Dog Fest Supports Beck PRIDE Center
JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s Military Science Building was a carnival chock full of attentive dogs and masters as they participated in the first-ever Dog Fest hosted by Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Veterans last weekend. The festival was held to benefit the center’s Battle Buddies: Paws4Vets program that helps secure service dogs for veterans. As Memorial Day approaches, the program is a reminder of the sacrifices military service people make and how a service dog can help.
The indoor events included a dog park prepared by Stephens Sod Farm and Adams Nursery of Paragould, dog contests, vendors, a dog meet-and-greet, police K-9 demonstrations, the NEA Humane Society, dance contest and a puppy adoption from Jonesboro Animal Control, according to Lynda Nash, Beck PRIDE Center director.
Nash said people had the opportunity to meet and visit with veterans and their service dogs and learn about how the dogs provide aid and help to their owners. They also learned about the services available to veterans by the Beck PRIDE Center.
The Paws4Vets program was established in February and was the first online crowd-funding program for A-State. The online promotion met their goal. Also a grant for $5,000 from Craighead Community Foundation was approved for the program.
The dogs are trained to give emotional support and comfort to those veterans who need help with depression, fear and other psychological and emotional circumstances. Part of the training includes teaching the dogs to help calm veterans in crowds. Nash also noted that selected dogs must have obedience training and the appropriate personality. Also, veterans are responsible for the dog’s upkeep.
Other vendors presented a variety of items and information for the community include Families Inc., Hilltop Veterinary Hospital, Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital, Marlow & Fitz, Hollywood Feed, St. Bernards Healthcare and Lyons/NEA Trophies.
Arkansas State and the Beck PRIDE Center are consistently ranked nationally among the top 10 programs by Military Times as a veteran friendly institution.
The program’s mission is to provide combat-wounded veterans with resources for personal rehabilitation, counseling, advocacy, financial assistance, access to the higher education experience and socialization and to provide first class educational programs and services at Arkansas State University supporting these individuals to achieve their post military service goals.