San Diego Veterans Magazine August 2022

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Vol. 5 Number 8 • AUGUST 2022


DOG DAYS of Summer TRibute to service WORKING dogs




Strategies & Expectations



The Power of Pets

How Animals Can Improve Mental Wellness



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Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

David Koontz Midway Magic

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Barbara Eldridge Business For Veterans

CJ Machado SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Tana Landau, Esq.

www.S www. San anD Diego iegoV Veterans eteransM Magazine .com

Legally Speaking

Joe Molina Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Greetings and a warm welcome to San Diego Veterans Magazine!

Eve Nasby

Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. The Magazine focuses on San Diego resources, support, community, and inspiration for our veterans and the military families that keep it together.

Amber Robinson

Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians. The magazine is supported by a distinguishing list of San Diego veteran organizations, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. San Diego Veterans Magazine is a veterans magazine for veterans by veterans. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of San Diego Veterans Magazine.

Mike Miller Editor-In-Chief 4 / AUGUST 2022

What’s Next - Transitioning Arts & Healing

Paul Falcone Human Resources

Dr. Julie Ducharme Successful Transitioning Stories

*Guest Writers Includie Local & National Veteran Organizations, & Advocates San Diego Veterans Magazine 9528 Miramar Road, #41 San Diego, CA 92126

(858) 275-4281 San Diego Veterans Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 Midway Magic - USS Midway Museum 10 Calling All Veterans 12 Flashback - “Remembering Stu” 15 Veterans Association of North County 17 San Diego Veterans Coalition 18 Wolf Connection 22 Helping Paws 24 Canine Support Teams 26 Guide Dogs of America 28 Caregiving TLC: Courage and Service 29 History of Service Dogs 30 Shelter to Soldier 34 Flashback: Dogs Are Our Greatest Teachers 36 Dog Days of Summer 38 Real Talk: The Power of Pets 40 Military Transition Support 42 What’s Next: Your Transition 44 HR: Authentic Leadership 46 Successful Transitioning Stories 48 Business for Veterans 50 Legal Eagle: Corporate Compliance 52 Legally Speaking: Pet Custody Agreements 54 National Veterans Chamber of Commerce 56 A Life Recovered: The Comeback 61 Careers in Law Enforcement Quality Time (Front Cover) DOD Navy Petty Officer poses with her military working dog. Photo By: Taylor Curry, Navy / AUGUST 2022


FREE FREEConsultation Consultation Call us Call usto toget get started started (619) (619)7879-1839 789-1839 6 / AUGUST 2022 / MAY 2022


HONOR OUR VETERANS! Invest in the future of Miramar National Cemetery Hundreds of veterans, active duty military, families, businesses, and the public have invested in the future of Miramar National Cemetery. Thanks to their generous contributions The Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation sponsors: • Miramar National Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater • The Avenue of Flags • Veterans Tribute Tower & Carillon • Annual Veterans Memorial Services • Annual Veterans Day Observances • Coordinates Veterans Memorial Monuments

Honor our past, present, and future military veterans! Send your donation, today, to the Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation All contributions are fully tax deductible.

Help the Foundation Support Miramar National Cemetery. Please go to and click on “Donate Now” for information about how you can donate to the Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation. / AUGUST 2022


USS Midway Museum Is Forever Home for USS Midway Veterans It’s estimated that more than 200,000 officers and crew called the USS Midway home over her nearly five decades of naval service. Whether ship’s company or part of the embarked air wing, and regardless of when or how long they served, these individuals will always be known as “Midway Sailors.” Not long after the museum opened to the public in 2004, it was decided that an effort was needed to ensure that as many former Midway crewmembers as possible were welcomed back into the fold. The Midway Sailor program was born. The driving force behind the Midway Sailor program is Margaret Riggs, a museum volunteer for more than 18 years. Through this outreach program, Riggs and her small volunteer teamhave reconnected nearly 6,000 Midway veterans with the ship. “The program offers a complimentary membership to Midway veterans, helps plan special access to the museum during their visits, and provides them information about other resources of interest,” said Riggs, a retired biochemical genetic researcher. Riggs spent her career working in the department of pediatrics at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Joining the Midway team happened partly by chance. Her husband started as one of the museum’s first volunteers and brought her along to help. A choice she has never regretted. “I recognize that some civic organizations can only be created by the help and participation of volunteers,” said Riggs, who has amassed nearly 5,000 volunteer hours at the museum. “These organizations are 8 / AUGUST 2022

mission driven, charitable or non-profit groups formed to educate, beautify or create other intangible benefits for the community. They have a unique culture of service. The Midway Museum is such an organization.” One of the thousands of former Midway sailors reunited with the ship once it opened as a museum was Troy Prince, who spent three years on the ship from 1989 to 1991. “I loved serving on the Midway because of all the different places we visited,” said Prince, an aviation machinist’s mate with Electronic Attack Squadron 136 (VAQ-136), the carrier’s EA-6B Prowler squadron. “I liked being forward deployed to Japan.” Stepping back aboard Midway after nearly 15 years was a special moment for Prince. “When the Midway arrived in San Diego in January 2004, I was privileged to ride the ship across San Diego Bay to where she is today,” recalled Prince, who is now a volunteer researcher for the museum and started the website 24 years ago as a small tribute to the ship. “As we grow older, veterans tend to think more about their time in service. We remember experiences we had and places we went. We especially remember the friends we made and the people we met.” While Riggs also assists with several other volunteer programs at the museum, it’s the Midway Sailor program that is most gratifying. “My greatest satisfaction is helping these veterans relive their experiences aboard Midway and listening to their stories,” said Riggs. “Their military experience influenced our culture in interesting unforeseen ways. I also like working across departmental lines, learning about what other groups are doing as I assist in planning special experiences for them during their visits.” Rob Boyd served three years on Midway from 1973 to 1976 as an aviation structural mechanic with Attack Squadron 115 (VA-115), one of the ship’s A-6 Intruder squadrons. “It was the time of my life,” said Boyd, who joined the aerospace industry after leaving the Navy. “I was a troubleshooter on the flight deck. I also worked temporarily in the ship’s aircraft intermediate maintenance department.” For Boyd, returning to Midway, now as a volunteer docent, 30 years after serving aboard has been a lifechanging experience. “The reconnection must have been preordained,” said Boyd, who has been a docent for nearly 18 years and has logged more than 5,800 volunteer hours. “To serve yet again (on Midway) clarified the person over the thing. It defined my purpose and my ultimate destiny.” Few sailors are as fortunate as former Midway crewmembers to be able to remain associated to their ship once they’ve left the Navy. Most naval vessels, once they are decommissioned, are sold for scrap and forever exist only in the memories of those who served on them. The Midway Sailor program ensures the lifeline between the ship and her former crewmembers remains robust. “The Midway has always been a huge part of my life, both as a young man and now well into adulthood,” said Prince, who, as a museum researcher, volunteers remotely from his home in Minnesota. “Many Midway veterans still visit the ship. The assistance provided by the Midway Sailor Program is invaluable and helps make their visits unforgettable experiences. Midway veterans are grateful for the complimentary lifetime membership because it recognizes their time aboard.” Former USS Midway crewmembers can contact the museum at or at (619) 398-8272. For those interested in becoming a USS Midway Museum volunteer, more information along with the volunteer application can be found / AUGUST 2022


“CALLING ALL VIETNAM VETERANS!” By Holly Shaffner Honor Flight San Diego is back at it again with a SECOND all-Vietnam Veteran flight from San Diego to Washington, D.C.! The trip is scheduled for Nov. 4-6, 2022. The organization takes the most senior veterans (currently WWII and Korean War), and terminally ill veterans from any era on a three-day trip to visit the memorials built for their sacrifice, and to truly thank them for their service. Since 2010, they have taken over 1,500 veterans on their Honor Flight and now it’s time for our Vietnam Veterans! In February 2022, Honor Flight San Diego announced they will be taking the first Vietnam veteran flight from San Diego. The organization made it a unique flight with all Navy HA(L)-3 Seawolves. The Seawolves are the most decorated unit in Naval Aviation history, flew more daytime, nighttime, and combat missions than any other unit, and then were not recognized by Congress until 38 years after the Vietnam War. There will be about 85 Seawolves on the Sept. 30th trip to D.C. as they will visit the Vietnam Wall to honor 44 of their Seawolf brothers who were killed in action. Then, less than five weeks after the Honor Flight returns, they will be taking a SECOND all-Vietnam veteran flight. The second flight is called an “Award Flight” and this will be for Vietnam veterans who earned the Purple Heart Medal or higher while serving. With robust organizations in San Diego such as the

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Distinguished Flying Cross Society, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legions, there should be no lack of applications for this opportunity. While in Washington, D.C., veterans will visit the Lincoln, Korea, and Vietnam Memorials, as well as the Marine Corps and Air Force Memorial, the National Navy Museum, and Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Just like the other 1,500 veterans who have been on Honor Flight, they will be given the homecoming they may not have received after they returned from war as 800-1,000 patriotic San Diegans will welcome them home. There is a sense of urgency to get these veterans on their Honor Flight. The reality is that the youngest Vietnam veterans are in their mid-60s and the oldest are in their mid-80s, with many who served in two or three wars and are in their 90s. So, no better time to get our Nation’s heroes on their Honor Flight. More flights with Vietnam veterans are planned for 2023 (pending funding), so the org wants all Vietnam vets interested in traveling to get your application in! If you know a WWII, Korean, Vietnam, or terminally ill veteran from any era, ensure they complete an application at: Due to generous donors, the veterans travel at no cost to them – it is the least we can all do to say THANK YOU for your service!

Vietnam War Veterans We Want You! Honor Flight San Diego is looking for Vietnam Veterans to go on THEIR Honor Flight - Nov. 4-6, 2022!

This is the second Vietnam War era flight from San Diego and it will be an “Award Flight” Vietnam Veterans who earned a Purple Heart Medal or higher are eligible for this flight. The 3-day trip is to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built for their sacrifice, and to say THANK YOU for your service. There is no cost for the veteran. More flights for Vietnam Veterans are planned for 2023 (pending funding). For more information and to apply, go to: or email: / AUGUST 2022



“Remembering STU”

For this month’s “Flashback”, we want to pay tribute to a San Diego Veteran who impacted our community and gave so much to his country. We “Flashback” to December 2019 when U.S. Navy WWII Pearl Harbor Survivor Stu Hedley was our Veteran of the Month. Sadly, Stu passed away at 99-years-young on Aug. 4, 2021.

VETERAN OF THE MONTH San Diego - December 2019 By Holly Shaffner

Chief Petty Officer Stu Hedley, USN This month’s selectee is the Veteran of the Month; but he should be Veteran of the Decade. In honor of the 78th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, we select WWII veteran and Pearl Harbor Survivor Stuart “Stu” Hedley as the Veteran of the Month. Stu turned 98 years old in October and he can recount every detail from December 7th, 1941 like it was yesterday.

The time was 0755 and he was stationed on the battleship USS West Virginia. Stu was looking forward to going on a picnic with a girl and her mom that day but instead he witnessed hundreds of Japanese bombers invading Pearl Harbor on a sleepy Sunday morning. Over the intercom, he heard “away the fire and rescue party” and he made his way to the weather decks. Out on deck, he saw the barrage of enemy planes striking the battleships. A Japanese bomber flew so close that he could see the enemy air crew laughing as they fired their weapons and dropped torpedoes into the harbor. One of the USS West Virginia officers yelled, “Battle Stations on the double!” and Seaman First Class Hedley ran to Gun Turret #3 where he was the gun pointer for the 16-inch gun. Once there, he could hear the machine bullets striking the turret and could feel the torpedoes hitting the ship. The West Virginia took hits from six torpedoes and two bombs, one bomb landed near Stu’s battle station. He is here today to tell his story because that bomb did not explode. Eleven other men in the turret next to him were not as fortunate as they all perished. 12 / AUGUST 2022

During the attack, Stu and his shipmate wanted to see what was happening outside, so they opened their periscope cap and he watched in horror as the USS Arizona was struck. “I saw the explosions and bodies being thrown in the air,” said Hedley. He and his shipmate knew they had to get out on deck and when they did, he saw the USS West Virginia was listing 15 degrees and he thought the ship would capsize. He watched the USS Oklahoma capsize and they knew they had to get off the ship. The ship was moored outboard of the USS Tennessee and they had to figure out how to board the battleship. Stu watched as fellow sailors were being killed as they tried to use lines to cross over to the ship. He saw the barrel of one of the ships guns extending over the ship, so he and his buddy ran across it and jumped on to the Tennessee. Stu is a man of deep religious faith and he told his buddy, “If I don’t die today, I will see the end of the war.” Once onboard the Tennessee, they were instructed to get to shore. Between the ship and shore were flames shooting up about 30 feet off the water from the burning petroleum. Stu stripped down to his skivvies and he and his buddy jumped feet first into the water. They swam as far as they could under water and came up twice through the burning flames to get air. “It was the hottest breath of air I have ever taken,” said Hedley. They reached the beach as the USS West Virginia sank into the mud. They were taken to the base dispensary and since they were not wounded, they were given ointment, sulfa and morphine and told to render care to injured men. At about 0925 Stu saw an enemy plane making a bombing run and he yelled “Duck!” The enemy plane dropped a bomb in the center of the dispensary. Stu’s near brushes with death did not end there. The West Virginia was being refloated and repaired so he was reassigned to the USS San Francisco which was ordered to the Battle of Guadalcanal.

This was another fierce battle and again Stu found himself assigned to a gun turret. The San Francisco sustained major damage and 236 men lost their lives, including his best friend, Johnny Anderson. Stu tells the story of being tasked with helping the ship’s doctor identify bodies, including coming upon the dismembered body of Johnny. After 13 combat engagements and 20 years of service, Stu retired as Chief Petty Officer. Even though he loved the Navy, he knew that it was time to go so that younger sailors had the opportunity to advance.

He served in leadership positions and was the President when they closed the chapter due to his brothers passing away. At 98 years young and in his “free” time, he is an accomplished speaker often speaking to children and community groups. He estimates that he has educated over 200,000 people about the horrific events of December 7th. He says that in today’s history books, there is barely a paragraph talking about the attacks on Pearl Harbor. He tells the students to “stay in school” and “learn to love one another”. His advice for everyone is simple – “set goals and stick with them” and “be committed to what you are doing”. This is great advice from a member of our Greatest Generation. On this December 7th, Stu will be back in Pearl Harbor. He knows firsthand the sacrifices our nation made on that fateful day. “I will be there to honor those who didn’t make it and to pray for families who lost their loved one,” Hedley said about this year’s remembrance. Stu does not think he is a hero, but we do. He is an American treasure and we are glad that he is here today to share his story with us.

Photo by Zach Coco “Pictures for Heroes”

Stu was married to his bride Wanda and had five children. They would take a trip every five years to celebrate their marriage and for the 25th anniversary, they went back to Hawaii. As they were taking a tour boat into the harbor, Stu had flashbacks of the enemy planes. He could hear and see the planes remembered all the sounds and smells. His wife asked what was going on and for the first time Stu told her that he was there on December 7, 1941. Stu and Wanda were married for 64 years when she passed away. After her death, Stu wanted to dedicate the rest of his life to serving others. He serves the community through his church and was an active member of the local Pearl Harbor

Stuart Noble Hedley Chief Petty Officer U.S. Navy Retired October 21, 1921 - August 4, 2021 / AUGUST 2022


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Welcome to the Veterans Association of North County HERE FOR YOU WHEN YOU NEED US Here you will find several resources, programs, services and opportunities for Veterans, Service Members and their families. Our goal is to be your one stop shop for all things, so don’t hesitate to contact us at any time. Programs and services vary, and include additional information for each. We have two Veteran Services Representatives (VSR) here at VANC, read all about them below in Addtional Services at: ( OUR MISSION VANC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created and operated by Veterans as a one-stop resource center for all active-duty military, Veterans, and their families. We centralize services from diverse agencies to assist with jobs, education, finances, health, and wellness. OUR VISION We seek to honor and support those who have served our country, bridging the past, present, and future. VANC is a vibrant gathering place in North San Diego County, where all Veterans, active-duty military, and their loved ones can reach out for help and community. VANC engages and informs local Veterans organizations, service providers, and individuals, helping them work together. VANC seeks to be a model for other organizations that serve the military community. JOIN US FOR AMAZING UPCOMING EVENTS There’s always engaging things happening at VANC and with our partners. Check our calendar here for regularly scheduled events, meetings and opportunities here at VANC ( WE LOVE OUR ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND THEY’RE HERE FOR YOU TOO. VANC is open to all military, veterans and friends of the military. If you would like to become a Veterans Association member, Contact Lori at to learn more. / AUGUST 2022

15 Career Resources Available Now Hiring Management and Direct Service Positions - 16 / AUGUST 2022

Serving Veterans and their Families! The San Diego Veterans Coalition was organized in 2009 and using the Collective Impact Model, SDVC is a premier San Diego County-wide monthly convener of over 160 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies. The Collective Impact Model is based on leveraging relationships with other veteran and family serving organizations so that we may provide veterans and their families with a complete array of services and other opportunities. The purpose of the San Diego Veterans Coalition (SDVC) is to serve the needs of San Diego regional Veterans, their families and significant others. We intend to improve collaboration and coordination among community service providers so that delivery of services is more comprehensive and Veteran Family-centric. The vision of the SDVC is to honor the nation’s commitment to veterans, their families and significant others by leading collaboration among all potential partners, making the San Diego region a national model for a comprehensive, integrated system of community services. The SDVC is a catalyst that inspires collaboration and cooperation among service partners to deliver premier support for Veterans in the San Diego region. At the SDVC we have found that collaboration is the key to addressing the needs of San Diego Veterans, their families and significant others. We have four Action Groups:



• Physical and Emotional Health Action Group (PEH) • Family Life Action Group (FLAG) • Veterans: Empowered, Successful, and Thriving Action Group (VEST) • Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship Action Group (E3) Through these Action Groups we are identifying gaps and creating measurable outcomes to resolve them. These groups are made up of our members and together we are working to strengthen our community.








C o n n e c t i o n

Situated on 165 beautiful acres in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest, the Wolf Connection is home to over 30 rescued wolves and wolf-dogs.

Teo Alfero is the founder of the Wolf Connection sanctuary and creator of Wolf Therapy®, a program that empowers individuals dealing with psychological and emotional pain, addiction, and trauma using the human-wolf bond. San Diego Veterans Magazine had the chance to chat with Teo and his team about the revolutionary therapy they offer and the remarkable work this charity is doing with female Veterans.

Teo Alfero & Raven

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SDVM: What inspired you to begin Wolf Connection? Teo: I embarked onto my journey with the wolves through a combination of both types of initiations – I was both prepared and ambushed. One of the most unexpected and most beautiful events, which changed the course of my life, came in the form of a wolfdog pup named Tala, which is Sioux for “wolf.” She and I met in December 2007 when she was six weeks old. I was a busy man, coaching and doing interventions for teens and their families in Los Angeles and also helping to lead Tensegrity workshops around the world. I was teaching in the Safe School Ambassadors program, a violenceprevention and anti-bullying curriculum for students at schools all across the United States. I didn’t feel like I had time to give her but she had other ideas.

She was eight weeks old when I brought her home and suddenly I was a single dad to a destructive chewing -at wolf intensity- peeing machine pup. Beautiful white and gray Tala rode in the passenger seat of the car and went with me everywhere. Everyone from the teller at the bank to the cashier at the grocery store knew her. She became a central part of my youth coaching work, and all my clients wanted to spend time with her. SDVM: When did you open Wolf Connection? Teo: In 2009, I was looking for a new direction to my youth coaching and empowerment program. I had been mentoring young men through outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and rock climbing and wanted a more powerful way to engage young people from all backgrounds, to get them to open up, find their own voice, and to trust and reconnect with who they are. I was also looking for a playmate for Tala. Not only did I find a partner for Tala, a handsome, year-old, gray and brown wolfdog named Wyoh, I met 16 wolves and wolfdogs. The pack had been rescued by Tia Torres, star of the TV show “Pit Bulls and Parolees,” and she was caring for them at Villalobos Rescue Center, a refuge and adoption operation, she had founded.

Teo & Tala

My heart opened fully when I met this pack. I could not leave them. I began volunteering and visiting them twice a week to brush, leash-train, walk and run with them. I was in heaven. After three months of volunteering, I was chatting with Tia, when I said, “You know, all my life, I’ve wanted to start a wolf sanctuary”. To this day, I don’t know where that came from, starting a wolf sanctuary was never in my mind, but I was sincere, and those words felt true. I realized I would take care of these 16 wolves for the rest of their lives and Tia said, “Okay, I’ll help you.” And she did. I was clueless. Tia helped me understand dogs and wolves and taught me the ropes of animal rescue. She offered fundraising ideas. At her suggestion, I launched the first “Full Moon Hike with Wolves.” The plan was people would come to the sanctuary during the evening, bringing food to share potluck style. We’d give a presentation followed by a hike with the animals under the moonlight. 70 people showed up for the first full moon hike. We raised our first few dollars and found the first volunteers who stepped up to help take care of the pack. I didn’t have a website, a team, a plan, or even a name, but I was never alone caring for the animals again. On Tala’s terms, Wolf Connection was born.

Neo Continued on next page > / AUGUST 2022


SDVM: How do the wolves come to you? Teo: We provide sanctuary for wolves and wolfdogs in captivity whose lives are threatened by illegal ownership, abandonment, and abuse. Since they are illegal to own, wolves who escape or end up at a shelter are euthanized within days if unable to be rescued by a sanctuary. Some of our wolves come from fur farms that have been shut down. At Wolf Connection, we offer an enriching space for each member of our wolf pack to be seen and supported in a way that is consistent with their unique presence. In turn, the wolves have the opportunity to form trusting bonds with other wolves and humans, giving life a second chance. The Wolf Connection is a 100% rescue organization and we hold true and steadfast to the highest integrity with respect to our programming, safety, and animal care.

a powerful doorway into the development of strong individuals and productive societies. The WolfConnection® Ranch in Acton, CA is where our signature Wolf Therapy® programs offer healing and recovery. We offer programs via Wolf Therapy® to at-risk youth including those in foster care and the probation system. We also work with veterans, formerly incarcerated adults, and others seeking trauma-informed healing. SDVM: You recently did a program for female Veterans. How did that evolve?

SDVM: Can you talk about the programs you offer at Wolf Connection?

Teo: Wolf Connection participated in a program called Transforming LA, funded by Community Partners and with the Department of Mental Health. We used a portion of the funding to partner with Military and Veteran Affairs to offer a cutting edge 8 Session Resiliency Program specifically designed for Women Veterans where they learned self-regulation and resiliency strategies.

WC Team: Wolf Connection successfully integrates the teachings of the wolves with therapeutic, evidencebased practice. We believe that the deep understanding of our relationship with animals and the environment is

The program was run by Dr. Amanda Beer and was incredibly powerful for the women, who used the opportunity to connect and heal. We are seeking additional funding to continue this critical work.

Veterans Visit Wolf Connection

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SDVM: You are having an expansion program. How will that change Wolf Connection? Teo: Wolf Heart Ranch is a sanctuary for both humans and animals that are seeking healing and hope. The new development being built will follow the wild life preserve model more than the traditional animal rescue model and will provide more space for the wolves and program participants as well as allowing us to rescue more wolves. This includes multiple runs that emulate their natural habitat ranging from 1-7 acres. The design minimizes the presence of the chain link fence and gives an open plan experience for all. We also have plans for a state-of-the-art veterinary facility, which will provide care for our wolf pack residents on-site. This is a $1.5 million dollar project and we have raised one third. SDVM: What is next for Wolf Connection? Teo: Wolf Connection currently serves around 2500 individuals per year via our programs and immersive experiences at Wolf Heart Ranch. In 2022, we are launching the Wolf Connection Academy, a global platform making the magic of Wolf Therapy available far beyond the ranch, allowing us to serve over 30,000 participants in the next three years. For more information visit: For more information about Teo Alfero visit:

Annie / AUGUST 2022


A Marine’s Best Friend


By Hannah Jaime


Sgt. Terrance O’Neil (Ret.) knew he would have to say goodbye to his 16-year-old best friend some day, but he was not prepared to do so a few months ago.

All too often, troops who are willing to pay the ultimate price cannot afford unexpected veterinary bills.We help keep military families united with their pets by providing low and no-cost veterinary care for service members and veterans in need. Without us, a lot of southern California vets would face the heartbreaking decision of premature relinquishment, or worse yet, economic euthanasia. Since 2013, our 501(c) (3) has helped more than 2,680 military pets. Fundraising is an ongoing battle because veterinary bills add up fast. WE’VE WAITED TWO YEARS FOR THIS:

His marriage was in disrepair, but Patrick provided solace during the divorce. Then, a heartsick O’Neil learned he could lose his service dog too. Cancer threatened to rip Patrick away if a mammary tumor was not removed immediately. “He’s my best friend and has been with me through all the ups and downs,” the Marine Corps veteran explained. He has withstood a lot. O’Neil holds his head high, but his heart, body and mind are riddled with the lingering horrors of war. The brave Marine dauntlessly invaded Iraq in 2004 and later survived an IED blast. It was one of three combat tours he endured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The courageous warrior also completed 1,261 sea service days. He was forced to medically separate in 2011, and his loyal dog has been his shadow ever since. “He alerts me to the onset of extreme migraines, among other tasks,” he explained. “I would do anything for him.” Being unable to help Patrick was gut-wrenching. Disabilities prevent O’Neil from working, so he could not afford the $2,800 procedure. The once unstoppable Marine felt helpless because he could not save his best friend, so he turned to Helping Paws. We are a small nonprofit with a staff of one, and it was a large amount for us to take on. 22 / AUGUST 2022

COVID-19 took a toll on our charity. We lost key supporters, and our annual fundraiser was canceled. After a two-year wait, we can come together in person aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Helping Paws’ 7th Annual Fundraiser will be September 10, 2022 at San Onofre’s Historic Beach Club. The oceanfront ballroom offers stunning views of the Pacific. Guests will enjoy dinner, drinks and a live auction. Please join us! Foundation information availble at the following links: SAN DIEGO GIVES: Two days prior is another reason to celebrate. Helping Paws is among 327 local nonprofits taking part in an effort to #givelocal. On Sept. 8, our community will unite for the second annual San Diego Gives. The 24 hours of philanthropy will shine a light on the tremendous work local nonprofits are doing. We are proud to be one of the 14 organizations behind this effort to strengthen San Diego. Unity can be a powerful tool in our county’s arsenal. Together, we can deploy compassion in a way that makes a difference for military families in need. When you donate to Helping Paws, you are helping veterans and animals; that’s 1 donation supporting 2 causes! THE NEED: San Diego is home to the world’s largest military population. While pets are part of the family, the military does not cover veterinary care.

Many vets are plagued by post-war battles. Some say 22 veterans a day take their own lives. More recent studies say 16.8 or 20, but one is too many. Some vets have told me they would have become a statistic without our help. THE IMPACT: Pets are a source of comfort for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, depression and anxiety. A dog’s unconditional love can have a profound impact. Patrick helped quiet a harrowing storm in O’Neil’s heart more than once. “He’s like a calming, soothing teddy bear,” he explained. ”Like Lionel with his blanket; he’s just been there for me.”

Terrance & “Patrick”

Despite the big bill, Helping Paws stepped in to keep that bond intact. We did a Facebook fundraiser, and our selfless supporters contributed. Dr. Bulliard of Mohnacky Animal Hospitals gave a generous discount, and Antech Diagnostics donated the biopsy and urinalysis. Together, we kept Patrick from crossing the rainbow bridge before his time. “It means the world to me,” O’Neil said. He might not fully shake the iron-clad clutches of war, but he is grateful to be moving forward with his battle buddy at this side. As an army of one, I rely on community support. Thanks to all who helped me save Patrick, and other military pets. I could not do this without you. You can contact me at / AUGUST 2022


For the first 18 months of the dog’s life, CST’s volunteer Puppy Raisers socialize the puppy with as many outings and experiences as possible (e.g., restaurants, stores, and shopping centers, using public transportation, processing through TSA security). The exposure and experiences are critical in helping potential service dogs become confident, calm, and focused amid distractions while “on the job” with their future clients. Puppies also complete basic obedience classes under the direction of our trainers, receiving American Kennel Club Star Puppy and American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certificates.

For military veterans suffering from physical and psychological disabilities, recovery and healing can be challenging, particularly as it relates to their access to quality jobs, education, and other social functions. Yet, relief and assistance can be found in an unlikely place— the unwavering bond between human and animal. In 2012, Canine Support Teams, Inc. (CST) launched the Providing Assistance Dogs to the Brave Men and Women (PAWZ) program. PAWZ was established to address the increasing number of men and women who, after serving our country in the United States military, require a service dog. This program directly connects expertly trained service dogs with disabled veterans throughout the U.S. to support their personal, social, and occupational independence. Since its founding in 1989, CST has served more than 300 veteran families in gratitude for their service to our country. At no cost to the recipients, CST trains service dogs to support disabled veterans who are seeking enhanced mobility, independence, and companionship. The CST staff and volunteers work hard to ensure that the average wait time to match a dog and client is only 12-18 months, as compared to the industry standard of three to five years. Whether their disability is obvious or invisible, CST is committed to helping veterans reclaim their independence. The Service Dog Journey Volunteer Puppy Raisers and professional CST Trainers spend two years raising, providing medical care, and expertly training dogs to assist qualified veterans with disabilities in their everyday lives.

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Dogs then enter CST’s unique Prison Pup Program for Advanced Training, the longest-standing prisonbased service dog training program in the nation. In partnership with California Institute for Men and California Institute for Women in Chino, CA, CST Trainers work with carefully vetted Inmate Trainers on a weekly basis. Using Operant Conditioning, which places emphasis on recognizing and working with the dog’s temperament to motivate it to perform a given task, dogs learn the specific service dog tasks needed to support their veteran client (e.g., walking with and beside a wheelchair or walker, retrieving dropped items, turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, pressing elevator buttons, pulling off socks and sweaters, and barking to alert for help in emergencies). Upon completing Advanced Training, the dog is matched with their veteran-handler and intensive Team Training takes place at the CST facility in Murrieta, CA, over a ten-day period. The training covers obedience, public access, and task training, including Basic Service Dog and Public Access Laws (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and associated regulations), as well as the veteran’s rights with regards to their service dog and how to respond when questioned or denied access to accommodations, employment, housing and the like. Additionally, there are workshops on dog behavior, training philosophies and techniques; First Aid and health care for dogs; having a service dog in home and work environments; and integrating the service dog into the client’s daily life and his/her family life. Upon completion of the training, the dog and veteran will have passed the Assistance Dogs International (ADI) standardized Public Access Certification Test (PACT). Throughout Team Training, CST staff (several of whom are veterans themselves) are sensitive to the physical and mental challenges the veteran clients face. Each trainer is patient, kind, encouraging, and supportive to ensure the best experience for each veteran client.

A Lifelong Connection The placement of a dog with a veteran is just the beginning of their journey. CST is honored to offer veterans complete access to CST’s expert training staff for the “working life” of their partner-dog. In the early is paramount to help acclimate the dog to their new environment and relieve any stress felt by the veteran, their family, and/or the dog. Michael & If there are ever any issues or concerns, CST Charlie trainers schedule a time for an in-person individualized training to get them on track. The CST staff often forms lasting relationships with their veteran clients and are thrilled to receive pictures and videos of the wonderful experiences the veterans are having with their service dog.

Michael &


Client Spotlight Michael Mileham was born in London in 1947. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1953 and would eventually serve in the Vietnam Michael & War. For his service and sacrifice, Michael was PJ Nurse Dog presented with three Purple Hearts, and is the only British subject to receive this solemn distinction. Upon return to civilian life, and thanks to the GI Bill, Michael enrolled in the LACC Film Program. He eventually started a production company that made documentaries, industrial films, and music videos. Michael has had a very successful, award-winning career working with artist like Dolly Parton, The Beatles, Elliott Gould, Michelle Pfeiffer, and the Monty Pythons, to name a few. Michael became a member of the CST family in the early 2000s, and recently received his third service dog, Angel, through CST’s PAWZ program. “Michael is grateful to Canine Support Teams for providing him with three beautiful service dogs. Each dog who has supported him have truly enriched his life,” says his wife Marilyn Mileham. Now retired in in Joshua Tree, California, Michael, his wife, and Angel enjoy visiting art museums, photography, traveling, and getting out into nature. Angel has helped Michael to not only navigate each of his favorite activities, but also to enjoy the constant companionship his service dog provides.

“We take great pride in every dog that we are able to partner with a veteran in need,” says Carol Roquemore, Founder and CEO. “We are able to do this because of our generous donors, caring Puppy Raisers, and our hardworking staff and prison trainers.” To learn how you can assist Canine Support Teams through advocacy, volunteering, or financial support, visit If you are or know a veteran who may benefit from a service dog, please email / AUGUST 2022


Because of Proxie… By Messina I received Proxie one month ago, and she has impacted almost every aspect of my life. For starters, I improved my self-care habits for the first time since my injuries. Having Proxie encourages me to work towards a healthy morning and evening routine. These new routines dramatically improve my ability to get out of bed in the morning and sleep peacefully at night. Proxie helps me with many chores when I am struggling physically. Her presence motivates me to keep trying until I complete the task at hand. She helps me bring in the groceries, change the laundry, and take out the trash. When I take out the trash, she pushes open the heavy door to the backyard that I previously struggled with. Proxie helps me avoid pain by picking up the things I drop and also

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retrieving items like my phone, the remote, and my bag; this means I do not have to stand back up when I need to rest my legs longer. toitems like my phone, the remote, and my bag; this means I do not have to stand back up when I need to rest my legs longer. rest my legs longer. When I am in too much pain, feel nervous in social situations, or become stressed, she performs comforting deep pressure therapy. During my infusion therapy treatments, Proxie helped manage my pain and stress by doing her “snuggle,” “focus,” and “between” commands. She’s also fantastic at interrupting before I even recognize that I am feeling socially anxious or pain is building to the point that I need to take medication. She does this by nudging me when I start shaking my legs. Because of Proxie, I now do much more physical therapy at home because I make it a game with her. Furthermore, our walks help

me to do vestibular physical therapy more regularly because of the head-turning that occurs while walking. Last summer, I suffered my most severe neurological attack ever, which caused significant muscle atrophy. Having Proxie has helped me regain all of the muscle in my legs that I lost. With Proxie, this past month, I participated in life at a higher level than I ever have since becoming this ill. I regained interest in past hobbies. I traveled independently (accompanied by Proxie) on public transportation for the first time in years. We visited family out of town, went on many walks outside, and I discontinued multiple medications. She also helps me interact with others when we are in public by waving and bowing; this is a great way for me to have short, positive interactions with strangers. Because of her, I have begun to socialize with my family and neighbors more. Because of Proxie, I feel a wider range of emotions than I was capable of before. I feel my detachment lessening and my capacity for normal emotions increasing. Because of Proxie, I am starting to feel joy again.

RAISE A PUPPY... CHANGE A LIFE! Open your home and your heart, to a future service dog in-training

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Text “PUPPY” to 51555 Guide Dogs of America Messina & Proxie

Or Call: (818) 362-5834 / AUGUST 2022



Courage and Service Chips, a German Shepard mix, is the only animal to receive the Purple Heart Medal. Man’s best friend for sure, Chips helped his squadron capture 10 Italians during World War II leading to his receiving the Purple Heart for this courageous and heroic deed. The Purple Heart Medal is the oldest military decoration on record, originating in 1780 as the Fidelity Medallion by the Continental Congress. In 1782, President George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, which later became known as the Purple Heart, stating its purpose as:

“to cherish a virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military Merit…whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear…over his left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth…Not only instances of unusual gallantry but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service…shall be met with a due award.” After Chips, the German Shepard mix, received his Purple Heart Medal, it was never awarded to another animal according to multiple news sources. Animals are recognized for their heroic actions while serving with military men and women by the nonprofit organization, American Humane, based in Washington, D.C.


Sergeant Stubby

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In addition to awarding well-deserved medals to the animals assisting our active service men and women, this and many other organizations nationwide offer a service dog program to those military personnel needing additional assistance. As our veterans transition back to civilian life, a specially trained service animal can assist them with things like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), anxiety reduction, seizure detection, as well as many other medical conditions. These service animals are trained in everything from maneuvering obstacles and tricky terrains, detecting and protecting those with seizure disorders, and interrupting PTSD-related night terrors to working within military healthcare facilities, visiting patients to provide comfort, emotional support, and to enhance the healing process. So, hats off to all our service members – past and present – with a special thank you to those men and women who received the Purple Heart Medal for courageously and unselfishly putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure our freedoms endure today. A special thanks goes out to our four-legged service members who stand next to our military men and women, ready and willing to serve their country, regardless of the dangers they may face - Chips, Sergeant Stubby (bull terrier mutt, WWI ), Rags (mixed breed terrier, WWI), and Staff Sergeant Reckless (war horse, Korean War) serve as honorable examples. And last but certainly not least, a salute to the countless other service animals who assist our veterans through service and companionship.


Staff Sergeant Reckless

THE HISTORY OF SERVICE DOGS Have you ever wondered about the first service dogs? Who trained them and what types of tasks did they perform? Were dogs considered “family members” as they are today? Or were they nothing more than tools? We thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at the history of service dogs and how their roles evolved over time. DOGS AS COMPANIONS Nobody knows exactly when dogs and humans first forged their inseparable bonds. The oldest dog ever found was a perfectly preserved puppy found frozen in the permafrost in the Far East. Scientists estimate its age to be about 12000 years old. We know that Ancient Egyptians kept both cats and dogs and valued them enough to take them along into the afterlife. Dog mummies have been found from as early as the sixth century B.C. and in Peru, a burial place dating back to 900 A.D. holds individual plots for both dogs and their owners. The evidence is strong that dogs have played an important role in men’s lives for a very long time. EVIDENCE OF DOGS AS SERVICE ANIMALS When, though, did dogs first begin to help those with disabilities? One of the first known references to service dogs is found in Ancient Rome. Frescoes depict blind men being led by dogs and Ancient Chinese scrolls talk of the same. In America, one of the first well-known seeing eye dogs made history in 1928. Buddy and his blind owner, Morris Frank, publicly demonstrated how his dog could guide the visually impaired by having him navigate a busy New York intersection. Since then, guide dogs have been publicly accepted and sought for those with vision problems.

As time went on, dogs became companions for autistic children and soldiers suffering PTSD. Today, a service dog can be trained for all manner of tasks. • Recognizing the onset of seizures. • Notification of blood sugar issues. • Stability and many others. But, the role of the modern service dog wasn’t really defined until the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. That particular law was written to prohibit discrimination based on disabilities, but it also defined the rights of service dogs. The ADA defines service dogs (or animals) as being TRAINED to perform tasks for a person with disabilities. They are not just companions, though they also fill that role. Service dogs are caregivers, nurses, and assistants. SERVICE DOG LAWS Today, the role of “service dog” has broadened to the point that new laws are required. Whereas it was once understood, that a service dog was trained to execute a specific task, people will now try to take untrained animals into public access areas. These dogs are often for emotional support as opposed to being trained to perform physical tasks. For those who have invested time and money in their trained? service dogs, this can present a source of frustration. HOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TRAINED SERVICE DOGS For anyone wanting more information on how to acquire a trained service dog or how you can train your own dog to become one, please feel free to contact us.

THE MODERN SERVICE DOG It wasn’t until the 1960’s that service dogs for those other than the blind began to be trained and recognized. For the hearing impaired, dogs could signal a crying baby, a telephone, or the sound of sirens.

White Mountain College for Pets (603) 536-4219 / AUGUST 2022


Boeing Gifts Rescue Dogs a New Purpose While Supporting Veterans Through Grants Supporting Nonprofit Organization Shelter to Soldier by Eva M. Stimson The Boeing Company has enabled the non-profit organization, Shelter to Soldier, to administer relief to multiple post-9/11 U.S. veterans through their financial contributions beginning in 2020 to present day. According to Shelter to Soldier Vice-President, Kyrie’ Bloem, “Boeing first sponsored our psychiatric service dog training program for veterans and then proceeded to fund our Canine Ambassadors program through their community grant in 2021. Throughout our continual partnership, we have been able to fund four psychiatric service dog/veteran teams and six Shelter to Soldier Canine Ambassador therapy dogs. We are extremely grateful for their support, and we continue to serve our veteran recipients with Boeing’s assistance.” The non-profit mission of Shelter to Soldier (STS) is to adopt dogs from local shelters and rescue organizations, then train them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Military Sexual Trauma (MST). The program also provides emotional support animals to active-duty military and veterans and deploys their STS Canine Ambassadors therapy dog team to provide visits of love and support to local military, veterans and their families. On average, we lose 20 US veterans to suicide every day and approximately 1,800 dogs are euthanized daily in our country. These staggering statistics inspire the entire STS team to do all they can do to support those served by the STS program, both canine and human. The program is committed to their efforts in “Saving Lives, Two at a Time.”™ USMC veteran Peter remarks of his experience with Shelter to Soldier service dog, Kobe, who was adopted from San Diego Department of Animal Services and sponsored by Boeing. “Living with Post Traumatic Stress is like walking through [the] Los Angeles International airport with a broken foot while carrying a sleeping child in a car seat and three carry-on bags. It hurts terribly and you don’t know if you can make it... and then a guy in a golf cart drives up behind you and says, “You look like you need a ride.” Kobe, the Wonder Dog is that golf cart driver.

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Now not only do I know that I can make it, but it’s also fun sitting in the cart! Dogs are such special animals but Kobe truly is a perfect match for me. His playful, silly disposition keeps me smiling all day. His vigilant dedication to me makes me feel safe. His empathic nurturing character is medicine to my wounded soul. My life would be a darker and more painful place without the priceless support of Shelter to Solider and their amazing partners. Thank you, Shelter, to Soldier and Boeing for providing Kobe with a home and a purpose for which he is uniquely qualified, and for providing me with medicine so unique and perfect it must have been made in Heaven’s pharmacy.” USMC Veteran Kelly Yawt, who also received a psychiatric service dog from Shelter to Soldier expresses her positive experience, “I didn’t know what a difference a [STS] service dog would make in my life until I met Jagger (adopted from Labs and More rescue in San Diego). Jagger truly has saved me in every way a person can be saved. He has helped me gain confidence and supported me to overcome my fears and start living again. Whether it’s going to the physical gym filled with people, leaving my house because I no longer fear going to the gas station, or actually pursing my dreams and passions because I am no longer living in solitude.

Jagger has saved me in so many ways. Thank you [STS] for helping change my life for the better and I cannot wait to see what Jagger and I accomplish as a team.” Tommy Moore, STS Community and Veteran Outreach Representative elaborates, “Boeing’s amazing sponsorship of five current and two-in-training therapy dog teams through Shelter to Soldiers’ Canine Ambassador program has brought love, therapy, and education to the Veteran and general community of Southern California. Whether it’s to the fans of the San Diego Padres at Gallagher Square on Sundays, or at a Veterans Center for PTSD support groups, these dogs and their handlers show the true meaning of love and support.”

“Boeing is committed to uplifting our military veterans and their families. We are proud to support organizations like Shelter to Soldier that serve our military and veteran community as a valuable resource to assist with their transition and integration back to civilian life.” “The needs of our veterans vary and it is important to find alternative ways to guide our veterans to recovery and healing in a positive and impactful way — allowing them to be the best versions of themselves.” - Kristie Hernández, Senior Government & Community Relations Specialist for The Boeing Company

Veterans are provided service dogs through the Shelter to Soldier program free of charge thanks to the support of the community, and grants like Boeing’s that make a life-saving difference for veterans. To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, call 760-870-5338 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility.

San Diego Veteran Resources

Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, but San Diego Veterans Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone. At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs.

San Diego Veteran Resources & organizations available at:

San Diego Veterans Magazine A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans / AUGUST 2022






JOIN US H SATURDAY, AUGUST 20 H AT NTC PARK AT LIBERTY STATION FOR THE CARRY FORWARD® 5K SAN DIEGO EVENT This is a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly fundraising event that puts the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) mission in motion to honor and empower wounded warriors. CHECK-IN BEGINS 7 AM



The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe


Saturday, August 13, 2022

Be Light

5:00 pm: Registration and Meet & Greet 5:30 - 9 pm: Be the Light Gala





Join us...

for an evening under the stars at the breathtaking Inn at Rancho Santa Fe where guests will enjoy live music, exquisite small bites and seated dinner, exciting silent and live auctions by Clint Bell, and memorable moments with service dog trainees and graduated veteran/service dog teams. Be the Light for veterans and shelter dogs served by the Shelter to Soldier service dog training program as we expand our impact and continue “Saving Lives, Two at a Time™.”

Sponsors, tickets and table reservations: / AUGUST 2022



- Dogs Are Our Greatest Teachers My name is Lance Weir and I have received three service dogs from Canine Companions for Independence®. Sharing my story over the past few years has become a big part of my life. A story of tragedy and triumph and the 26 years that fit in-between. Lance & Elijah

On August 7, 1993 I was 21 years old, a Marine Reservist, and had just months earlier joined my college football program in hopes of making the team as a walk on. The outdoors, adventure, adrenaline and physical exertion is what I needed; it’s what I felt I was made for. On August 8, after leaning into a river headfirst to retrieve a ball cap, I struck a rock which resulted in paralysis not only in my legs but most of my arms. Instantaneously I lost everything that mattered at the time. Depression started immediately and ultimately lead to years of addiction and thoughts of suicide. Thankfully I was able to win those battles and ultimately found the life I had always dreamed of. I feel so blessed and so thankful on most days that I truly feel like the luckiest guy on earth. You may be asking how? Because of a dog.

In 2004 I received my first service dog, a black Lab/ Golden cross named Satine. When I arrived on the Canine Companions for Independence campus, I had no idea what to expect. My expectations on anything had grown low and who was to prove to me that this would be any different. What I was hoping for was the chance to regain a small piece of my independence back. Asking for help over the simplest things like picking up a remote, a phone or a piece of paper had demoralized me. Not only did Satine give me back some of that independence, she would ultimately give me a second chance at life. I know I would not be here today if it were not for Satine. The responsibility I felt for her gave me hope on the spot, and before Satine and I had even graduated I knew that I wanted to be a part of what “we” were experiencing and vowed to myself I would come back. In an instant my life had flipped. I began to say yes instead of no. I began to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. In two years, I would finally finish college and move from Arkansas to California to work for Canine Companions. Expectations were met and then some. Because of that experience 16 years ago, not only am I alive, but I have been lucky enough to do the things I had once thought were lost and even do new things. New experiences like working with my second service dog Auggie, a black Lab that pushed me for eight and a half years to keep up with him. Having Auggie by my side resulted in many awesome personal accomplishments, like riding the coast of California 34 / AUGUST 2022

eight years in a row; becoming the first tandem handcycle to enter an Ironman; first challenged athlete to finish the 508 – a 508-mile bicycle race in 48 hours; and back-to-back gold medals for the Marine Corps in the Warrior Games. To this day, anyone who met Auggie from his service years of 2011 to 2019 says he is the gold standard for service dogs. Thank you again to Canine Companions for giving me the gift of Auggie. Today I am matched with Elijah, a yellow Lab/Golden cross who is the smartest dog I’ve ever been around and one I can’t wait to continue to learn from. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from incredible people along my journey but none more than the three service dogs I’ve had the privilege to spend the past 16 years with. They have been my greatest teachers. And this is how I feel like the luckiest guy on the earth. What’s incredible about Canine Companions for Independence is that my story is just one of thousands. Every day Canine Companions changes and saves lives and saves families. They have the ability to make profound changes in individuals’ lives and families that get the chance to experience the bond between a human and a dog bred and trained to serve. Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit of my story. You can learn more about how you can help make more stories like mine happen at / AUGUST 2022


Dog Days of Summer

Why is this time of year, approximately forty days from early July to early September, referred to as the ‘Dog Days’ of Summer? Many people believe the phrase “dog days of summer” stems from the fact that dogs tend to be a bit on the lazy side during the hottest days of summer. Of course, who can blame them? With that much fur, dogs that exercise during the hot days of summer can overheat easily. We have all heard the myths about Dog Days, most of which focus around our canine friends, which is why the old folks say this time of year is called Dog Days. Some of the myths are: Hunting dogs will not hunt, dogs go mad and foam at the mouth for no apparent reason, snakes go blind and strike at anything that comes near them, (dogs in particular), no use in going fishing because the fish will not bite, wounds and sores will not heal, if it rains on the first day of Dog Days, it will rain every day for the next 40 days, or the opposite-if it does not rain on the first day of Dog Days then it will not rain for 40 days, and the list of myths goes on. 36 / AUGUST 2022

Riley “Hilltop Breeze” Photo By: Emily La Puma Sometimes myths are just myths. Handed down from generation to generation, but the real origination of this time of year being dubbed Dog Days, is based on a partial myth also. The term Dog Days was coined in ancient Rome, and was named after the star Sirius, the Dog Star, which is the brightest star besides the sun. It was thought that due to the rising and setting of Sirius at around the same time of the sun each day this time of year, that Sirius added its heat to the sun’s heat, thereby making the days hotter. Hence the term Dogs Days. Our modern day usage of the term has little to do with Sirius or his alleged wrath. We use the term Dog Days to refer to anything that is slow, lazy or languishing. I think the best way to appease the wrath of Sirius is to gather up my canine friends and find a hilltop breeze or go stagnate on the couch in front of the air-conditioning or maybe hit the beach and enjoy the San Diego cool ocean breeze.


For nearly 70 years, Father Joe’s Villages has been taking care of the immediate needs of homeless Veterans, while also helping end their homelessness for good. Call 1-619-HOMELESS or visit NEIGHBOR.ORG to learn more. / AUGUST 2022


Real Talk: Mental Health By Akina Goodson, Case Manager and Outreach Coordinator for the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD

The Power of Pets: How Animals Can Improve Mental Wellness

I am a military spouse and mom of four boys. With one of those boys diagnosed with High-functioning Autism, absence seizures, mitral valve regurgitation, gastrointestinal issues, tics, and chronic childhood migraines, I spent many days and nights in the hospital, or traveling to distant cities to see doctors and specialists, so much that it became routine. With my husband either deployed or on TAD (Temporary Additional Duty), I held down the fort and slept very little. In fact, I would jump up out of my sleep and run into my son’s room to check on him often, because of all the past instances we had gone through with him medically. I was scared to sleep for too long, for fear I might miss something. What if he needed me and I was not there for him! I could never forgive myself. Every phone call from the school would physically make me sick to my stomach before I even answered the phone in fear that something had happened. There is nothing like a mother seeing their child in pain it creates a feeling of helplessness. Even though I knew I was doing everything I could, I still felt helpless. It broke my heart seeing my child playing alone at the park or at school during recess and not interact socially with other children, and not be able to read social and emotional ques. He had his family, but he was alone, and that bothered me more than it bothered him. I felt so helpless. I often considered the benefits and what life would be like if we were to get a service dog for my son. However, I also felt that it would be selfish of me to take away from someone whose different abilities I thought were greater than my son’s. One day, I was at the Camp Pendleton commissary after having a long stressful day and just wanting to get home. A lady walked in with a service dog in training. I stopped her and asked if I could pet him. She gave him a command “go visit” and he walked up to me, turned around and sat right in front of my feet. As people 38 / AUGUST 2022

walked by, he did not budge, he had his eyes on his trainer and did not break focus as I kneeled and stroked his back. It was so calming and soothing! She gave him a command to put his chin on my knee and I was able to stroke his head as he just stared at me as if to say, “don’t worry momma I got you.” I learned that day that having a service dog is not about how significant one’s disability is compared to the next, but what a service dog can do for you specifically. So, we got Ione, our service dog.

Having Ione as a companion for my son helped get him through his melt downs and he was quietly there for him for however long it took. Ione provided that body pressure when my son needed it, especially since he is not a fan of human touch. When he would get home from school, he was able to relax and release the tics that he held in all day and go through the physical motions it brings with it. And Ione would be sitting at the door every day waiting on his buddy, so he could be right by his side providing comfort and support. Having a service dog changed my son’s life! My son defied the odds and graduated from high school this year and will be going to college in the fall studying electrical engineering and competing in track and field. I look at my son and see how far he has come and all that he has accomplished, despite what he went through and what we were told. He has worked so hard to get to where he is today and while he still struggles in areas, he refuses to give up and I am so proud of him.

Goodson says the following are some reasons why having a pet helped her family, which could help other military families:

“The need to walk a dog or complete a routine for a pet can give a person a sense of purpose that they have been struggling to find themselves.”

• Helped to calm her son when he was under high stress due to stressful situations at school.

“Additionally, I have personally noticed during telehealth sessions, when some clients have the ability to hold or pet their animals in session, they are able to ground or regulate themselves in difficult conversations or topics,” she added. “Furthermore, clients who bring in their service animals to sessions at our Cohen Clinic, can use their pets as additional support when discussing difficult topics or when processing trauma.”

• Taught her son responsibility. For example, he brushed him, cleaned up after him on walks, brushed his teeth and cleaned his face, paws and ears. • Provided social connection and interaction with others in the community whereas before he was closed off and struggled with social interactions and communication. • By teaching the service dog commands, it enabled her son to learn how to advocate on behalf of his needs as well as how to recognize what que best fit those needs in that moment. This also transpired into his school setting, and he began to speak up in the classroom with both his teachers and peers.

According to Kelly Williams, LMFT, Associate Director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD in San Diego, there are other ways pets can benefit mental wellness. “When experiencing depressive thoughts or behaviors, such as difficulty getting up or completing basic tasks for oneself, some clients report their pets as the reason for pushing themselves,” Williams said.

Therapy for Veterans, Service Members, and their Families Cohen Clinics provide therapy to post-9/11 veterans, service members, and their families, including National Guard / Reserves. CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy available statewide.


OUR LOCATIONS San Diego 8885 Rio San Diego Dr. Suite 301 Oceanside 3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd. Suite 120 Los Angeles Coming Soon / AUGUST 2022


Change is hard. Your transition to civilian life doesn’t have to be. At zero8hundred our goal is to ease the transition from military to civilian life. We are here to connect you to the resources specifically suited to your goals for joining the Southern California civilian workforce and community.

Resource Specialists work together with TSMs to map out a plan for re-entry, checking in regularly and providing referrals to our network of partnering organizations as needed to ensure they are, connected with resources to achieve their goals. When participants graduate from the program, we place them into our Veteran Alumni Network where we continue to track their outcomes and help keep them connected with community resources relevant to each stage of their Veteran Lifecycle. We also provide the same services to military spouses, who often face career challenges due to the frequent relocations and other demands of military family life.

This free individualized support is available up to a full year prior to military separation through a full year post-military separation. The zero8hundred team are trained Resource Specialists, with lived military experience, who are committed to working alongside transitioning service members to help them design and execute the post-military journey they want. OUR MISSION The mission of Zero8Hundred is to proactively link military service members, recent veterans, Reservists, National Guard, and spouses (including Gold Star spouses) to the broad range of resources and opportunities in their local community dedicated to helping them transition to civilian life. Zero8Hundred derives its name from the daily military ritual of raising the American flag at 0800 hours (8:00 a.m.) to signal that a new day of work has begun. We provide transitioning service members (TSMs) with personalized 1:1 counseling and wraparound support from clinically trained Master Social Workers (MSW) for up to one year before and two years after their separation from military service. Each TSM is matched with a Zero8Hundred Resource Specialist (MSW), who immediately begins a clinical assessment to address any critical needs and connects with clients to develop their transition plan. Needs may range from basic needs such as food and housing to employment support, continuing education, mental health support, financial advice, legal support, and/or health and wellness resources.

Our Resources The tools for transition, right at your fingertips.


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MILITARY TRANSITION SUPPORT OUR FIVE PILLARS: Jobs & Employment - Education - Basic Needs - Health & Wellness - Community Connections

What is Zero8Hundred?

How does it work?

The mission of Zero8Hundred is to proactively link military service members, recent veterans, Reservists, National Guard and spouses (including Gold Star spouses) to the broad range of resources and opportunities in their local community dedicated to helping them transition to civilian life.

Zero8Hundred uses a Veterans Wellness Model to create & ensure a better system to ease the transition into the civilian community before, during and after leaving the armed forces.

Zero8Hundred derives its name from the daily military ritual of raising the American flag at 0800 hours (8:00 a.m.) to signal that a new day of work has begun.

Through a unique partnership with community partners and the military, Zero8Hundred provides a one-stop approach to support transitioning service-members, veterans and their families.



WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby & Kristin Hennessy

Your Transition Needs a Guide Eric Flynn spent 25 years in the Navy. Like most who transitioned out, he wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to do next. His journey led him to Beacon Leadership, where he coaches people to achieve success in their next chapter of life. He’s proud to share his experiences and learnings to help those transitioning out reach their full potential. Be Aware of Your TENDENCIES First! A retired marine gunnery sergeant was hired by a manufacturing company to bring discipline to the team and increase their production. After 6 months in the role, he came to Eric Flynn with a problem. During his first performance evaluation, he learned that his highly directive style was offending people on his team. This deflating news came as a surprise. He wasn’t aware that this was how he was being perceived. After doing self assessments and coaching with Eric, he became more self aware of how his natural tendencies were proving a disservice in his job. He was taught to view his role from the perspective of others. Once he did that, he could understand what each person needed before he gave direction.

• Tendencies influence the actions you take. Those actions have consequences, and over time, those consequences shape your reality. • To improve your reality, start by knowing yourself and intentionally changing the actions you take. You never graduate from the school of self-awareness! Use your Halftime and Design your life After 20 years of service, a Naval aviator was certain that she wanted to become a civilian airline pilot upon transitioning out. Her Navy colleagues did that, so it made sense. She didn’t even consider other options. Upon working with a Beacon coach, she did some self-reflection on her time as an athlete at the Naval Academy - and remembered the importance of HALFTIME in a game. This is when you can reflect on what did and didn’t work in the first half, and create a plan for the second half. She realized this strategy worked for her career decision, too. She realized that what excited her most about the next state of life as a civilian was the opportunity to teach. And, was able to conclude that flying commercially wouldn’t be as energizing, plus it would take valuable time away from being with her family. Ultimately, teaching aeronautical engineering at a university gave her the energy and drive she craved, and positively the next generation of pilots. Key Takeaways:

This worked! The team felt VALUED, and actually came to welcome his input rather than fear it. Even better, the team increased productivity by 75% that year.

• Transitioning out of the military is YOUR halftime! Use it to pause and reflect on where you are and what you would like to do differently in the next chapter.

Key Takeaways: You have to know yourself to lead yourself, and lead others.

• Use the 70-30 rule! Consider your natural strengths and what energizes you – those activities should comprise at least 70% of your time. The remaining 30% should be activities that are challenging, tend to drain your energy, or require you to develop new skills.

• Your tendencies are a result of your nature, nurture, and choice.

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Achieve YOUR Balance of the 4: Passion – Mission – Profession – Vocation The optimal goal is to balance out all four of these in your next career stage. If you’re not feeling balanced, use these as a guide to see where you need to get more aligned to reach your potential. • Love what you do, and others have a strong need for it? You have a MISSION. • Do people need what you do and are willing to pay for it? That’s your VOCATION. • Are you good and what you do, and others are willing to pay for it? You now know your PROFESSION. • Love what you do and are good at it too? That’s your PASSION. How Do You Do This? With a Great Coach! Your skills and experiences from the military are invaluable, but further training and reflection is necessary to achieve a successful career as a civilian. A coach, like Eric Flynn, will help you see your opportunities in aunique way and allow you to see yourself in a way that you may not appreciate on your own. Need help finding a coach? Reach out to us. We want to help you succeed in the next chapter of your life.

Jim Gruny

Check out Beacon’s 5 Voices Assessment to help you better know yourself and others . Plan your next chapter best at

Reach out to Eve at: / AUGUST 2022


HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

Authentic Leadership and Quiet Self-Confidence: Hallmarks of Truly Successful Careers

This issue is dedicated to the “Dog Days of Summer” and the service dogs that keep our nation safe. But let’s look at the origin of the expression: the term “Dog Days of Summer” refers to the period between early July and early September when the hot, sweltering, and often stifling summer weather in the norther hemisphere makes things so uncomfortable that even dogs just lay around, panting from the heat. As such, the expression typically implies a period of stagnation or inactivity. We may find ourselves in the midst of the dog days in this issue calendar-wise, but “stagnation” and “inactivity” have no place in your leadership toolkit if you’re planning on launching a career shift or job change. Here’s why: from the quiet of the dog days comes the energy outburst of the fall, so you’ll want to use this time wisely to build momentum and launch your private sector career campaign accordingly. • Authentic Leadership First, know that mastering the concept of “authentic leadership” is totally within your control, whether you’re in a management position or an individual contributor role. Leaders aren’t limited to those in management: great leaders can often be identified in the early grades of grammar school—the student who volunteers to assist the teacher, the peer who helps another in need,

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the child who seems to care more and be more aware of his or her surroundings and the feelings of others. Put another way, the fastest way to career success is to help others become successful. Authentic leadership states that the greatest leaders aren’t the ones with the most followers: they’re the ones who create the greatest numbers of leaders in turn. And the best part of this news is simply: unlike cognitive intelligence, which is relatively fixed from birth, emotional intelligence can grow exponentially over time, much like a well-honed muscle. Simply focusing on developing and raising your Emotional Quotient (EQ) is typically enough to set the wheels in motion in expanding your level of empathy and otherness, which typically bodes well for leaders in the corporate workplace who are trying to build strong teams, invoke a sense of trust and respect in their peers and subordinates, and reach high levels of performance achievement, both individually and collectively. • Quiet Self-Confidence It’s said that we rise and fall by our self-image. If we have a low opinion of ourselves and expect to fail, our subconscious often tries to deliver that result. Conversely, if we see our success in advance, the universe tends to deliver what our self-image projects.

Bragging, arrogance, and micro-management (i.e., an excessive amount of control over others’ work) are never needed. After all, if you’re a micro-manager, not only will your employees resent working for you; you’ll also never be able to scale. In other words, overmanaging the work of four people on your team will leave you feeling exhausted and leave them feeling like they’re being treated like children. Moreover, how can you ever increase your “span of control” (i.e., the direct and extended reports whom you supervise) to 40, 400, or 4000 if you’re trying to control each player’s actions? Instead, practice quiet self-confidence. Praise in public, censure in private. State your values clearly to your team so they know what guiding principles motivate you and where the red flags and land mines lie. Work hard to make others succeed and make their success your success. Assume good intentions (until proven otherwise), and program your mind for the outcome you desire. This isn’t “fake-it-till-you-make-it” self-talk. It’s affirmation-based language and sounds like this: “I can handle this.” “I made a mistake but will learn from it and do better the next time.” Above all, assume responsibility for things gone wrong: “I made a mistake and I’m sorry” are not signs of weakness; they’re statements of confidence and an acknowledgment that you’re human. Simply admit the mistake, correct it, and learn from it: “Mess up, fess up, and dress up” is a simple adage that goes a long way in building personal character and engendering a strong sense of trust and respect among your team members.


The dog days of summer may be upon us, but now’s the ideal time to take all the necessary actions to help build your self-confidence, practice selfless leadership, and strengthen your self-image.

Simply change your sponsoring thought about who you are and who you choose to be. Your message to yourself and to the universe will boomerang back to you before you know it! You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at Paul Falcone ( is a leadership consultant, trainer, and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development. / AUGUST 2022


Successful Transitioning Stories By Dr. Julie Ducharme

Little Angles Dog Training Since this month is service dog theme, I was very excited to highlight Little Angles Dog Training. I have known the founder of this program for 20 years before she even started the facility, Katie Gonzales. Katie always had a love for animals and training them. Whenever I was at Katie’s house she always had dogs, and I would say wow you are like a dog whisperer, she could train them in minutes and watch how well they would respond. It only made sense with such great skills with animals that she would create Little Angels Service Dog company, a full-fledged training facility and school that serviced not just people in San Diego her home base but soon all over the world. She currently has a facility in San Diego, one in New Hampshire, and a long waiting list of people in need. Even more poetic Katie got married to a Navy man and became a mil-spouse and started to learn firsthand how our military men and women often needed a support animal when they transitioned out. And today they have helped countless people in need of service animals. In this article I’ll be focusing on the veteran side of their business but please know they serve so many in need and please check out their website. Katie’s programs even extend to autism assistant, hearing assistant, mobility, psychiatric, seizure, diabetic and even a prison program in helping prisoner reform. I can’t say enough about Katie and what she and her teams do to better the lives of so many people in need. Katie how did you start Little Angels? I started out training pet dogs for people and the money I made from that I would then use to train service dogs for free for people who were disabled and the first one I did was for a boy who could not walk on his own and was made fun of at school by the kids. When he got this dog, he went from being made of fun to being the most popular kid in school. Dogs can create this amazing social bridge. 46 / AUGUST 2022

What differentiates your training from others? We are 1 of 2 accredited organizations in the world that will train psychiatric service dogs for a civilian mostly this is for veterans dealing with things like PTSD. We are also the only accredited organization in the world that will train a psychiatric dog for a child. Can I get set up with a dog right away? We have over 200 people on our waiting list from Israel, Ireland, England, Canada, and all over the US. I wish we could say yes, this is quick and easy but the need for service dogs is a big one, especially for our veterans You mention that your dogs can even sense seizures, how are you able to train them for this? So many people have seizures and epilepsy is much more common than people realize and when you have a family member, child or adult who have seizures one of the most common ways they die is in bed. And if you have someone in your life like this you get no sleep. The way we train the dogs is like a game, we put a box with a treat in it as well with a gauze that has saliva from a person who has had a seizure. The dogs not only responded to this but started to alert the seizure patients ahead of time before it happened because they wanted to get the treat. This is changing peoples’ lives as the dogs can alert them minutes in advance even up to an hour in advance of a seizure. How specifically have you helped veterans coming back from war? We have had some great success with our dogs and vets, when someone comes back from war they can’t just go to Target and just walk around an isle and then hear a sudden commotion where maybe something gets knocked over but to them it sounds like something in their past and it triggers them. Having one of our dogs the dog can smell the anxiety coming on and they will start to paw at their owner to calm them down. They also provide deep pressure therapy which is like a weighted vest. Which also helps calm anxiety.

It’s so tough for our veterans to come back with a disability that people can’t see. They assume they are fine and have no idea what they are dealing with but the dog can sense it and can provide support for our veterans dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, mobility issues, and seizures. And our dogs also provide great companionship as well. Being a mil-spouse, I have firsthand accounts with my husband dealing with PTSD and this service is so important for our veterans and I am thankful I can use my passion to help them.



If in need of any of services of Littles Angels Dog Service, please visit her website. Hear Katie speak on her passion and how she trains dogs to know when a seizure is coming

Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce? Finding a job in the civilian world may seem easy at first. After all, you have learned skills, practiced leadership and demonstrated initiative that will make you successful wherever you go. The reality, though, is that it can be difficult. In fact, it can be downright depressing, demotivating and you may feel totally disillusioned. Veterans In Transition is dedicated to you and helping you succeed in your transition. For editorial & monthly columns regarding transitioning to civilian life, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for military and veteran business owners visit

For more help on active duty transition, education, and more click the link below




Practice, Practice, Practice

It Keeps You Sharp To maintain and grow a business, ongoing relationships with clients/customers requires consistent processes that deliver value and meaningful actions. If you are not working at strengthening those relationships, you are making it easier for your competitors to insert themselves into your marketplace. Every activity in your business needs to be consistent. Athletes do it, musicians do it, mechanics do it, writers do it, do you the business owner, do it? The idea that we can become proficient (well advanced in an art, occupation, or branch of knowledge) in our chosen field is often overlooked in small business. As solo-preneurs there is little time to spend practicing, when you wear all the hats - bookkeeper, marketer, sales rep, manager, and producer. Practice is a learning method, a method done by repetition; when you perform or work repeatedly at something, it is so you become proficient. If you have ever observed the activities of a young child, you know that their learning process is based on the principle of spaced repetition. They learn new words, begin to grasp their meaning, use the words whenever they can, until the words become a part of their vocabulary. Spaced repetition is one of the most effective forms of learning. There is a professional basketball player on U-Tube who questions whether practicing has anything to do with playing the game. Hopefully you agree, he might not have been in professional ball if he hadn’t “practiced, practiced, practiced” his game. So as business owners what should we be practicing? Asking questions: Take the time to create a list of relevant and meaningful questions. Having a list of insightful questions will serve you well time and time again. Your questions will support you in your quest to differentiate yourself and establish credibility and trust. They will open up new opportunities. 48 / AUGUST 2022

Listening: Perhaps your most important skill; learning what a person’s needs and wants are, help to reveal if you can truly work together. Sales Process: Every step along the sales path, from prospecting to closing the sale is an opportunity to tweak your technique. Once you find the right combination of words that bring the best results, you then practice them that over and over again. • Establishing rapport & trust • Identifying needs accurately • Your presentation • Answering objections effectively • Closing the sale, asking for the order • Getting re-sales and asking for referrals If you have ever been to the batting cages, or were made to practice the piano, or remember learning the multiplication tables, you know that practice is the foundation for any skill. What skill in your toolbox needs sharpening? If you haven’t checked yourself out lately you may be surprised that you are leaving something important out or have made a change that has caused you to be less effective. Take time to review each business encounter this week; ask yourself, what worked, what didn’t, how could you improve it, then

Practice, Practice, Practice! Barbara Eldridge has built a solid reputation as a Success strategies specialist, within industry and business over the past 40 years. Her unique message, since starting Mind Masters 30 years ago for entrepreneurs and small business owners, continually stresses vision, purpose and values as the key elements of business philosophy.

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legal Eagle Straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners By Kelly Bagla, Esq.

CORPORATE COMPLIANCE Corporate compliance should be an essential part of your business operations, regardless of industry. How does your business manage compliance and mitigate risk? Taking preventative measures can feel like a hassle upfront, but it can save your organization an absorbent amount of costs in the long run.

After all, employees can’t be held responsible for rules and regulations they don’t know exists. HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL CORPORATE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM Here are a few steps to establish your corporate compliance program:


1) Compliance Starts With Leadership

In the corporate world, corporate compliance is the process of making sure your company and employees follow all laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices that apply to your organization and industry. Corporate governance covers both internal policies and procedures, as well as federal and state laws. Enforcing compliance helps your company prevent and detect violations of rules, which protects your organization from fines and lawsuits. The compliance process should be ongoing.

Leaders should encourage ethical behavior and openly talk about the importance of compliance.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A CORPORATE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM? The purpose is to protect your business. It’s as simple as that. But the return on investment could be significant, helping you avoid waste. Fraud, abuse, discrimination, and other practices that disrupt operations and put your company at risk. An effective program improves communication between leadership and staff. It should include a process for creating, updating, distributing, and tracking compliance policies.

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2) Conduct Risk Assessments Corporate compliance is about managing risk. To build an effective program, you need to know what compliance areas pose the highest risks to your organization. Federal and state regulations, as well as industry standards, are constantly evolving. To avoid risk of noncompliance, its’ important to conduct regular assessments, such as assessing recent litigation, complaints, employee claims, and industry enforcement trends. 3) Establish And Maintain Your Code Of Conduct, Policies, And Standards Your corporate compliance program needs a well defined code of conduct because it can help define your program’s purpose and set expectations for behavior. The code of conduct should explain

who is responsible for managing the program, how employees should report misconduct, and what disciplinary measures are put into place for violating the codes of conduct.

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4) Properly Train All Employees After establishing the policies and procedures for your corporate compliance program, you need to disseminate them to every member of your staff. All employees and relevant vendors should be trained on laws, regulations, corporate policies, and prohibited conduct. Corporate compliance violations can result in fines, penalties, lawsuits, loss or reputation, and more. Keep your business from learning the lesson the hard way. Start developing a compliance program today. Becoming a business owner, you control your own destiny, choose the people you work with, reap big rewards, challenge yourself, give back to the community, and you get to follow your passion. Knowing what you’re getting into is smart business because the responsibility of protecting your family and yourself falls on you. For more information on how to legally start and grow your business please visit my website at

Disclaimer: This information is made available by Bagla Law Firm, APC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and not to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! The last thing an entrepreneur wants is to spend valuable time and resources on legal issues, which is why they often drop to the bottom of the pile. But this can be a COSTLY MISTAKE—and Go Legal Yourself is here to make sure it’s one you avoid. • • • •

Gather the right documentation Protect your brand Avoid expensive legal pitfalls Plan and manage growth competatively

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Legally Speaking Military Focused Family Law Facts By Tana Landau, Esq.

Pet Custody Agreements Most people consider their pets to be part of the family - they are more than just a piece of property. Since January 1, 2019, judges in California may now award sole or joint custody of a pet to either party going through a divorce based on the best interest of the pet. This means that pet owners can now also have legally enforceable stipulations, orders, or judgments issued regarding the care of their pets. Since divorce is stressful enough, particularly where children are involved, you may not want to add the stress of litigating the care of your beloved animal. Consider working out an agreement with your former spouse when you both are wanting to keep your pet. You may be asking yourself, but what does a pet custody agreement look like? Pet custody agreements can be structured very similar to a child custody agreement. What to Include in a Pet Custody Agreement Your pet custody agreement should delineate whether you or your spouse will have sole or joint ownership of your pet. If you are going to share in the physical custody and care of your pet, the agreement should specify a visitation schedule that sets forth when your pet will be in your care and your former spouse’s care.

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Pet custody agreements also should address any costs that you agree to share for your pet, whether it be veterinary expenses, training classes, etc. They should have specific provisions regarding the rights of each party to make medical decisions, whether independent or consulting first with the other party, the ability to obtain records and consult professionals, and decisions regarding housing the animal. Many shared custody pet agreements will also delineate that either party can obtain emergency medical treatment of the pet and each party shall be listed as an emergency contact with the treating veterinarian. Another provision you could see in pet custody agreements is the duty to notify the other party in writing of an intent to give up ownership/custody rights of the pet to a third party. With this provision there could be included the right for the other party to take sole ownership before any third parties do. You may also consider adding a provision regarding whether you or your former spouse are required to give notification before moving to a new home with the pet if a long distance move is a concern for you. Other provisions that you may find in a pet custody agreement include a duty to notify the other party of the name and

address of any veterinarian who treats the pet, a duty to keep the other party informed about the health, welfare, and safety of the pet, and the duty to confer in good faith and share in responsibility for the pet. You can include any additional specific provisions that you or your former spouse agree upon. Some people want very specific provisions in their agreements protecting the animal such as the pet must be housed inside overnight and if a party is unable to do so, then the other party can take the animal for the night. It is up to you and your former spouse as to how detailed you would like to get when structuring a shared pet custody agreement.

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What Pet Visitation Schedules Look Like If you and your former spouse are willing to work together to reach an agreement, you can structure it as you like. However, there are some visitation schedules commonly utilized in child custody and visitation matters that you may want to consider when structuring a shared pet custody agreement. These schedules may make particular sense if you also have children and would like the pet to go back and forth with the minor child. The different schedules include the following: - 2,2,3 schedule: The pet is with Party A for two days, then with Party B for two days, and then back to Party A for three days. The next week, it reverses. The pet would be with Party B for two days, then Party A for two days, and back to Party B for three days. - 2,2,5,5 schedule: This is very similar to a 2,2,3 schedule and is really just a modified version of it. One party will have the pet from Monday morning until Wednesday morning every week. The other party will have the pet from Wednesday morning until Friday morning every week. The parties will alternate weekends from Friday morning until Monday morning. - Week On/Week Off: The parties share custody of their pet on a weekly basis. The exchanges would occur on a particular day, at a particular time every week. For example, you would exchange the pet every Sunday at 7 p.m. with the pet staying with one party for the entire week before being exchanged the following Sunday to the care of the other party. If you are worried about how your divorce may impact your pet and are willing to share in their care, mediating the issue with your former spouse may be the best way to ensure the outcome you desire.

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For more information about pets in your military divorce, check out our website: or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice.

Legal Experts with Humanity / AUGUST 2022


Vets Starting a Handyman Business tin ar St

By: Joseph Molina National Veterans Chamber of Commerce


and ways to market yourself, you’ll want to consider investing in cost estimating software that can help you to make bids quickly, so you’ll stand out against the competition. By using a service, the software can help you to send estimates directly from the job site, send out automated email reminders for bid approvals, estimate labor expenses and material costs, and include a payment schedule for customers. They’ll not only save you time but also help you to stay organized. 54 / AUGUST 2022

s es

As you work to nail down details of your business plan

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Hammering out the Details


As you begin to formulate your business plan with this information, consider how you’ll brand yourself. Pick your specialty areas and search for an online logo maker service to design an appealing logo that will identify your new business to customers. You’ll have many fonts and color options when it comes to creating your logo which will be displayed on your website, vehicles, and communications with customers.

an m dy an

Getting your handyman service up and running will go smoothly if you take it one step at a time. Start by contacting your state’s small business agency to find out what you’ll need to do in regard to forming an LLC. You’ll also want to know about permitting and licensing rules in your county and state. Paying attention to these legal steps in the beginning, like getting liability insurance, proper vehicle, and tool coverage, will help you succeed long term.


Getting Started


As a veteran thinking about starting your own business, it’s likely that you’ve given some thought to how to obtain the American dream. While starting a new business can be both exciting and overwhelming, your military background will put you in a great position to succeed. From following local and federal requirements and regulations to getting the word out about your services to potential customers, you’ll be on your way to building a business you’re proud of if you follow these tips. Adding Benefits and Support

As a veteran, you’ll want to use resources out there specific to you. As a thank you for your service, you’ll find discounts at local and chain hardware stores. In addition to applying for accounts at the contractor’s rate, be sure to ask about veteran benefits that will help you keep costs down; this is something you can pass on to your customers that they’ll appreciate. Also, consider looking into grants specific to veterans through your state. You might be surprised what kind of start-up funding you can get for new tools or vehicles to help you succeed. Living the Dream Whether you plan to open your business in Los Angeles or somewhere else in the United States, taking advantage of the software, social media platforms, listing services, and current real estate market will help make your plan work as you build your handyman business. Still not sure where to start or how to find the right plan? Check out the National Veterans Chamber for ways they can help make your dreams come true. The National Veterans Chamber brings together Individuals and Organizations to collaborate and develop programs & projects that will result in a Positive impact in our Veteran/Military community. If you have any questions, please email / AUGUST 2022


Living A Life Recovered By Matthew Ward @aliferecovered

Vegas: Fun When Fit For those of us in recovery from addiction, the idea of visiting Las Vegas can sometimes give us a feeling of uneasiness or hesitancy. There are certain people, places and things that we do not typically associate sobriety or recovery with, and Las Vegas seems to be one of those. I wanted to take a deeper look at why that is and get some understanding on when Las Vegas can be on your sober to do list. The first step in deciding whether this is a good environment for me or not is realizing what my motives are. Why am I going to Las Vegas? Am I going to see the scantily clad women or try my luck at winning some quick cash as many people do? No. I am doing none of that. My wife has family just off the strip and we wanted to try some new restaurants and activities together. Upon realizing my motives were healthy in nature, I thought about another key component to a successful, sober trip. My level of spiritual fitness. Whether you work the 12 steps or not, a large part of being successful in sobriety is improving your spiritual fitness. When I first got sober, I had no idea what people were talking about when they said getting clean allowed them to feel better “physically, mentally, and spiritually.” Spiritual improvement seemed to be something only attainable by Buddhists or individuals that practice complete silence and meditation for days at a time. Certainly not someone like me. I found out how wrong I was a couple months into recovery. Being spiritually fit is about having a sense of purpose and meaning in your life. It can determine your level of fun and overall enjoyment of every 24-hour period and the people in it. Things like taking ownership, being honest, helping others and trusting in your higher power are a few spiritual principles that I find to be imperative.

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If I am spiritually fit when I leave the house on a daily basis, I can handle any situation where alcohol or other substances are present. If I am not spiritually fit, I have to be very careful about where I go and what I do because I am liable to either give in to temptation, or abandon the guidance of my higher power. Now that I have arrived in Vegas with healthy motives and a fit mind, what is there to do sober? Las Vegas has tons of fun things to do that are not based around drinking and lewd behavior. If you are on the strip and around the downtown area there is glow in the dark mini golf, Top Golf, go karting at the Mini Grand Prix, laser tag, paint ball and more. If you’re feeling adventurous you can bungee jump the Stratosphere or go ziplining on Fremont Street. If you decide to venture off the strip, you can take a sunset boat cruise on Lake Mead, go kayaking, birdwatching, hiking, or get lost in the cactus garden at Ethel M’s chocolate factory. Las Vegas is a great destination when you have a plan. My wife and I had an absolute blast trying new food and experiencing the bright lights and big city vibes while sober. If you are spiritually fit and your motives are pure, you can feel comfortable knowing that you are taking on Vegas with pocket aces.

“I’m happier with myself. Having been in therapy, period, has helped me be in a better place now.” Rogelio “Roger” Rodriguez, Jr US Navy (1987 – 1993) US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

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