Kathy King love dogs. Back in 2010 she got an idea to create a non-profit called “Canines with A Cause.” She told me; “The idea really came about from rescuing dogs and lead to rescuing people.”
What is the idea? Second chances for both dogs and veterans. Kathy’s group rescues dogs from shelters and has them trained at the Timpanogos Woman’s Prison. The dogs then go to veterans dealing with post-traumatic syndrome, also known as PTSD.
“A service dog is almost like a prescription. All the veterans in our program are referred by the VA as someone who would benefit from having a service or assistance dog and being able to take care of it.” Kathy said.
Andie Morris served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years. “I was the daughter of a career Air Force Major. So, I decided to join a military unit and I chose the Navy Reserve and I said we haven’t had a military uprising in 17 years, we’ll be fine. Five days later after I signed in, Iraq invaded Kuwait and I got to see the world.”
When you are dealing with trauma, going out in public can be tough. Kathy told me; “Our dogs are trained that if you have PTSD and you’re in Walmart and you start and your mind is going back to this trauma related situation. That dog knows what to do when you go into your anxiety. Whether it is barking, licking your face, or moving you away from people.”
I asked Kathy and Andie; “What do you want people to know about interacting with a service dog?”
Cathy got animated as she answered; “I think the main thing that people need to understand is that a service dog is working. Say, Doug you’re interviewing me right now and some person runs up and says Doug, Doug, Doug. I’m going to grab your head and try to talk to you in your face. That’s exactly what they are doing when they come up to a service dog.”
Andie is impressed with how people in Utah have reacted to her service dog. She told me; “The dogs are doing a job. I want to really thank everybody that has been kind enough to say, hey is it okay. And do the check in. I do want to thank them for that and encourage others to continue with that.”
The question I ask just about everyone that I interview for Utah Caring Stories is simple but can be poignant. Cathy was no exception.
“Cathy, why do you do what you do?” She answered with a grin. “When you see the final story and you keep in touch with people. That let you know were at a point of suicide at one point and know they are having families and really getting back to having a life again. That makes it all worthwhile.”
These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.
TO SEE MORE UTAH CARING STORIES AND TO NOMINATE A PERSON OR GROUP MAKING A DIFFERENCE GO TO ABC4.COM/CARING.