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    Paws from the Heart: Caring Angels Therapy Dogs

    The click click of nails across the floor, dogs panting and a cheerful, yet powerful voice giving commands can be heard as you head up the stairs of a converted barn.

    The door opens to over a dozen dogs and their handlers as Sonny Madsen stands in the midst of it all, head held high, eyes bright and an infectious smile. She is definitely the leader of this pack.

    This is Caring Angels Therapy Dogs, a small non-profit that has made a huge impact. The company, founded by Sonny, came about after the effects of war took hold of Sonny's daughter, and threatened to not let go.

    A military family, the Madsens served their country and made sacrifices along the way. When Sonny's daughter returned to the states after being injured, she wasn't the same.

    "The light had gone out," reflected Sonny.

    But while visiting Arlington National Cemetery, a chance encounter with a vet and his service dog brought the first flicker of light that Sonny saw since before her daughter left on deployment. So Sonny thought she had it figured out - get her daughter a dog.

    "I thought it would be easy, I could just go buy a service dog," Sonny said, her faithful companion Freya by her side. But it wasn't that simple and there wasn't any available resources from the Veteran Affairs."

    Sonny, at the time living in Las Vegas, reached out to the local police department and was told to speak with an instructor from Sit Means Sit Dog Training.

    Sonny trained with Sit Means Sit and after being certified to train dogs Sonny recued and trained Major for her daughter and as Sonny tells it, he [Major] is the reason her daughter gets out of bed every day.

    By opening a Sit Means Sit training center for Northern Virginia, Sonny worked hard to train therapy and service dogs for veterans as well as disabled persons. After placing a few dogs with vets, the Madsens formed Caring Angels as a non-profit.

    One of those vets is Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 1st Class (ret.) Eaan Green. Green spent over a decade as an air crew rescue swimmer (AWS), repeatedly jumping from helicopters into the ocean - sometimes for training, sometimes to rescue a stranded mariner. So many jumps had taken a physical toll on Green, so much so he was medically retired. "The mind wanted to continue, but the body couldn't."

    Enter, DD, an energetic strawberry blonde Labrador with that happy dog smile and eyes only for Green.

    DD, short for DD-214, has brought balance to not only Green, but his whole family. She is with him 24/7; taking walks with him during restless nights and accompanying him to work at Northrup Grumman. She makes a big impact not just on Green, but on everyone she and he come in contact with.

    DD is just one of more than a dozen dogs the Madsens have placed with veterans, and Sonny said this is only the beginning, as she plans to expand the facility. In Sonny's line of work, Dogs have become a vet's best friend.



    Date Taken: 06.17.2016
    Date Posted: 01.27.2017 15:59
    Story ID: 221680
    Location: VA, US

    Web Views: 118
    Downloads: 0