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Trauma Dogs: Healing Through Heeling?

Dee Baldus, founder of Paws for Troops, to hold fundraiser on June 25 at Chapel of the Chimes. Her organization plans to use dogs to help returning troops readjust to civilian life.

If a dog is going to be killed anyway, wouldn't sending it to prison be more humane?

The answer from Dogs-in-prisons programs around the nation is yes. Programs to educate prisoners in how to train guide dogs, guard dogs, assistance dogs and companion dogs—using about-to-be-killed animals from shelters and inmates from penitentiaries around the country—have provided thousands of dogs to disabled Americans.

It has been a brilliant experiment, successful at rehabilitating traumatized dogs, and, in turn, helping to rehabilitate the traumatized prisoners who came back to life in the process of training and helping these animals. Both dogs and prisoners restored one another.

Dogs, quite simply, have always worked magically well with humans in a mutually beneficial partnership. This program had the double advantage of restoring self-esteem to dogs and humans who both needed help emotionally.

In a variation on the theme, Dee Baldus, founder of Paws for Troops, wants to pair shelter dogs with returning soldiers who are struggling with societal re-entry. Will the magical healing of animals help solve something as powerful as post-traumatic stress disorder or other afflictions suffered by returning troops?

The odds are in Dee's favor, given the profound success of the dogs in prison programs, originating in 1981 in Washington State Women's Penitentiary. They are in prisons throughout the country with overwhelmingly successful statistics and heart-warming stories of doomed animals rehabilitated by inmates.

You can show your support for Dee's efforts at a Paws for Troops event on June 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Chapel of the Chimes in Sherman Oaks.

The fundraiser will offer crafts, a bake sale and a rummage sale.

Vendors include ITSDDB Designs; Mussel Dog; Go Ploopy Go Collars; Aromatherapy Mobile Pet Grooming; Fusions by Jo'se; Sherri Rabinowitz (author); Marty Wolff Creative Photography; Pet Flys Inc.; L.A. Pet Tech; Jasmine Beauty Studio; Koolcreationsnmore (Carrie Madrid).

Raffle contributors include Sonja Sadi—manicure; Jasmine Beauty Studio; Eupheria Pet Salon; Hotroxrus; Ricque Patire—writer, performer, photographer, image stylist, product creator and recording artist.

Come for the cause, and for the selection of clothing, handbags and shoes, or the great baked goods.

Dee Baldus: 323-788-3391   itsddb@yahoo.com

Michele Weiss: 818-648-9515   brneyedgirl1005@aol.com

Chapel of the Chimes is located at 14115 Magnolia Ave.

TIME: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

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