The second annual Pies for Pups pie sale held March 14, 2018 at Fareway of Orange City raised over $2,300 for the Midwest division of Big Paws Canine, a group that provides trained assistance animals for disabled veterans and former first responders. The event was coordinated by employees of Revival Animal Health and Fareway of Orange City volunteered to host the Wednesday afternoon event. More than 120 pies were donated and sold by Revival employees, friends of Big Paws, and community members.
Big Paws Canine, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, trains service, therapy, and companion dogs at little or no cost to the veterans and first responders they work with. Gail Dickerson, director of the Midwest branch of Big Paws, says there are over 70,000 veterans in the state of South Dakota alone, and there is a big need for service dogs. According to Dickerson, the dogs primarily help with four issues: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), breathing issues, and mobility.
Dennis Baack, one of the veterans in attendance at Wednesday’s event said his dog Poppy has been a huge blessing in his life. Poppy is specially trained to alert Baack when his blood sugar is low. She also helps with his anxiety.
Jenny Peters, an Army veteran from Sioux Falls, learned about Big Paws through the news. Her dog Buddy was a rescue and the relationship they’ve formed has been good for them both. “He’s more than just a service dog,” Peters said, adding that she feels he has saved her life.
Because Big Paws is a volunteer-run organization and provides training at little to no cost, they rely heavily on fundraising. Revival employee Dan Coulander is one of the event’s chief organizers. “This community never ceases to amaze me with their generosity and devotion to helping out great causes. People here are very patriotic and have a great appreciation for our current and former service men and women. It’s part of the reason I love living here,” Coulander said.
For more information on Big Paws Canine, visit www.bigpawscanine.com.