July 08, 2011

Media Advisory -- Meet ‘Teddy’ the Service Dog

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend a unique event next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale featuring a service dog that interacts with disabled veterans at the Marion Veteran's Administration Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Center.

“Teddy,” the nation’s first service dog assigned as a permanent staff member at a rehabilitation treatment center, will visit with student veterans at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13. The visits will take place in the SIUC Veterans’ Center, Woody Hall, room B258, and at Disability Support Services, Woody Hall, room B142. Student veterans at SIUC will be available for interviews and discuss how a service dog such as Teddy might have assisted them in their rehabilitation, said Kathleen Plesko, director of Disability Support Services said. Disability Support Services works with approximately 100 student veterans, she said.

During his visit, Teddy will interact with SIUC student veterans and staff and demonstrate some of the skills learned during his training, according to Kristen Amaya, SIUC Veteran’s Center coordinator.

Teddy was trained at “This Able Veteran,” a Carbondale-based not-for-profit organization whose goal is “to provide quality dogs, trained by experienced certified trainers, at no charge to veterans with psychological or physical injuries” resulting from their service to the country, according to the organization’s website. Behesha Doan, a certified dog trainer, founded both “This Able Veteran,” and “Extreme K-9.”

For more information about the event, contact Plesko at 618/453-5738 or Amaya at 618/453-1317.