Paws For A Cause to connect local vets with pets

Elisha Morrison
Staff Writer

Dogs from both the Benton and Bryant Animal Shelters will be available for adoption from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Saline County Fairgrounds during a veterans adoption event.

Russell Steed, founder of Paws For A Cause, said while the event will focus on connecting veterans with a pet or a potential service animal, anyone in the area is welcome to stop by and adopt a companion. He said the event will be family friendly with hot dogs available.

Steed is passionate about service dogs. As a veteran of the U.S. Navy and suffering from PTSD after being injured in the Persian Gulf, Steed believes his standard poodle, Sir Jasper, has made a big impact on his life.

He said he has gone from taking 30 pills a day to only eight, sleeps better, has lost weight and feels healthier. Jasper helps Steed get out of stressful situations. While he still has symptoms, Steed said since he has had Jasper these have decreased.

“I know what Jasper has done for me, and I want to give that to other vets,” Sneed said.

Sneed wants to get dogs into the hands of veterans to either be a new friend or to get training to be a legal service animal. He wants to keep other vets from attempting or thinking about suicide.

Sneed said one big way people can help vets is by contacting their congressman and asking them to vote on the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemen Act which will help with research into the benefits of service dogs for PTSD sufferers.

Dr. Bob Zepecki will be on hand Saturday to talk to veterans about the dogs and to give his information. After a dog has received 20 hours service training, Zepecki can then certify the animal.

Sneed said several trainers will be at the event as well.

Sponsors for the event are Koffee with a Kause, Nate’s Hog Dog Haven, Repchiees Italian Ice Cream, We Are the 22, American Legion, Arkansas Freedom Fund, Arvets and Petco.

To learn more about the event, call Steed at 501-408-9511.

Dogs are wonderful things,” Sneed added.