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story.lead_photo.caption FILE PHOTO/FLIP PUTTHOFF Justin Vandevort, manager of Heritage Indian Motorcycle of Northwest Arkansas in Rogers, plays with Harry, a service dog in training to assist area veterans. Vandevort trains dogs for Soldier On Service Dogs in Fayetteville and brings Harry to the shop each day to get the dog used to being around people and learn commands. Harry will go on to more advanced training before being adopted by an area veteran. "Hero Tales Hangar Party: Red, White and Blue Jeans" on Saturday will benefit Soldier On Service Dogs.

"Hero Tales Hangar Party: Red, White and Blue Jeans" on Saturday at the Arkansas Air & Military Museum in Fayetteville will help provide service dogs for area veterans. The western-theme benefit will include dinner, drinks, dancing, live and silent auctions and a performance by Barrett Baber. General admission tickets are $75 and VIP tickets for $125 that include a pre-event party with Baber.

Dogs are matched with veterans who are in counseling, and whose mental health professionals say they would benefit from and be able to care for the dog. Many of the dogs are teamed with veterans with post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.

Hero Tales Hangar Party: Red, White and Blue Jeans

Who: Soldier on Service Dogs

What: Barrett Baber, dinner, dancing, drinks, auctions

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Arkansas Air & Military Museum, Fayetteville

Tickets: $75 general admission or $125 for VIP

Attire: Western

Information: (479) 521-9301

Volunteer puppy raisers have the dogs from the time they're eight weeks old and, in the ensuing 12 to 14 months, teach the dogs basic obedience and work on socialization. Deb Locander, development manager, said the nonprofit organization is always in need of puppy raisers.

After basic training, the dogs go back to Soldier On for two years of daily training. Dogs are then teamed with veterans, and the two complete six more months of training together. Each dog trained and matched with a veteran costs the nonprofit organization $35,000 to $40,000, Locander said.

Since September 2014, the group has paired seven veterans with service dogs. Four more dogs and veterans are in team training and will graduate in June. Locander said they hope to have placed an additional six dogs by year's end.


NAN Our Town on 03/08/2018

Print Headline: Hangar party helps heroes

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