The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 30, 2013

2nd Eat. Drink. Bid. set Sunday night

Sports Correspondent

WILSON — O’Malley Tunstall PLLP will help host the second nnnual Wags 4 Tags Eat. Bid. Drink fundraiser at On The Square Restaurant in Tarboro from 6-8 p.m. Sunday.

Wags 4 Tags unites rescued dogs from kill shelters and trains them to be companion dogs with psychologically and emotionally impaired veterans in North Carolina.  

That’s because Tarboro’s On the Square is partnering with Wags4Tags to give persons the opportunity to eat, drink and bid during a silent auction.

Almost every cent raised by the organization goes to help the vet as well as his/her future pet.

It costs anywhere from $200-$850 per dog to prepare it for his/her new veteran-owner. This includes, but is not limited to rescue/adoption fees, and cost to spay/neuter, vaccinate, treat for heartworms, take care of other medical issues (such as eye infections, flea infections), micro chip, feed, foster/train, certify. None of these costs are passed on to the veteran.

Ninety-five percent of donations go directly to rescuing, vetting, training, and matching a dog to his or her new Veteran, including any and all supplies the Veteran will need.

Wags4Tags is no stranger to Tarboro, having been in the community for the last two Happening on the Commom events a well as last year’s Eat, Bid,

Both steps addressed by Wags4Tags are important and complement one another, as North Carolina has the third highest military population in the nation and also has the highest pet kill rate in the nation.

Ronnie Sadoski, himself a veteran, explained that Wags4Tags rescues dogs from kill shelters, trains them as companion or emotional support dogs and gives them to our combat veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI and other "invisible" injuries which in turn, leads to a higher risk of violence.

Some 8,000 veterans are thought to die by suicide each year, a toll of about 22 per day, according to a 2012 VA study. The VA acknowledged the numbers might be significantly underestimated because they're based on incomplete data from 21 states, not including Texas or California. Even so, the data documents an increase of nearly 11 percent between 2007 and 2010, the most recent year of data in the study.

The Wags4Tags program offers free services to veterans and relies on fundraisers, sponsorships, grants and donations.

Wags4Tags identifies dogs that could be trained to serve as a companion and works to match them with veterans. Once a match is determined, the dog is put through an extensive training program so they are ready to meet whatever needs — companion support or emotional support — the veteran may have.

Sadoski, who served six years in the Army, said Sadie, his 6-year-old German Shepherd, has helped him with his PTSD: “I can sleep at night because I know Sadie is there looking out for me. What’s more, she not only pulls me out of my nightmares (literally) and like my Guardian, checks on me throughout the night.”

Tickets to Eat, Drink & Bid are $10 in advance and $15 at the door and all proceeds benefit Wags4Tags. For more information, call (919) 522-0575. -