By Judy Reed
Giving homeless dogs a second chance at life by finding them a forever home is what every animal rescue strives for. But when they can do that and help out a veteran at the same time, it’s icing on the cake.
“It’s exciting to my heart,” said Kim Schreuder, owner and President of Bellowood Dog Rescue in Cedar Springs.
According to Kim, a 4-year-old German Shepherd that they had for two years, named Kura, was recently matched to a Special Ops veteran. “I’m so overjoyed I can’t stand myself,” she said with a laugh.
Bellowood dogs are listed on Petfinder. But Kim pulled Kura off Petfinder a year ago, because she is of working lines. “Most pet people can’t handle that type of dog. Kura needed a purpose, not to just be a pet,” she explained.
Then one night she got a call from a man who said he was interested in one of their dogs, and that he had been approved by Pets for Vets, an organization whose goal is to help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with a shelter dog that is specially selected to match his or her personality. Trainers rehabilitate the dogs specially for the veteran so that they can recognize panic or anxiety disorder behavior, and desensitize them to wheelchairs, crutches, etc. Their website said that as many as 20 percent of veterans come home with post traumatic stress disorder.
“As we talked, it became clear to me that Kura was his owner, not the dog he originally called about, but Kura. He came out and met with Kura and there was an instant connection,” explained Kim. “You could just see it!”
The man, named Mike, went to Illinois the next day to view another dog, to make sure he had chosen the right one. The day after, Kim got the call that Kura was the winner!
“They had bonded, and will go far in travels together,” said Kim. She said Mike is going on with his studies in social work with vets who have post traumatic stress disorder and will encourage them to also adopt a dog.
“This is what really brings me happiness,” said Kim.
Bellowood Rescue was organized in 1993, and is located in rural Cedar Springs. They are a 501-3c non-profit. If you’d like to learn more about them or help support them, email Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check them out at petfinder.com, or on facebook.