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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2013:04:07 13:51:48

From left: Alanna Pettersen, Juliette Pettersen, holding Reese, and Alyssa Stauffer, holding Willow. Reese and Willow were the winners of the “cutest dog” title at the puppy pageant at the inaugural Operation: Tails for Troops, held last year at the Abington Dog Park. PHOTO STEPHANIE LONGO

The puppy brigade is set to charge the Abington Dog Park for the second year in a row this Sunday, April 13, when, at thirteen hundred hours (1 p.m.), Operation: Tails for Troops is set to commence.

The Marywood University Student Veteran Alliance will host the event, which helped purchase a service dog for a wounded veteran last year through the New Mexico-based organization Paws and Stripes, which rescues and trains shelter dogs to become service dogs for wounded veterans. Julia Casper, a Marywood student who is also an active military veteran, explained that the main purpose of the event is to help bring awareness to post-traumatic stress disorders and traumatic brain injuries.

“So many people do not realize that this is actually happening and that the veterans can’t just take a pill to make it go away,” said Casper, who will deploy again for service five days after the event. “This is something that they are going to live with for the rest of their lives and it is all our responsibility to become aware of this and help someone who has given so much for us.”

“I have served with people who would benefit from a situation like this, and if the tables were turned and I needed this wonderful donation, I would hope that the community would support me, “ she added. “It is all our responsibility to help one another for every cause because we are willing and able.

Casper said that this year’s event will see the return of the popular K-9s and Crowns dog pageant, which will feature a dog costume contest, as well as basket raffles and local dogs that are up for adoption. In addition, she has personally attended local Veterans of Foreign Wars post meetings as well as local legion meetings as an attempt to stir up more support. Local food vendors as well as an animal chiropractor, dog training and other demonstrations will be a part of the day’s festivities.

“Just because we have taken off our uniform doesn’t mean we have stopped serving,” Casper said. “We will continue to serve our brothers and sisters as long as we breathe because we all know and all have that part of our life that we share. It is an understanding and respect that reaches beyond our uniforms and into our hearts.”

The Abington Dog Park is located behind Hillside Park at the intersection of Winola Road and Grove Street in Clarks Summit. All dogs attending the dog park for the event must be leashed at all times. For more information on Paws and Stripes, visit For more information on Operation: Tails for Troops, visit