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Puppies For Veterans

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The Rocky Mountain Dawgs Project was started by Gold Star Father Kevin Sonka after his son, Marine Corps Corporal David Sonka was killed in action along with his Multi Purpose Canine Flex, while serving in Afghanistan.    Following in the footsteps of the original Dawgs Project, he has been travelling to support Military Working Dog units across the country, cooking barbeques for our frontline defenders since August 24th, 2013.

Now the RMDP has initiated Phase Two of their mission.  The Puppy Project was officially kicked off on September 20th, 2016 with the delivery of two German Shorthair puppies to two Marine Corps Veterans in Alabama.  Duke (formerly Snoopy) and Toby will work with trainers from Scent Imprint for Dogs over the course of roughly two years to become certified service dogs for the two veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Normally a veteran with PTSD or other service related issues would have to first be identified as a candidate for a service dog, then wait for more than two years for the dog to be trained for them.  We are taking a new approach to this training.  We will place outstanding puppies with veterans and work with training companies nationwide to build teams that will enhance each veteran's quality of life along with their families and loved ones.  Starting with a puppy has many advantages. Not only will the veteran and his or her dog enjoy at least two more years together, but training their own dogs will build a stonger bond and give the veteran a strong sense of satisfaction that will be earned by training their own dog.

Scent Imprint for Dogs is working closely with us to develop a standardized training program for Phase Two. Our initial work has shown that by having the veteran work with our trainers and do much of the work themselves we can save at least 50% of the training cost which can run in excess of $30,000.  That means that we can train twice as many dogs to help our veterans and work with local veterinarians to manage the cost of caring for the dog's health.

In setting our goal at $50,000 we intend to pay for the training of Duke and Toby and assist in travel and other expenses for our veterans.   As the Pilot Program is developed, more puppies can and will be added as we can afford it.  We are in the process of building a network of trainers, breeders, and people willing to help identify veterans in need.  We are also in the process of applying for grants so that we may place as many puppies as possible with our heroes.  What we are not doing is building our own facilities or hiring full time staff that would eat in to our ability to help those in need.

Our service men and women have done a tremendous serive to all of us as they have stepped up to face our enemies.  Now is your opportunity to give back.  Any amount will quickly add up, and if we exceed our goal it will allow us to move forward more rapidly in funding Phase Two, the Puppy Project.

Thank you for your time and attention.  If you are either unable to give or are uninterested in the Puppy Project we would only ask that you share or forward this so that others may see it.  For those that are able to give, Thank You, your gift will impact those that have given so much for all of us.

Please feel free to check us out at or on Facebook at Rocky Mountain Dawgs Project.  We will be posting updates as they happen so that you can watch our puppies grow in to Dawgs with their veterans!

Organizer and beneficiary

Curtis M. Hendel
Adrian, MN
Kevin Sonka

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