Our nationwide Bark Business Breakfast Tour kicked off in Music City Nashville, Tennessee at the newly renovated Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. It was a paw-studded event that honored two Veteran/canine pairs that have recently graduated from the 100% successful K9s For Warriors Program!
Alex, age 27, graduated from the K9 program in August 2012 after serving in the United States Army for six years along with Skip, a Labradoodle found wandering the streets of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Skip, Alex says, was the reason he was able to eliminate prescription medication and stop counseling.
Melissa, age 40, served with the US Army as an SPC for eight years and graduated from the program in June 2012 along with Chauncey, a Golden Retriever who was dumped in an animal shelter by Ohio owners who simply didn’t want him anymore. Chauncey has helped Melissa cope with her PTSD and assists with her balance and mobility. Prior to meeting Chauncey, Melissa had developed a stammer stemming from her PTSD, but after meeting the big, lovable boy, she discovered that her stammer disappeared!
The K9s for Warriors program was founded by Shari Duval after her son returned from war, and she believes the K9s For Warrior Program/Rescue’s success is a triumph for the organization. Duval claims, “The warriors arrive here broken on two legs and leave here walking into their recovery on six. They are able to do things that were not possible before they received their service dog.” She added, “These dogs provide more medical improvement for the warriors than all the drugs they have been placed on.”
After learning the alarming statistic that, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a Veteran affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a Traumatic Brain Injury (STI) commits suicide every 65 minutes,Animal Fair’s Wendy Diamond committed her book tour to raise money for Veterans with PTSD to receive Service Dogs (all natural cure for PTSD). Her personal goal was to raise at least $10,000 in Nashville to put one Veteran and one canine in Nashville to be put through the successful K9s For Warriors program. She teamed up with philanthropist John Ingram, the honorary chair of the Nashville event, who is the chairman of both Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center and Ingram Industries.
Nashville’s biggest hearts joined Wendy Diamond and the the Animal Fair Media team to honor the lives of Veterans that have selflessly protected our nation. John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Industries and Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center, teamed up with Wendy as the co- chair of the kick off. Among the many stars in attendance was Nashville’s Honorable Mayor and animal lover Karl F. Dean, along with cartoonist Guy Gilchrist, country singer T.G. Sheppard, and CMT personality Alecia Evans. Thanks to the generous support of the Nashville community and donors from all over the country, we were able to raise a grand total of $22,285! All proceeds collected at the Bark Breakfast will save 2 dogs from being euthanized and 2 return Veterans with PTSD in Nashville to attend the K9s For Warriors program.
Special thanks must go out to Loews Vanderbilt Hotel for donating their pet-friendly space and beautiful breakfast to honor our Veterans and Service Dogs. Many thanks to Ellen DeGeneres’ HALO, Purely For Pets for the special doggy buffet for all the dogs and especially the service dogs who happily dined on Spot’s Stew, a delectable doggie delicacy made from all-natural chicken, beef, salmon, or lamb and healthy whole grains, nutritional fruits and vegetables. No corn or rendered animal parts for our four-legged friends! All guests went home with doggy bags including rover.com dog-sit gift certificates, Burts bees pet products, lara bars for the two legged in attendance and our very own Wendy’s new book How To Train Your Boss To Rollover.
Of course the event could not have come together if it were not for the dedication of local Nashville entrepreneurs, small business owners and animal lovers. The selfless supporters include Dean Miller the Dog Counselor, Chris Carlisle of Carlisle Interiors, The Dog Spot’s Chad Baker, Nashville radio personality and Whiskers, Wings & Other Things founder – Devon O’Day, CMOClub.com founder Pete Krainik, Tennessee Titan’s Superbowl Punter Craig Hentrick and his wife, singer-songwriter Lisa Hentrick, and many more wonderful souls. American Express Open sponsored the breakfast and knows the importance of empowering small business owners and Veterans whom make up over nine percent of the country’s small business owners and entrepreneurs.
We are still hoping to raise enough money to save 3 Veterans with PTSD in Nashville and 3 dogs from being euthanized! Still time to contribute….Click here!
Please join us for our next hoe down I mean benefit in Dallas, Texas on August 16! Veterans have fought selflessly for us. Now it is time for us to fight for them! Donations and tickets are available here.
Be sure to check out Wendy Diamonds new book, How To Train Your Boss To Roll Over.