NEWS | Jan. 25, 2012

Canines for Veterans named finalist in Joining Forces Community Challenge

By Patricia Hairston, Canines for Service

Joining Forces, a nationwide campaign to recognize, honor and serve military families announced the finalists of their Community Challenge Jan. 23 and Canines for Service is one of the 20 finalists.

Canines for Service has partnered with the Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston to provide quality trained service dogs to veterans at no cost.

"We are absolutely honored to be a finalist in the Joining Forces Community Challenge," said Rick Hairston, president & CEO of Canines for Service. "This is an unbelievable opportunity to be recognized by the White House, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden for the work we are doing to support our veterans."

The Joining Forces Community Challenge was launched July, 2010 and recognizes those citizens and organizations with a demonstrated, genuine and deep desire to be of service to military families. Entries were judged by a panel of judges and the finalists' submissions will be judged throughout January and February 2012, when winners, including the People's Choice winner, will be announced Feb. 24.

Readers can go tohttp://joiningforces.challenge.gov/ to vote for Canines for Veterans once within a 24-hour period from now until Feb. 23.

Canines for Veterans, a program of Canines for Service, is a triple win; providing quality trained service dogs to veterans at no cost, teaching prisoners new skills they can use when released from prison and rescuing dogs from local shelters giving them a second chance at a new life.

Previously known as Carolina Canines for Service, Canines for Service, empowers people with disabilities to achieve greater independence through the gift of quality trained service dogs. Through the volunteer efforts of foster families and military prisoners, the organization trains certified service dogs and then partners the canines with eligible recipients. In addition, Canines for Therapy and Canines for Literacy are specialized programs that have completed thousands of hours training more than 450 therapy dogs used in animal-assisted visitations at hospitals, nursing and group homes, schools and treatment facilities and have helped approximately 600 children improve their reading and communication skills. Canines for Service has provided more than $6 million in assistance at no cost to its clients.

For more information on Canines for Service and its programs, call (866) 910-3647 or visit www.caninesforservice.org.