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From now through Independence Day, "likes" on the Facebook page Dog Bless You will help provide up to one hundred service dogs to returning soldiers.
Filmmaker Charles Annenberg Weingarten,who is a Trustee of The Annenberg Foundation and founder of explore.org, came up with the idea as a way to celebrate patriotism and give people a free way to become involved. The Dog Bless USA challenge grant aims to spread awareness about the healing role dogs can play in the lives of those suffering from PTSD .
"Dogs are serving this country unlike any other animal: from the battlefields of war, to the front lines of search and rescue to the ranks of police and fire forces across this country to the everyday person in need of a companion," said Weingarten. "This campaign is to channel the energy of the dog community into the gift of unconditional love and healing that only a canine can provide. We want to raise awareness about the amazing role dogs can play in the lives of veterans and people who suffer from emotional and psychological damage, while giving everyone a chance to participate through a zero-cost contribution," said Weingarten.
For every 5,000 "likes" the Dog Bless You Facebook community page receives, Explore.org will donate a service dog to a recent war veteran, up to 100 dogs or $500,000.
The Dog Bless You page also provides a place where dog owners and advocates share pictures, videos and personal stories while rallying around the role of dogs that are involved in important causes. "The 'like' button is akin to putting your name on a card to those soldiers," Weingarten said. "We’re excited to foster a discussion among vets and dog lovers during the campaign."