More than $19,000 recently raised by student organizations will be a gift that keeps on giving, thanks to the recipient organization -- My Angel With Paws -- a DeLand-based non-profit that trains service dogs for the disabled.
During the annual Greenfeather competition at Homecoming, student teams competed for points and fundraising dollars, with the goal of raising $10,000 for charity. This year, the teams nearly doubled their goal amount, raising a record $19,500 for the Greenfeather Grant.
The money will definitely go to the dogs, along with other projects the non-profit needs, said Sarah Townsend, executive director of My Angel with Paws, in a news release.
“(The grant funds will be used to) feed the dogs, take care of them, vet bills and do some final finishing touches on our training center because it was flooded during Hurricane Irma,” Ms. Townsend said. “We still have a few things that need to be done. So, this is going to go a long way.”
Ms. Townsend, along with Marilyn Kudlets, My Angel With Paws board member, and some of the angels in training, met with Stetson students and representatives on campus to receive the check, but the amount was kept a surprise.
In addition to the funding, Stetson faculty, staff and students also donated enough dog food and pet supplies to fill six large plastic bins, said Rebecca Thomas, assistant director of sustainable giving and Greenfeather adviser.
And, by way of a thank you, the winning Greenfeather team, Pi Kappa Alpha and Zeta Tau Alpha, had the honor of naming the Greenfeather puppy. Palmer the black Lab attended Friday’s event and, just six weeks after the competition, he already weighs 40 pounds, according to information provided by the university.
My Angel With Paws, 3098 Marsh Road, DeLand, trains mobility service dogs to assist with retrievals, opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off; balance brace dogs, to assist in maintaining balance while walking; and seizure response dogs, trained to respond to an individuals needs when a seizure has occurred. It also trains post-traumatic stress disorder dogs, which help alleviate hyper-vigilance and are trained to respond during an anxiety attack, and facility dogs, to work alongside a therapist to assist with relief.
The group also has dogs who, while very good animals, did not meet the strict standards set aside for service dogs, according to the group’s website.
“We work hard with every dog that comes through our doors, however, not every dog can be or wants to be a Service Dog,” the website states. “ If we have any dogs that have chosen to change careers and become wonderful pet dogs, they will be listed (on the website).”
Depending on the dog's training, breeding and reason for being released, the adoption fee will vary, according to the website. “We do home visits and reference checks to ensure each dog finds a loving forever home. In order to adopt, you must live within 50 miles of Deland, as we need to perform a home visit.”
For more information, visit myangelwithpaws.org.