At the invitation of Councilman Paul Price Jr., Canine Angels was invited to appear before Horry County Council in Conway, S.C., on June 4. Rick Kaplan and his 10 service dogs took the floor before a packed house.
Kaplan presented Canine Angels' charitable mission: to rescue dogs from local shelters, to train and donate them to disabled veterans from our area. Some of his angels demonstrated tasks they can perform for a disabled handler, such as retrieving dropped items, providing stability, and picking up a cane. Accompanying Kaplan were Marine veteran Larry McMahan, his wife, Piper Belanger, and their service dog, Abby. McMahan and Belanger spoke eloquently before the panel about the myriad ways Abby has helped McMahan regain his independence and confidence, and the huge difference she has made in both their lives.
Kaplan and his trusty "McMahan Service Trio" brilliantly articulated Canine Angels' passion for helping veterans live the full lives to which they are entitled, with the help of certified service dogs.
"It's a win all the way around, We ease overcrowding in shelters by adopting doomed dogs, who are ultimately headed for the needle," said Kaplan, whose flawlessly behaved pack is comprised entirely of rescues. "The dogs find purposeful lives saving and serving our nation's heroes. The dogs win. The shelters win. The veterans, their families and the community wins."
On hearing Canine Angels accomplishments, Horry County Council members voted to give the nonprofit a grant to support the adoption, training, care and feeding, and placement of a service dog from start to finish. Once selected, this special pup will be dedicated to the council for their generosity and support. The Angels team will keep their fans, supporters, and council members abreast of every step of the dog's development, placement and partnership.
"We are proud to be recognized for the far reaching gifts our dogs bring to everyone they touch, and we are honored to have the friendship, respect, and support of Horry County Council," Kaplan said. "God Bless, and thank you!"