The Beta Alpha Tau Chapter of the national honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) will host a presentation/fundraiser to benefit the non-profit organizations Stiggy’s Dogs and the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter of (BARCS) on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at the Community College of Baltimore County – Dundalk in the Student Lounge, Building K, 2nd Floor from 1:00-2:30 p.m. The event will raise awareness of the complex psychological dynamic of animal cruelty and demonstrate how rescued shelter dogs and pets are trained to assist veterans as Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD). Proceeds will be split between Stiggy’s Dogs and BARCS. The presentation/fundraiser is part of the annual Phi Beta Kappa Honors in Action Project aimed at assisting and supporting a nonprofit, community, and charitable organizations further their missions.
Soldiers greatly sacrifice so Americans can maintain and enjoy their freedoms. Military spouses greatly sacrifice themselves to support their loved ones serving active duty. When a spouse loses their loved one, many transform the great loss into a legacy – a dedication to the fallen spouse. Jennifer Petre has done just that.
After losing her husband, fallen Marine Corpsman HM3 Benjamin (Ben) “Doc Stiggy” Castiglione in combat in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan on September 3, 2009, Petre found strength in continuing her husband’s dedication to giving back. Using her experience working at a Humane Society to form her own nonprofit organization, she founded Stiggy’s Dogs. Based in Northville, Michigan, her organization trains rescued shelter dogs and pets for service as Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD) to aid veterans with mental illnesses.
The typical costs of training and “deploying” (adopting) each PSD are expensive — $6,500. After a dog is trained, it is given to a veteran free of charge. Service dogs not only provide emotional healing and support to veterans, they also perform routine and life-saving tasks. A dog’s daily routine consists of such tasks as reminding their owner to take medications, waking them up from a nightmare, or strategically directing them through a busy crowd.
Dedicated to protecting animals from neglect, abuse, and exploitation, BARCS has advocated for the interests and welfare of all animals, brought awareness and raised compassion for all living things, and provided pet programs such as adoption, foster homes, vaccinations, dog training, free workshops, and low-cost spaying and neutering in Baltimore since 2005. They shelter an estimated 11,000 unwanted, abused, or stray animals in their facilities. BARCS collaborates with the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks to create new dog parks, and also works with The Baltimore City Health Department in the Animal Control Program to investigate animal neglect and cruelty cases, and to enforce city and state codes, rules, and regulations.
“Dogs listen, love us unconditionally, are loyal, and can be life-saving. I am passionate about my goal of helping one dog at a time, and now one soldier and family at a time. I am proud to honor Ben and determined to carry on his legacy of helping others through Stiggy’s Dogs,” said Petre according to the Stiggy’s Dogs website: stiggysdogs.org.
The Beta Alpha Tau Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa wants to help BARCS and Stiggy’s Dogs carry on their legacies.
by Kelly Crawford
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