Thursday, January 14, 2010

Navy Hospital Camp LeJeune Clears the Way for Corpsman to Get His Psychiatric Service Dog

Terry Henry, The paws4vets Advocate
Jacksonville, NC

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The Tuesday meeting was cordial, educational and graciously hosted by Captain Cox, Commanding Officer, U. S. Navy Hospital, Camp LeJeune. We discussed many topics -- some personal, many professional. We learned that all were gathered to put behind us the tumultuous last four months and to start anew in a “mutually” agreed to mission of getting HM2 Buf Kloppenborg his Psychiatric Service Dog, SALLY.

I was honored and proud to personally meet Captain Cox; Captain Aiyelawo, Executive Officer; Command Master Chief Terry Prince; and Mr. Raymond Applewhite, Public Affairs Officer. It was truly a pleasure to meet with four such distinguished military leaders with their knowledge, experience and number of years of dedicated service to our country. I was humbled.

paws4vets was represented by Ms. Kyria Henry, Deputy Executive Director, paws4people, and the Executive Director, paws4prisons. Also present were Mrs. Allison Kaminsky, Director, Medical Evaluation Team, paws4vets; and Mr. Brandon Gregory, Client Advocate, Medical Evaluation Team, paws4vets.

All participated in a lively and informative discussion centered around Psychiatric Service Dogs, including their application, role, training and capabilities. We discussed many issues involving the Navy and the ways in which Captain Cox, his Command, and the personnel on HM2 Kloppenborg’s Treatment Team could support the efforts the gain HM2 Kloppenborg his Psychiatric Service Dog.

The bottom line: HM2 Koloppenborg and SALLY are much closer to becoming a working Service Dog Team than they have ever been.

The following three mission-critical components were agreed to:

1. HM2 Kloppenborg will begin his transfer training on February 2, 2010 at FPC Alderson, Alderson WV. This is one of five U.S. Bureau of Prisons facilities that host the paws4prisons Assistance Dog Training Program. Here, SALLY and HM2 Kloppenborg will begin their transfer training. This training will be conducted under the auspices of the paws4vets’ Medical Evaluation Team and HM2 Kloppenborg’s U.S. Navy Medical/Psychiatric Treatment Teams. This training will take place over the next several months until the point in time where HM2 Kloppenborg and SALLY function together as a team and HM2 Kloppenborg can effectively utilize SALLY to re-integrate into society. HM2 Kloppenborg and SALLY’s transfer training will occur every two-to-four weeks, depending on the ability of HM2 Kloppenborg to cope with the stress and anxiety which will result from the public access training aspects of the transfer training syllabus.

2. HM2 Kloppenborg will be provided TAD orders to accomplish his transfer training requirements.

3. HM2 Kloppenborg’s medical and psychiatric treatment teams and the paws4vets Medical Evaluation Team will be able to collaborate completely and fully in support of HM2 Kloppenborg’s transfer training. In the future, such cooperation shall also be accomplished for each paws4vets Camp LeJeune client, whether Sailor or Marine.

We sincerely appreciate the opportunity we had to meet with the senior Command staff and for the opportunity to get to know and understand each other and each organization’s mission.

I sincerely hope that from the tumultuous beginnings, a new and mutually beneficial long-term relationship can be forged. Such will ensure that Captain Cox and myself, as we both progress through our remaining careers, can bring more Service Dogs with the benefits they bestow, to more Sailors and Marines.

I look forward to working with Captain Cox to make this relationship a reality.

P.S. A very special thanks to my two friends, Mr. Clay Rankin, AW2 Advocate, VA Medical Center, Clarksburg, WV; and Mr. Ed Salau, Charitable Organizations & VSO Program Coordinator, Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, Camp LeJeune. Without their support, friendship, and guidance, I could not have made it through the past few months, and especially the past two days. These guys are true American heroes, and I am honored to know them.