Recently, the community’s Sit & Sew group partnered with Missouri Patriot Paws to create custom quilts for veterans and service dogs who have graduated from the group’s training program. Each quilt created by the residents was designed to meet an individual dog’s specifications to ensure that it is a perfect fit both at home and in public.
“When we take a dog into restaurants, we teach it the command to go to bed, so they take the blanket and put it on the ground for them to lay on,” said Susan Hinkle, program director of Missouri Patriot Paws, pictured with her dog, Ranger.
The group made four quilts in total and they were given out during the first week of December.
Missouri Patriot Paws has been training and certifying PTSD service dogs for six years, first for veterans and, starting in 2017, for first responders—a group for which Hinkle says there is a growing need.
“A lot of people don’t understand how many people suffer from this,” said Susan. “A lot of first responders are being diagnosed with PTSD and the suicide rate is very high.”
The program is a win-win for both the veterans/first responders and the dogs. For those receiving the dog, it is a way to mitigate their disability and for the dogs—most of which have come from a shelter—it is a chance for a loving, forever home.
To learn more about Missouri Patriot Paws and how you can help, visit mopatriotpaws.org.