We are in a season of new beginnings at Patriot K9s. We recently graduated eight puppies from the Redgranite Correctional Institution, and two of them have already been placed with their veterans. In a few weeks, we will be holding the graduation of Classes 23-4 and 23-5, 10 teams from the Patriot K9 service dog program.
Looking ahead, in January, we will be starting a full class. Two more classes will follow in February.
Patriot K9s is also bringing in new staff. Sean Dumais has joined PK9s as an assistant trainer. Sean is an Iraq veteran and master dog trainer. Terese Barta was just hired to oversee the Patriot for Paws Program at RGCI.
Patriot K9s of Wisconsin wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and great beginning to the holiday season.
Patriot K9's Annual Fundraiser
On November 19, the Arrow Sport's Bar and Grill hosted Patriot K9's annual Packer Party fundraiser at Arrow Sports Bar and Grill in Weston.
There were basket raffles, 50-50 raffles, paddle raffles, and a silent auction. Of the 67 baskets raffled, 25 were made in honor of Andrew Peters, a Patriot K9 graduate who was killed in Ukraine in February 2023.
Patriot K9s would like to thank the Arrow Sports Bar, the many people who came out for it, as well as the numerous businesses and individuals who donated items for the raffle: Pub 21, The Bar, Julie Caldwell, Dr. Wendy Nelson, Mosinee Brewing Company, Arrow Tap Tavern, Home Bar, Onyx Salon, Diane Durante, Hog Creek, Menke Auto, Charlie’s Bar, Wickersham’s Jewelers, Sasha Hornung Financial Planning, Birnamwood Veterinary Clinic, Pit Stop Bar & Grill, Joe Dahlke Memorial, Mullins Cheese, Blaze Gifts, Snappy Joe, Gorski’s Chritan Faith Bookstore, Marcus Theatre, Reservoir Dog, The Jim, Dale Weston Lanes, Treu’s Tic Toc, Ride or Dye Hairstylists, Magnolia Soap & Bath Company, Texas Roadhouse, Bigby Coffee, Briq’s Soft Serve, The Palm’s Supper Club, Dunkin Donuts of Weston, Janke Bookstore, Ray’s Market, Wausau Mine company, Two’s Company, Burk’s Bar, The Office, Ciao, Rib River Ballroom, Clean Slate coffee, Holiday Inn Express, Ace Hardware, The Mint, Polito’s Pizza, Nueske’s meat, Uff Duh Sign Store, Bancroft Sign, El Mezcal, Paper City Lanes, Lighting Express and Towing, Just Clipping Along, B Dubs, K-Tech Cleaning, Patriots for Warriors, Camping World, Wow, Blades and Boards, Gulliver’s, El Tequila Salsa, Log Cabin.
Their generosity makes it possible for us to carry out our mission.
Puppy Graduation held at
Redgranite Correctional Institution
The graduation of puppies from the Paws 4 Patriots program was held at the Redgranite Correctional Institution (RGCI) on Friday, October 27, 2023. This was the third graduation held at RGCI. Eight (now about one year-old) puppies graduated: Loki, Bailey, Journey, Jade, Phoenix, Django, Kenzo, and Shadow.
Speaking at the ceremony were RGCI Warden Gierach, two of the puppy raisers, Officers Pellerino and Sroka (two RGCI staff who assist with the program), and Patriot K9s Executive Director, Lani Rethaber. Each puppy trainer was recognized with a certificate of achievement for having trained their puppy to the AKC Canine Good Citizen standards. The dogs leaving RGCI are also well on their way to becoming service dogs, having been trained with additional skills as well.
Redgranite Correctional Institute also presented Patriot K9s with a $5000 donation.
The Paws 4 Patriots program is a partner with Patriot K9s. Each puppy is cared for and trained by a pair of trainers. Puppies raised at RGCI are matched with a veteran who will complete at least 300 hours of additional training with their K9 partner. K9s Loki and Bailey have already been matched with their veteran. They, with other dogs, will begin service dog training in January or February.
Sean Dumais joined the Patriot K9 staff the end of October and is now serving as the service dog trainer. Sean comes to Patriot K9s with a wealth of knowledge and training experience.
Sean is the Co-Founder / Director of training at Crossroads K9 Rescue, He is the owner of Central Wisconsin K-9. Crossroads K9 is a nonprofit rescue organization. Sean describes Central Wisconsin K-9 as how he supports the rescue and pays his bills (LOL). Sean is also a Navy veteran.
Sean belongs to seven dogs:
Piper, an Anatolian Shepherd who is a live-find search & rescue (SAR) dog; Titan, a GSD.trained for live tracking; a Dutch Shepherd Reaper, a human remains SAR dog; Dutch Shepherd Malcom, also a human remains detection dog; Leia, French Bulldog. who is currently the 3rd fastest frenchie in the country; Husky Toby, a retired therapy dog; Teddy, a GSD who is a retired narcotics/tracking dog; and Jake, a young Belgian Malinois.
Happy Trails, Charlotte!
All of us would like to extend our good wishes and congratulations to our office manager Charlotte Rethaber, who is moving out of state to join her fiancé. Charlotte will continue to work for PK9 remotely until her replacement is found. Good luck, Charlotte! You’ll be missed.
Thank You to Our Donors
Donations we receive help to cover the costs associated with placing a qualified Veteran with their Service Dog. These costs are substantial and include: finding and raising quality puppies, veterinary expenses, food, supplies, and the training of both canine and Veteran.
We would like to recognize our donors on a monthly basis.
Clean Slate Coffee House
Wisconsin Public Service Foundation
B.A. Esther Greenheck Foundation
Central WI Dog Sports Club, Inc
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 456
Burns VFW Auxiliary Post 388
Calvary Lutheran Church
Community Foundation of Central WI
Network for Good
WI Department of Corrections
8th District American Legion
AMVETS Post 1051
Redeemer Lutheran Church
Alosi Dreikosen American Legion Post 469
Einstein Middle School
Dunn County Area 1-74 Retired Educators Association
A special Thank You to the Samuel’s Group for providing cleaning services to our facility. It is really appreciated!
November 28 is Giving Tuesday. Please consider giving a charitable donation to Patriot K9s of Wisconsin. Your donation directly helps our program.
Isolation, Solitude, and Mental Health
Shared by Vic, our veteran's coordinator
Humans are social creatures and pack animals. Our basic nature needs interaction with others to satisfy our biological needs, our safety needs, our social needs. We need other people to survive and thrive. One challenge with veteran mental health and wellness, however, is that it often drives isolation rather than connection. It has been widely known that social isolation is a key risk factor in challenges with mental health and wellness. One of the problems with isolation, however, is that sometimes it feels good.
Diane France, a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, and a mental health counselor, discusses this dilemma in her blog posted on the website of the Colorado Veterans Health and Wellness Agency, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit in Colorado Springs, Colorado).
Winter in Wisconsin (usually) brings ice and snow, and with the wintry weather, comes salt and other de-icing products. These products help us humans avoid injury outside, and make it possible for us to get outdoor exercise for ourselves and our dogs. However, they can be damaging to your canine companion's paws. Paws can become dry, cracked, and even cut by repeated walking on salt crystals. Dogs that lick their paws can also ingest the salt, which can cause irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal problems. Chemicals in some de-icing products can be toxic.
You can help your dog avoid these problems by:
encouraging your dog to walk on the grass or snow instead of the sidewalk
bringing a towel on walks in case the dogs can't avoid walking through a patch of salt.
cleaning your dog's paws off at home with warm water and a washcloth to get rid of residual salt. This also gives you a chance to examine each paw for injuries.
using pet-safe de-icing products around your home. Kitty litter and sand are alternatives to salt. There are also commercial products that are "pet safe."
getting your dog some snow booties or socks (make sure they fit properly). Not all dogs easily take to wearing booties, but many can be trained to tolerate them, if acclimated to them gradually and with treats.
treating dry feet with pad-protective cream. A paw cream can add a layer of protection and even help injured paws heal more quickly. There are many products on the market such as "Musher's Secret" and "Natural Company Paw Soother.*
keeping the fur between the pads trimmed to prevent build up of snow and make it easier to keep paws clean.
making an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog has open sores or chemical burns on their paws. Burns should be examined and treated professionally to prevent infection.
*this does not constitute an endorsement for any particular product by Patriot K9s. This is informational only.
Please help us raise funds for
Milo's IMHA Helping Paws Fund
Patriot K9s continues to raise funds for Milo's Helping Paws Fund. Milo was a June graduate from Patriot K9s who died unexpectedly from Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia in July. The funds raised in Milo's honor will not only help his handler Brad pay the high veterinary medical costs incurred when Milo became ill, but it will also help other veterans facing unexpected emergency veterinary costs. Your help is appreciated.
PATRIOT K9 STAFF
Lani Ratheber – Executive Director
Catie Dodson – Program Training Manager
Sean Dumais – Service Dog Trainer
Charlotte Rethaber-Office Manager/Veteran Coordinator
Patriot K9s of Wisconsin is a non-profit organization that trains veterans and their dogs for service work in post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and military sexual trauma (MST).
Our mission: At no cost to qualified Veterans, we educate and train Psychiatric Service Dog Teams to have a fulfilling and meaningful life in the community of their choice.