Courageous Companions is a registered Canadian charity that helps to pair military veterans and first responders with top quality service dogs to help those living with an Operational Stress Injury (OSI), live their best lives.
This year marks Courageous Companions’ first annual Paws for PTSD Gala on September 22, 2018. Julie Letal, Board of Directors for Courageous Companions, said the aim is to raise money and spread awareness about the need of service dogs for an OSI.
“We’re hoping for a great turn out and for everyone to have a great time,” said Letal. “(If all goes well) we’re hoping to bring it back year after year to different cities.”
This year the gala is being held in Edmonton, but Letal hopes the event will take place in Calgary, Winnipeg and other major Canadian cities in the years to come. She said Courageous Companions is an organization that reaches across Canada, so she would like to see other cities help take it on.
Courageous Companions receives their funding through various fundraisers held throughout the year, so they’re hoping to have a high turnout to be able to bring it back year after year.
“We’re hoping to raise between $50 thousand and $60 thousand through our first gala,” said Letal. “All the money raised goes to the purchasing of dogs, training and equipment.”
It takes 12-24 months for a service dog to become fully certified and the costs between $15 thousand and $20 thousand. These costs include the purchase of the puppy, veterinarian costs, training and room and board for both the trainer and program participant.
The night’s events include dinner, silent auction, live auction, door prizes and special guest speaker, Daniel Sundahl. Sundahl is a firefighter, paramedic, artist and mental health awareness advocate.
If you wish to attend, tickets can be purchased through the Courageous Companions website and the evening will be held at the Executive Royal Hotel West Edmonton.