-by Matt Jocks
$4,500 raised in latest Collective Giving campaign
Ask Kevin Cameron, CEO and Founder of Alpha K-9, how much the Collective Giving fundraising drive did for his organization and you will get a large number and a much smaller number. Collective Giving is a program where dispensaries, doctors, and additional cannabis entities join forces to support local non-profits.
“This will help save the lives of three veterans.”
CEO and Founder, Alpha K-9
It’s the smaller one that means the most to Cameron.
“This will help save the lives of three veterans,” Cameron says.
The larger number is $4,500, the amount raised for Alpha K-9, an organization that trains and supplies companion dogs for veterans who may be suffering from the mental and emotional after-effects of their service. For Cameron, that translates into fully training one dog, and the training of two house pets.
Dogs in the program are trained to smell the stress pheromones in humans and to stay extra close to their human partners when the stress level rises.
Cameron said it takes about two months to fully train a dog and Alpha K-9 puts out about 200 dogs a year. In addition to the money raised by Collective Giving, the exposure brought another business into the sponsorship fold.
Getting the word out is a big part of Alpha K-9’s mission, trying to overcome the barriers that keep veterans from getting help.
“In some cases, it’s pride,” Cameron says. “Some see it as weakness to seek help. They just don’t understand the benefits. But the more they hear about it, the more likely they are to check it out.”
Dave Singh is a veteran who volunteers for the program and also benefits from it.
“I can tell you there have been a few fights avoided because of Nala,” Singh says. “And a lot of anxiety alleviated.”
Cameron points out that post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the leading causes of suicides among veterans. He adds that there have been no suicides reported among the veterans who have participated in Alpha K-9.
“It gives them a reason to get up in the morning, if they might not have that,” Cameron says. “It gives them a reason to be happy. To find joy in something.”