Earlier this month I shared with you my partnership with Home Depot and their Celebration of Service projects that Home Depot has generously given $80 million dollars to improve the lives of our Veterans. I knew it was something I wanted to partner with but I had no idea the amazing impact this program is having across the country until I jumped on a plane and flew to Detroit to experience my first Celebration of Service project for Stiggy’s Dogs.
Who is Stiggy’s Dogs? : They are a non profit organization with a mission to rescues and train shelter dogs to be psychiatric service dogs for military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) or Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”). Stiggy’s Dogs was founded by Jennifer Petre in memory of her nephew, HM3 Benjamin Phillip (“Doc Stiggy”) Castiglione who lost his life at the age of 22 while serving our country.
(Picture from Stiggy’s Dogs)
What we did: Founder Jennifer Petre and her husband recently purchased a 10 acre piece of property along with the home that Jennifer’s husband grew up in. A perfect location with so much potential but it was in need of being renovation and ADA equipped – Thus the reason Home Depot had jumped into action with their Celebration of Service project over 200 volunteers from local Home Depot stores had taken over the 10 acre facility ready to remodel bathrooms, a kitchen , create a main level bedroom, replace flooring, add a deck, create ramps for wheel chair access, landscaping, and even clearing out the garden and getting it ready for the next season. The most amazing thing is this was all done with volunteers and the Home Depots foundation helped to defray the expenses along with donations from various companies. I was in awe of the entire project, the hearts of those serving, the amazing way Home Depot employees came together, rolled up their sleeves all on their own time to serve others.
Who we meet: Not only did we meet some pretty amazing Home Depot team members but we got to meet Frank Blake, Home Depot’s CEO who joined the blogging team for breakfast and though we had anticipated quizzing him he was more interested in who we were and what drove us to blogging and joining in with Home Depots Celebration of Service projects. We laughed and listened to a man of amazing leadership as he shared his heart for Veterans and his employees – I walked away from our conversation reminding myself that a leader with a servants heart gives one the ability to not only lead but to make a difference in our world.
After our day of serving, taking pictures and getting our hands dirty we ended our time meeting one of the Veterans and his family who were recipients of a Stiggy’s dog. If I could only have had each of you there with me listening as they shared their story and the dramatic change it has been for their family since their dog Barrett joined them. You would have cried and laughed right along with us as the veterans wife shared the impact her husbands TBI had on their family and the hope their Stiggy Dog has brought to their family and marriage.
More about Stiggy’s Dogs : from the Stiggy’s Dogs’website….
About Stiggy’s Dogs
Stiggy’s Dogs is a 501(c)(3) organization that rescues and trains shelter dogs to be psychiatric service dogs for military veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) or Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”). The psychiatric service dogs are trained and deployed at no cost to the veteran.
Stiggy’s Dogs all pass the Canine Good Citizen ® Certification test and then are paired with their handlers for further training. Since each veteran has unique qualities and needs, each dog is individually trained to meet that veteran’s needs. Stiggy’s Dogs offers the veteran and dog pairing a lifetime of support after deployment.
The Need for Stiggy’s Dogs
Studies have shown that 1 in 8 soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq will have some symptoms of PTSD. Feelings of anxiety, depression and detachment make returning to civilian life difficult for these veterans. Those veterans living with TBI have their own unique needs. Studies have also shown that 82% of patients with PTSD who were assigned a service dog had a decrease in symptoms. This includes a decreased need for medication in 40% of the patients studied.
There are an estimated five million dogs sitting in shelters across America, many of whom will be euthanized. Many of these dogs could make an excellent service dog for a veteran living with PTSD and/or TBI. By uniting the two, we are Rescuing One to Rescue Another.
Click here to read more about Stiggy’s Dogs
Blogger Friends: In case you are wondering who the other amazing bloggers are that have partnered with Home Depot I’d love to introduce them to you and encourage you to go visit their sites and see who my new friends are.
Ashley and Jamin(Handmade Home), Dan (Military Avenue), Kierstie (Brown Paper Packages), Emily (Decor Chick), Stacy, (Not Just a Housewife), Lori (Witty Little Secret), Gail (My Repurposed Life), Rachel (Lovely Crafty Home), Kris (The New Normal), and Diane (In My Own Stlye).
Stay Tuned: for my next Celebration of Service Adventure – I can’t wait to tell you where it will be.
Energy Saving Tips: I almost forgot to tell you about some great energy saving tips Home Depot taught us while in Detroit that they are using during Stiggy’s Dogs’ renovation.
1. Replacing old heating and cooling filters.
2. Installing energy efficient light bulbs.
3. Caulking the windows.
4. Use of a Programmable Thermostat!
Check out my post tomorrow with all these and more great energy saving tips you can easily begin doing in your own homes.