble doing their job and that puts us all in danger.”
And with those words, an idea was formed. Not only could Starline help her son, she could help all the military dogs that were serving in Iraq. While many of the breeds used in Iraq are better suited to colder climes, military dogs face temperatures nearing a 140˚F. Since the dogs are often the first line of defense in many situations, it made sense to provide the cooling vests for them. Not only would they be protected but they would be able to do their jobs better so the initiative for providing military dogs with cooling vests and other gear was born.
About Wolverine Lake Village Fundraiser
The fundraiser that Support Military Dogs is happy to support is one that was started by the Wolverine Lake Village. The community started this initiative to provide care packages for these men, women and canines as a way to honor the late Marine LCpl Justin Ellsworth, the son of the community’s police chief, served in Iraq and made the ultimate sacrifice. He was killed in Iraq in 2004.
To help carry on his name and to honor the man and his sacrifice, the community began creating the care packages. Last year alone, their efforts raised enough supplies to send over 478 care packages to soldiers last year and to purchase five K-9 protective gear packages. As you can imagine, their efforts have been greatly appreciated and this year, they are striving to create even more care packages to send out.
While the focus is primarily on the care packages for the troops, the Natural Dog Company has joined forces with the Wolverine Lake Village and the Support Military Dogs to bring the K-9 troops some special care and attention.
About the Fundraiser
Military dogs have a hard job in the service. They are used for a number of different jobs from detection to guarding to patrolling and all of their jobs bring them into harm’s way. Many service dogs are lost in service and often, these dedicated working dogs are often overlooked when it comes to fundraising initiatives.
But not anymore! In addition to making some excellent K-9 doggy care packages, which will contain their very own package of Snout Soother, the fundraiser is hoping to buy some much needed protection gear for the dogs. Remember that military dogs put their life on the line every day, along with their handlers, and they need the right type of protection to ensure that they can continue to do their job and make it home after their tour.
But this type of care and treatment relies heavily on donations from sponsors such as the Natural Dog Company and supplies and donations from dog owners and caring people like our many clients. They are in need of a large amount of supplies and there is no limit to the amount of items you send – after all, it just means more dogs can have their very own care packages. If you prefer to send a cash donation, all money raised will go towards the purchase of new protection gear packages for dogs that do not have them.
If you want to donate, the list of items that they need are:
- Collapsible Fabric Water Bowls
- Waterless Dog Shampoo
- Dog Ear Cleaner
- Dog Eye Drops
- Flea Collars
- Large Kong Toys
- Large Rope Toys
- Silicone Dog brushes
- Prepackaged Dog Biscuits
- Medium to Large Dog Beds
- Heavy Duty Retractable Leashes
- Baby Wipes
There are some restrictions on what can be sent. Nothing made in China is allowed and you should avoid rawhide, pig ears and pig hoofs in the dog treats and biscuits. Also, do not send tennis balls or dog food.
If you are interested in helping get care packages to soldiers and their canine partners serving overseas, please contact Kristy Nedrow (248) 960-0244 or Joann Sullivan (248) 624-1706. They are building the care packages on October 12, 2013 and any help is greatly appreciated by both the town of Wolverine Lake Village and the service men, women and canines who receive their care packages.
I have attached a PDF flyer of the event so please, give a little to bring comfort to a large group of people and dogs serving our country.