PawPADS – Stories of Freedom

By Randy Patrick, PawPADS Director of Operations 

Tee it up for the Troops has been a partner and friend of PawPADs for three years, and we never forget to express our gratitude.  As you know, the “PawPADs Difference” is that we use the value of the training and association with the dogs during training as therapeutic – sometimes healing – always inspiring  tool while the dogs are in the journey from puppyhood to partnership. We built our Paw Corps Program on a donation from TIUFTT and your continuing support has helped us grow and “grow up.” We aren’t the biggest Service Dog organization on the Minnesota map, but I dare say we are the one with the most integrity and heart and guts! We are making a difference in lives through Paw Corps and all our programs and we are proud to have TIUFTT on our side.

Recently we placed two dogs (Kachina and Hania), which were trained by Veterans in the Paw Corps program as Diabetic Alert Dogs.  Jill, whose 8 year old son, Nick, is partnered with Kachina, has told us that Kachina is “literally a life saver” for her son…alerting them in the middle of the night to Nicks dangerously plunging blood sugar levels.  Hania has been partnered with Katie Stuber, a volatile diabetic whose blood sugar levels rocket and plunge with alarming and life threatening speed. Katie is the wife of Lt. Joe Stuber, a Minnesota National Guard leader who is preparing for his deployment in a few weeks to Afghanistan. Hania will be on guard over Katie’s health 24/7 while Lt. Stuber guards our freedom in Afghanistan.  Lt. Stuber told me recently that If “she (Kachina) alerts just once while I’m gone, he will be worth it.” Hania, by the way, has alerted to Katie’s fluctuations dozens of times in the few short weeks he has been partnered with Katie!

How did TIUFTT make the difference in these three examples of many?

  • The Paw Corps veterans who helped train these dogs, Steve and Scott, still struggle with their PTSD and other issues, but both have told us their lives are immeasurably better for having become involved in this program.
  • We were able to place Hania with Lt. Stuber free of charge because of our relationship with TIUFTT. We feel that with Hania on the watch, Lt. Stuber will be more focused on his job, and perhaps be able to return home safely.
  • Darla J., another Paw Corps volunteer who has 5 deployments between herself and her husband with the Minnesota National Guard helped train Macy, who is living with and working with the veterans in the Hastings Veterans Home. Again, Darla has told us that her life is changed for her part in Paw Corps.
  • TIUFTT has helped enable PawPADs to feed the dogs, pay the heating bills, train the dogs, heal the dogs, and, sad to say, bury the Paw Corps mascot Maska (“Tank”). The dogs have helped change so many lives and we’ve only placed a few!

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