Two weeks aglogoo I met with a reporter from Folio Weekly, North Florida’s news and opinion magazine, who was interested in writing an article on Guardian Therapy Dogs, the nonprofit organization I created that is committed to providing k-9 guardians and protectors to survivors of rape. They interviewed my wife and me along with a survivor we have been working with. It was a great experience! They made all of us feel very comfortable and it really helped our survivor share her story.

The article was published in the first week of April edition of Folio Weekly. It will be in circulation from April 1-7. It’s also available online here.

After hearing about the first One Spark event in 2013, I was motivated to start Guardian Therapy Dogs and bring my organization to the event and enter it into the competition. It was a great feeling of accomplishment to raise over $1,000 for Guardian Therapy Dogs and to help it get off the ground, but it was more than just the money to me. It was about what I had created and how it would help others.

Starting Guardian Therapy Dogs had always been in the back of my mind but participating in One Spark really pushed me to actually take action. It inspired me to create this wonderful organization that I’m proud to be a part of and it motivated me to be a better person by continuing to give back to the community.

Just being around people who are motivated by a social movement is very empowering. It’s almost a contagious feeling that I think many others will experience just by attending One Spark, let alone competing. I really feel like it helps to revitalize the community and invigorates the people of Jacksonville. You can feel it when you’re there. Everyone is so alive and present. One Spark turns the city into a vivacious hub for artists, innovators, entrepreneurs and the like. It really is the pulse of the city. I wish the feeling would last longer. One Spark helps to enlighten the city and make it more modern.

I think by creating this new “social good” category at One Spark, it will really open up the playing field for other social entrepreneurs like myself to get inspired and come out to participate. I wish they had this category when I was competing, but for me, it’s not really about the money. It’s about the empowerment I felt while preparing for the event.

I am very grateful to folio weekly for interviewing us and publishing an article on Guardian Therapy Dogs. At this point, we really need the exposure to find committed foster families for the German Shepherd puppies. We need responsible local families to provide a prescribed program of socialization and obedience training for our puppies.

Raising a Guardian Therapy Dog is a profound act of generosity that your whole family can experience together and be proud of. We do ask that the dog master must be a female and be committed to the objectives of the organization. Guardian Therapy Dogs will live with the foster family until the dog is about 6-7 months old. At that time, the Guardian Therapy Dog will be eligible for adoption by a rape survivor. The foster family may also be actively involved in the process of naming the dog and delivering the dog to the survivor.

It’s been an honor to be at the forefront of such an amazing organization and it fills my heart with joy to be able to service the survivors of Jacksonville, but my job is far from over. There is still so much I want to do and so many places I want to go with this organization. We want to expand our business but we need the help of others. We need dedicated foster families to join our cause. We need vets and volunteers dedicated to our cause. In order to become a more worthwhile venture, we need to expand but it’s going to take more man power. We need donated items (dogs, dog items, vet fees, volunteers, etc.)

I’m hoping this article will help us gain some much needed exposure and clout. I’ve laid the ground work, now I just need to continue to put the puzzle together.

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