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UPDATE: http://bit.ly/QbpAQw

Subject: Regarding the puppy I adopted in 2009

Hello Michelle!

My name is Lindsey Stanek, previously Lindsey Harte, and I adopted a beautiful puppy from your rescue in February of 2009. Her name was Cricket at your rescue, and has since been renamed Sarge.  I have attached photos in hopes that you would remember her and myself.  I know there have since been so many dogs and people that have come through your facility, but I hope maybe you will have some recollection. 

I wanted to tell you the VERY special story about this amazing dog. 

Sarge was a 6 month old puppy that you found running around one of the highways in Clemson.  (I think it was Rollercoaster or something like that....if you remember the name of where she was found, or any more details in your records about her prior to being rescued, please let me know!)  I have since divorced my first husband and remarried one of the most amazing men I have ever met.  My current husband, Jim Stanek, is a retired SSG from the US Army who served three tours overseas and was sent home early on his last for injuries he received overseas.  Long story short, with his multiple injuries and disabilities from the service, he felt that maybe he could get a dog to help him.  I had Sarge, and when the two met, well, it was truly love at first sight.

We moved to New Mexico in January of 2010, and began researching what you have to do to get a service dog.  My husband was diagnosed with chronic severe PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, and had such a hard time doing normal things like go to the store, eat at a restaurant, or attend sporting events.  After a lot of let-downs, we met up with a couple of trainers local here, in Rio Rancho, and thus began something wonderful. 

My husband had not only been taking Sarge to training to be a service dog, but he and myself have begun our own 501(c)(3) organization that pairs rescue dogs with veterans with PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injury, and the trainers assist the veterans in training the dog to be their service dog.  The veterans never pay a cent for this service, and we provide all equipment needed for training.  I don't know how familiar you are with this concept, but in order to receive a service dog, you are looking at paying $10-30,000 or spending anywhere from 9 months to two years applying for grants to cover the cost.  We began the organization in May of 2010, and today have 10 veterans in our program and a waiting list of more than 90 veterans nationwide.  We have been featured on Military.com, the Air Force News nationwide, Albuquerque news more than once, and are going to NYC on Veteran's day on an invitation by the War Veterans' Council. 

Sarge has been an inspiration to many, and a heroine to my husband.  She has truly changed his life, as he is no longer taking any medication and can go into dense crowds, large buildings, and actually attended his first firework display this Fourth of July since being back from combat. 

Currently, there is a senior reporter for the NY Times who is in the process of writing a book about Sarge and Jim, and our organization, Paws and Stripes. 

I felt that this story was too important not to share with the individuals that I received Sarge from, and I wanted to thank you all again for allowing her into my, and my husband's life.  Her presence has been the catalyst for our organization and absolutely changed our and many other lives for the better. 

Please visit us online at www.PawsnadStripes.org.  I wish you and your endeavor the best.

Lindsey Stanek, CEO Paws and Stripes