Veterans of Foreign Wars organizations work to train and place service dogs with members.

National President of the VFW Auxiliary Peggy Haake stopped in Pratt on October 12 as part of her 50-state-tour to promote a service dog project. Several members of the Pratt VFW Post 1362 and the Post 1362 Auxiliary were on had to meet with Haake and share refreshments with her before she traveled to other Kansas Auxiliary chapters. Also present at the visit was Kansas VFW Post 1362 Auxiliary Vice President Gail Vance.

Haake is taking the lead to establish a new program to train service dogs for military veterans.

"Veterans sometimes need a little help from a service dog to make their life easier," she said. "Whether its from an injury or disease or just getting up in years, a dog can be a welcome helper in the home."

Haake said the motto of the project is "Aloha," which means love, peace and compassion. Service dogs donated by a woman in Northern California are being trained at a VFW post in California. Veterans must be a member of the VFW for at least one year to qualify for a dog.

Currently, the post is training three new pups for the project. The training period lasts for two years with time spent with the veteran to assure the veteran wants the dog, Haake said.

The most common dog used in the program is the Labrador retriever. Labs tend to have a calm personality and at the same time are strong animals, according to Haake.

Her stop in Pratt was the 23rd since she began her tour on Aug. 4. Haake said she appreciates everyone taking time out from their busy schedule to visit with her. Further information on the project is available through Bruce Riecke at