This Veterans Day, Northwest Indiana has honored its veterans in many ways all the way from parades to puppies. With the support of 1st American Management Company, Inc. AMO®, CENTURY 21 Alliance Group, Chester, Inc., Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso, and Absolute Apparel & Promotions, Lakeshore PAWS was proud to host Patriot Pups 2022 which ran from November 11 through November 13.
This is the first Patriot Pups event since 2018. Eager to host this event again, Lakeshore PAWS Volunteer and Chief Operating Officer and President of 1st American Management, Michael Bottos wanted to divide the cost between multiple companies.
Having five sponsors for this year’s Patriot Pups event rather than one made sponsorships more affordable, ultimately garnering the funds needed to support even more adoptions.
“I kept having reminders of the event pop up on Facebook and thought, ‘We really need to do this again,’” Bottos said. “We decided to approach a couple of companies and tell them we would put everybody's name on the board and take pictures with all the dogs they were helping if they sponsored the event. We thought splitting the cost would be easier.”
Jeanne Sommer–President and Co-Founder of Lakeshore PAWS and Broker and Owner of CENTURY 21 Alliance Group–noted that more and more companies have expressed interest in sponsoring the event this year and in the future.
“We had enough companies that wanted to participate that we’ve had other companies that we didn’t tell about the event call and say they’d like to participate in the veteran event,” Sommer said. “Five companies got together, and Lakeshore PAWS reduced their adoption rates to $100. Usually, they're $250 for an adult dog. We have $2,500 from our sponsors, so 25 veterans will get dogs.”
During this year’s Patriot Pups, veterans were invited to fill out an adoption application online or at the Lakeshore PAWS facility to be approved to adopt a dog for free during the Patriot Pups 2022 event. Once approved, veterans were able to meet the dogs available for adoption and pick out the perfect companion to bring home.
Veteran Jerry Labus and his wife, Gayle Labus, decided it was high time they adopted a four-legged companion after seeing a poster about Patriot Pups 2022 during karaoke at Leroy’s “Hot Stuff” in Porter, Ind. After losing his previous dog in 2019 and receiving a PTSD diagnosis, Jerry Labus wanted a dog to keep him company.
“I served in Vietnam mostly. I went back and forth on a ship because I was in the navy,” Jerry Labus said. “I want a dog because I could use a calming companion.”
“He needs this and I need this because when he’s stressed, I’m stressed,” Gayle Labus said. “I’m really looking forward to the extra company. It’s so warming having them around; it’s a really good thing.”
After meeting dogs Dixie, Addie, and Daphne, Jerry and Gayle Labus found the perfect cuddly lapdog in Addie and adopted her on the spot on Friday, November 11.
To learn more about Patriot Pups 2022 or fill out an adoption application, visit https://lakeshorepaws.org/ or call 219-476-PAWS (7297).