Pilot Club of Belen joins the Valencia Valley Kennel Club Dog Show

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The Pilot Club of Belen will join with Valencia Valley Kennel Club of New Mexico, Inc. Oct. 13-14 for its annual AKC All Breeds Obedience Rally Competition and Dog Show.

The All Breed competition will be held at Heritage Park in Los Lunas, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday, when the Best In Show will be announced.

The Pilot Club of Belen has committed to a new special fundraiser project this past year for the Paws and Stripes organization.

The organization operates on only donations and grants to pair rescue or shelter dogs, either pure or mixed breed, with veterans suffering from either traumatic brain injuries or severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Special training is provided by "Paws" for both the veteran and their dog at no cost so the dog becomes a certified service dog for just that veteran.

The best way to explain what the service dogs do, according to the website, pawsandstripes.org, is that every service dog is different, as every person with disabilities is different. 

The beauty of Paws and Stripes' training program is that every dog is trained to the specific needs of the veteran, thus every dog has somewhat different skills.

 Some dogs are trained to maintain a constant 360 degree guard of the individual, and alert the veteran when someone is approaching out of visibility. 

Some dogs may be trained to place themselves between the veteran and a stranger if the stranger is beginning to invade the established personal space. 

There are many possibilities for a service dog — whatever the disability calls for — the service dogs will be trained to accommodate it.

Aside from specific commands and skills that the dog is taught, the dog also proves therapeutic services in another special way. 

Dogs are extremely receptive to people's emotional and psychological states. When agitated, they become agitated, when excited, they are as well. For the veteran, if their anxiety begins to spike, the dog will react in a certain manner. 

But more than helping with psychological issues, service dogs also assist veterans with various other disabilities or ailments, such as, balance, medical alerts, and so on.

The goal of the Pilot Club of Belen is to raise funds for needed veterans here in Valencia County. The cost of training is a mere $2,000 for the veteran and their dog. This cost amount is a fraction of what special service animal training for other purposes such as blindness or other medical disabilities usually cost.

You can find the table for "Paws" and the Pilot Club at this special event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday, Oct. 13, and Sunday, Oct. 14. They will have merchandise, information and a fundraiser event each day.

The Kennel Club asks that visitors not bring their dogs or any firearms to this event. The Kennel Club welcomes all families and their cameras.

For more information about "Paws," visit www.pawsandstripes.org. For more information about the Pilot Club of Belen, visit www.pilotclubofbelennm.org.

For information about the Valencia Valley Kennel Club, you can find information on the American Kennel Club website, www.akc.org; search for Valencia Valley Kennel Club.