Submitted by Lake Bluff American Legion Post 510
Experienced PTSD Service Dog Harold Koal, his apprentice PTSD recruit Service Dog Joseph Ellis Bohon and Pack Leader Academy trainer Pam Barnett paid a visit to a recent meeting of their sponsoring organization Lake Bluff’s American Legion Post 510.
“Taking care of veterans is one of the objectives of Lake Bluff‘s American Legion Post 510. Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Blast Injury presented Post 510 with a challenge. Service dogs were suggested and Post 510 turned to the community for help meeting the need,” according to Post 510 Commander David Cimarrusti.
The Knights of Columbus Lake Forest Council #1268 at St. Mary’s Church was looking for a veteran project to underwrite. Commander Cimarrusti and Post Vice Commander Jim Graham saw a match with the Post mission to care for veterans. A relationship was formed. The search was on to identify a suitable canine source.
Pam Barnett, president of “Paws Assisting Wounded Warriors” (PAWWS), a recognized regional non-profit PTSD dog-training subsidiary of Pack Leader Academy in Palos Heights was contacted by Post Commander Cimarrusti. Barnett agreed to take on the challenge to find a suitable dog, do the appropriate training and match dog and veteran.
The Post 510, Knights of Columbus, PAWWS service dog team has been functioning since 2012. During that time two veterans have visited Post 510 with their Post 510 PTSD Service dogs. Three dogs have been or are being prepared to act as service dogs; trained dog Black Lab Harold Koal, trainee dog Black Lab Joseph Ellis Bohon and the newest potential service dog Standard Poodle Jimmie Dobbins.
Of note, the dogs are named after either veterans or donors. Service dog Jimmie Dobbins represents long time Post 510 veteran Bill Dobbins.
For additional information on Post 510 or its PTSD service dog project contact Post Commander David Cimarrusti at 847-234-5261 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.