Poker run raises $10.3K for Puppies for Heroes service dog program | Local News

DEADWOOD – One of Deadwood Custom Cycles and Saloon No. 10 sponsored poker run raised $ 10,360 for a Sacred Mountain Retreat Center program that matches service dogs with veterans and raising awareness of the centre’s new Puppies Healing Heroes program.

Charlie Struble-Mook from Saloon No. 10 said the funds were raised through registration fees, a silent auction, and a live auction.

“Then our friend Flash from Bikers Against Bullies heard about it and couldn’t be here. So he said if we raised $ 1,000 on the 10, he would add another $ 1,000 and the 10 would match, ”said Struble-Mook. “Then we called to tell him we did and he was so proud of us that he gave us another $ 1,000. So he donated $ 2,000 alone. “

Struble said requests from veterans for the program, which began in January, exceeded funding capacity, causing Deadwood Custom Cycles and Saloon No. 10 to step in and help Sacred Mountain.

“My fundraising goal was $ 5,000 and we exceeded that by a long way,” said Struble-Mook.

In February, Struble-Mook and husband Jason Mook of Deadwood Custom Cycles, along with Louie Lalonde of Saloon No. 10 attended the Sacred Mountain Retreat Fundraising Gala, which gave everyone an infinity for the Puppies Healing Heroes program.

“They had two little pups running around and they gave them to the two vets who got the service dogs, and I don’t think an eye was dry in that room,” said Struble-Mook. “Louie looked at me because she always had a special place in her heart for animals and everyone in service, and she said, ‘We have to do something for them.’ So Jason and I thought people loved poker runs. They love to meet and ride for a good cause. “

Jerrid Geving, president of the Sacred Mountain Retreat Center, said the fundraiser as a result of the poker run is amazing.

“I don’t think either of us really knew what to expect, the first time how many people are going to show up and as more and more people show up it was like ‘holy cow it does’ really good.” And then that night when we came back here, people are generous when it comes to doing the right thing and raising money for a good cause. Putting puppies in the hands of heroes is amazing again because it’s proven that veterans, service members in general, who have a service animal, the suicide rate goes down, all of those things. They have a mate with whom they can identify little more than just a family member. When they fight, this dog is smarter than anyone. “

Mating veterinarians with puppies is an application process and the program is designed to connect service dogs with service members and first responders to improve their quality of life.

“We posted it on our Facebook and website,” said Geving. “We just get people to apply and then we have a deadline when we have to start going through them. We had five applicants for this one so let’s go back and look at the previous one because some veterans may not be able to handle a higher powered dog like the Bells. So we’re going to do two different ones. We will do the Belgian Malinois once a year, the laboratory pups once a year, so that we can hopefully close all the gaps. “

So far, four puppies have been given or conveyed within the framework of the program.

“We did two in February. We’re going to do two in September, ”said Geving.

Tara Little of the Sacred Mountain Retreat Center said the veteran is allowed to have the pup for a while so a bond is made and then they go to the trainer.

“About 8 to 10 weeks old is when they have the pups,” explained Geving. “They keep the puppies until they are between 6 and 7 months old and then go to the trainer.”

The training can last between one and three months.

“When the person gets the dog, they’ll spend two days with the trainer learning how to handle the dog,” said Geving.

Depending on the needs, the dog is trained accordingly.

“A lot is just anxiety, depression,” said Geving. “PTSD has this huge blanket of things to cover, but anxiety and depression are probably the two main causes these men and women suffer from, and these dogs can just sense it.”

Training can be very expensive depending on your needs.

“Men and women who may have seizures, such dogs get very expensive, for example,” said Geving.

Applications for the Puppies for Heroes program even came from Florida and California.

“The two who will have the September pups are one from North Dakota and one from Spearfish,” said Geving.

Geving was accompanied by Zoe, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois who is trained in search and rescue and corpse location and lives at the Sacred Mountain Retreat Center.

“She is also a companion. She can sense PTSD, TBI, so we have her at the retreat center for every group that gets through just so people love it and hang in there, ”said Geving. “If someone has problems during the week, she can be there to help a little. Give them a companion. “

Since the Sacred Mountain Retreat opened in 2018, 125 veterans have participated in the program.

“We bring between eight and ten per group,” said Geving, adding that ten retreats are planned for 2022.

The Mission of the Holy Mountain?

“Saving lives, saving marriages,” said Geving. “It’s an application process. Nobody gets turned down as long as they meet the requirements – any type of service. It doesn’t have to be a fight. It can be from a military background, police officers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, and we also do a Gold Star retreat once a year. “

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