Partners for Patriots delivers canine friend for Carroll
Jason Carroll, a Remsen veteran, received a new canine friend named Delta on Tuesday, August 4. Carroll was able to receive this friend through an organization called Partners for Patriots.
Partners for Patriots is a non-profit (501c3) organization providing service dogs to disabled veterans at no cost to the veteran and was founded in 2009 by director and lead trainer, Cindy Brodie and her late husband. This organization is located just outside of Anthon.
Gerry Holtrop of Hospers works as a traveling trainer and public relations person for the organization. He explained how he met Brodie and how Brodie started the organization, "I was in law enforcement for 42 years, 35 years with Sioux County Sheriff's Office; and for 10 years in the 1990's, I had a drug dog, a black lab by the name of Jeb. Jeb was trained by Cindy Brodie and at that time she trained dogs for law enforcement. After Jeb died in 2005, I lost all contact with Cindy. Her kennels were in Red Oak and then they had moved to Tennessee. In 2009, through her father-in-law, who was a veteran and having problems, she started thinking about how a dog could help a veteran. She trained a dog for him and then just really started to develop a passion and love for veterans who have issues. She slowly went from training dogs for law enforcement to training dogs for veterans and that is when she started the organization called Partners for Patriots."
Holtrop heard from Brodie again before he retired from the Sheriff's Office back in 2017, "Her husband had died, and she needed help and didn't know where to start. She is a very religious person. One night, she took out all of the photographs of police dogs that she had trained over the years and was praying over every picture. I had sent her a picture of Jeb and our family’s pet potbelly pig meeting for the first time, which was more than 20 years ago. When she prayed over that picture, she literally heard a voice say, “Find Gerry”. So she called me, which was two months before I was retiring from the Sheriff's Office. My standard line is, "I can't stay home and eat donuts and watch Star Trek all the time.” So I decided to help with the organization. Initially, I put together a Powerpoint presentation and just started doing a lot of fundraising, programs, and visiting businesses. Then two years ago, Cindy asked me if I wanted to be a traveling trainer. So I do that as well."
Holtrop explained what a traveling trainer does, "Cindy always has ten dogs that she is training for veterans who have specific needs or issues. Training of the dog can take from five months up to a year and half, depending upon what all the dog has to be trained to do. Then when she is done with that, these dogs have to get to the veterans. So what she does is she trains me as if I was the veteran with that dog. Then the dog comes and stays with me so the dog gets to know me a little bit and then I bring the dog to the veteran and spend from three to eight days with them depending. If a veteran has a lot of physical issues, then that takes a lot longer."
On August 4, Holtrop delivered Delta, a black lab, to Jason Carroll of Remsen.
Carroll, a native of Pierre, S.D., lives in Remsen with his wife, Tammy; and two children, an eight-year-old daughter, Briley; and a four-year-old son, Huxlee. Tammy is a native of Remsen, her grandparents being Ed and Kitty Guntren of Remsen.
Carroll heard about the organization through a friend from work, "I heard about Partners for Patriots from a lady that I work with named Sarah Petersen. She runs Support Siouxland Soldiers. She does education, programs in the community, food drives and stuff like that to help veterans. I mentioned to her that I was interested in getting a dog. She mentioned Partners for Patriots and how excellent they were. I reached out to Cindy. She emailed me a contract, and I filled it out and that's how I got Delta."
Delta is a much needed friend to Carroll. Carroll stated, "I mainly need Delta for my PTSD, anxiety and depression. With the depression, I've had several suicide attempts, and I also have knee, back, foot, and neck issues. So she is there to stable me and help me out throughout the day with my anxiety, depression, and TBI."
Serving the Army from 2003 to 2012, Carroll was deployed to Iraq in 2007-2008 and then from 2010 to late 2011 in Afghanistan.
Whenever Holtrop delivers a dog to a veteran and spends a few days with him or her to train them on how it all works, a tutorial about going out in public with the dog is given and is something that’s a struggle for a lot of PTSD sufferers. "Whenever you take a dog out in public, people come up and want to pet it. When her vest is on her, nobody pets her; she's working. So what we do is we give each veteran 1,000 baseball type cards with each dog’s likeness that explains their training on the back so that veteran can give them out when approached by children. Then we practice on how we tell them no and to transition to where we can walk away. So when somebody comes up and says, “Can I pet the dog?” Then Jason will say, “No, I'm sorry you can't; the dog is working right now, and her job is to take care of me, but would you like to have a picture of the dog.” So those cards are on Delta's vest and Jason can take a card out and say, “This is Delta.” On the back of the card, it says what Delta is all trained to do. This helps take care of something that could be very stressful for the veteran through the card."
Holtrop also described Delta's main job in helping Carroll, "Delta's main job is when Jason gets anxious or upset that Delta will jump up on him and lick him, then that is a sign that he's been triggered and something is going down hill. Just to love her, stroke her, pet her, and that helps relieve the tension and pressure."
Delta is very happy at her new home, and Carroll is happy to have her. Holtrop stated, "The dog is so neat. Wherever Jason walks in the house, the dog is right beside him. She goes upstairs and follows him; she is always right there for him."
Being a suicide survivor, Carroll expressed how important it is to ask for help, "It's OK to ask for help, and it's not a bad thing to ask for help. You're not looked down on for having a dog or for having these issues.”
Veterans can apply for a service dog or learn more about Partners for Patriots by going to the organization's website at www.partnersforpatriots.org.