July 2017 VOLUME 1. ISSUE 2
- FOUNDER’S NOTE
- SERVICE DOG TEAM UPDATE : Sam and Tank
- EVENTS : St. Michael/Albertville VFW Post #5973 Annual Golf Open May 15, 2017
- SPOTLIGHT ON OUR TEAM : Patti Robinson Founder/CEO
organization for our veterans and rescue/shelter dogs.The last several months has forged some amazing relationships that have been created because of a desire to give back to the veterans who have served our country. I have spent a significant amount of time with veteran organizations such as VFW’s, American Legions, and Marine Corps Leagues to learn who they are and how they serve. I have met and collaborated with a PTSD expert at the Minneapolis VA Hospital. This collaboration delivered an understanding of the diagnosis’s supported by this nonprofit which has completely changed the way our team works with the veterans, screens our potential dogs and finally trains them as teams.
I have met and selected two rescues that believe in the Project Delta mission that includes not just their
rescue dogs, but the veterans they will pair with. These partnerships and their collaboration surrounding potential dog screening, has been a tremendous push forward for Project Delta. I am excited to introduce “Midwest Animal Rescue and Services” in this newsletter.
For every step forward more often than not will include several steps backward. With patience and hard work, Project Delta will continue to forge in the right direction to best serve our veterans and the amazing dogs, creating “bridges not barriers”, “to empower, not enable”.
All the best,
Patti Robinson Founder/CEO
SERVICE-DOG TEAM UPDATES:
Meet Sam and Tank
Anything worth doing, is worth doing well. It will likely require a considerable time commitment and multiple pivots to fully develop into something sustainable. Nothing could be closer to this truth when you are partnering rescue/shelter dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, or Military Sexual Trauma. Since pairing Sam and Tank back in November, it has been a whirl-wind of learning and pivots for the Project Delta training program.
Lindsay, our lead dog trainer, and I have spent countless hours studying, researching, meeting with experts, and applying these newly developed strategies to our training elements. Our research validates our experience that not all dogs wish to serve. Tank is an amazing dog and loves Sam deeply. Tank did everything he thought he should do as Sam’s “wingman.” Unfortunately, at no fault of his own, Tank was not happy serving in public. This unfortunate finding did, however, necessitate the need for a wonderful shift or pivot in our dog selection process. These changes have been implemented and going forward will minimize the chance for failed pairings.
With the help and collaboration of like minded rescue experts and PTSD experts, we have instituted multiple additional layers of dog screening that will even include our veterans in the foster process. This not only minimizes failed pairings, it is building “community” between the veteran world and dog rescue organizations that support the veterans. I couldn’t be more excited as we move forward. Since leaving Sam, I’m happy to report that Tank has since joined his new family, Andrew, Stephani, and his new dog-brother, Jack. He is happy being exactly what he wants to be, a pet.
Sam and his family are now fostering a new dog called, Birdie. The resilient and brave, Sam, is preparing for the next step in his service dog training. Joining Sam, will be several veterans that have completed the application process and are preparing for orientation.
St. Michael/Albertville VFW Post #5973 Annual Golf Open May 15, 2017
A big thanks to Rich McCumber, Post Master, and the St. Michael/Albertville VFW Post 5973 for recognizing Project Delta during their annual Gerald D. Stoick Golf Open on May 15th. In 2016, they generously donated $2000 to Project Delta, from the proceeds raised during the 2016 Golf Open. It was a great time for the forty-two participants, despite periods of rain. Thank you, VFW Post 5973, your donations will be used specifically for the pairing and training of our service dog teams.
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR TEAM:
Tell us about yourself. Include your family and hobbies.
I am an RN by trade and have worked at Methodist Hospital/Park Nicollet since 1988. I married Len, my Project Delta partner in crime, in 1990. We have children named Neil, Alec and Nicole and an adopted addition named Jimmy! Besides them, my world centers around our dogs Gus and Grace. The kids will say I love the dogs more than them!! When I’m not spending time with the family, work or Project Delta, I enjoy photography, gardening and do my best to stay in shape with the help and push from family.
How did the concept for Project Delta come about?
I completely believe in fate, but I also think the beginning of something really good requires a little luck. I was folding clothes in my bedroom November 9th of 2014 when I watched an interview with a gentleman named James Stanek, who cofounded a like-minded organization in New Mexico. The concept hit me intensely profound because it perfectly blends my two passions, rescue/shelter dogs and military veterans in need. From that brief viewing of Jim’s interview, I never looked back!
Since you launched Project Delta, what has been your greatest success/s?
There have been many successes. First, it’s the ability to finally put all the pieces of our concept into a working program. It’s also the capacity to collaborate with many like-minded people that have helped to develop our plan and forge through the hiccups and setbacks. What this has done is assist us with program elements that create service dogs that are “meant for service work” but are also happy doing it. This enthusiastically willing service dog creates a bridge for the veterans versus a barrier, which in turn empowers the veteran, rather than allowing their diagnosis to define them. Additionally, I have an excellent partnership with a local shelter, Midwest Animal Rescue/Services (MARS), that collaborates with my trainer and me with dog selection.
What are your plans for Project Delta?
Despite the hiccups or setbacks, staying true to the mission has been a driving force in overcoming obstacles and finding real success. The immediate plans are to continue “buttoning up” the program elements. The future is packed with opportunities to learn from each team and take that knowledge forward to build an even better program. With each veteran and dog pairing, it energizes me to move forward when I witness their success and happiness. My goal is to have a facility that will allow not just veterans from Minnesota to participate in the program, but a veteran in any state to come here, train and go back to their home a more happy and confident person with a wagging tailed partner at his/her side!