Student donations benefit Tails of Valor
On October 10 the nonprofit organization Tails of Valor set up shop on campus in the Harmon Hall of Peace from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. The event consisted of an informational table run by Nora Mahmoud, a senior Global Studies and English double major, and her group from her social work class.
Their assignment had been to create a charity event on campus for students to attend. They provided a photographer to take pictures of students holding the puppies for small donations as low as one dollar and sent a link through email to view them later. The organization brought two puppies training to become future therapy dogs for veterans in need. Each puppy is temperament tested for calm and easy-going demeanors that are perfect for veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and other mental illnesses.
Once chosen they are launched into a learning program that ranges from a year to a year and a half. During this time, they are fostered by volunteers while being introduced to different environments and living situations. When they graduate, they will know 40+ commands to aid their future owner. In addition, each puppy is also named after fallen soldiers to keep their memories alive as they help their living counterparts.
Jana Spess, the program administrator of Tails of Valor along with a volunteer, Susan Fagerstrom, actively foster puppies in their homes. After being asked about how these trained dogs help veterans in their daily lives, Spess shared that Tails of Valor is specifically for finding an alternative and holistic form of treatment for veterans. She mentioned that one female veteran has been able to completely stop her anxiety medication because of her assigned partner. Fagerstrom confirmed this and elaborated that stories such as this one is why she volunteers.
“People ask all the time why I’m okay with letting these dogs go when they’re done with my care,” Fagerstrom said. “I walked into this knowing that they’re for a higher purpose.”
She looked at the puppies with a gentle smile as they trotted around the Harmon Hall of Peace, knowing that someday they would be in the lives of someone who truly needs them. That itself is the essence of Tails of Valor.