By Daja Terry
Paws4people will be holding its first arm wrestling challenge series, the Battle of Wilmington, on August 18 at USS North Carolina Battleship Park as part of its paws4vets program. The foundation poses a challenge to all law enforcement, fire rescue and first responders to come arm wrestle each other for prizes and “bragging rights.”
Registration for the event is currently available, and if contestants sign up by August 1, they will receive a $10 discount off the regular entry fee of $30. Spectators need only pay a fee of $5, but children under the age of 12 will be permitted for free.
Paws4people was recently approved in March 2018 for full accreditation and membership into Assistance Dogs International. Their work with dogs started in 1999 with Kyria Henry who, at the time, was just a 12-year-old girl whose goal was to provide service dogs for children and adolescents with physical, neurological, psychiatric, or emotional disabilities, and veterans, service members, and their dependents.
Paws4people has placed more than 600 highly-trained assistance dogs, facility dogs, and emotional support dogs without cost to clients and handlers, ages 6 to 78, in 26 states. All they ask is that their clients “pay it forward” by raising awareness and funds.
Check-in for the inaugural battle will begin at 8 a.m. and since the event will be family-friendly, the Family Fun Zone will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will be able to try their luck at the dunk tank, where they will have the opportunity to soak some important New Hanover County officials.
The net proceeds from the Battle of Wilmington will help paws4people continue to place dogs with veterans in need. The foundation says that participation will help spread awareness about veteran suicide and how effective their K9-centric approach is preventing and/or reducing it. Currently, 22 veterans commit suicide each day, and the organization hopes that support and involvement in this event will help to curb that number. Paws4people places high-trained, customized service dogs with veterans battling post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma or traumatic brain injury.
Paws4people urges people to “join [them] at the Battleship Park and be ready to flex your muscles for a good cause.” If participants sign up prior to July 28, they will receive an event T-shirt and swag bag. Registration can be found at www.p4varmwrestling.org.