Trip to Denver & Colorado Springs

As usual, overdue in writing about some recent happenings here at Pets for Patriots. One of our most exciting ventures was an April trip to Denver and Colorado Springs, during which I met with the good folks at Fort Carson Army Base.

Mile High in Denver

My time in Denver was jam-packed with meetings, including time with our fabulous and fabulously talented team at Karsh|Hagan. In keeping with their incredible community spirit, these folks provide pro bono marketing, advertising and PR support to our charity – and, we might add – have lots of fun doing it.

Lindsay, Justin, Marissa, Megan

Lindsay, Justin, Marissa + Megan

Here are some of the key members of our upstanding team. Lindsay and Megan are our account leaders, Justin is one of the many Karsh|Hagan interns who have contributed to our brand, and Marissa “graduated” from intern to full-time employee while I was there… woot! Like her teammates, Marissa is super talented: in addition to her marketing prowess, she makes a mean hand-dipped chocolate-covered pretzel. The ones she made for our meeting had red, white and blue sprinkles, natch!

This fabulous foursome presented tons of creative ideas for how to best promote Pets for Patriots in the Colorado region, home to many veterans and service members. We’re fixed on two major fall events in Colorado Springs; I’ll share details as those dates approach.

Time with the Smiths and Browns

Whenever I see the Smiths and Browns, I love to joke about how I feel like I’m visiting people in the Witness Protection Program (of course if that were really true, I wouldn’t know it!). In all seriousness, Antonette Smith and Kathy Brown are two of our Denver-area Board members. It was such a delight to spend time with them, their families and – of course – their dogs.

The Smiths

The Smiths showing off their limited-edition PFP sweatshirts!

Jack, Jeff, Allison, Antonette

Much better! Meet Jack, Jeff, Allison + Antonette

As I said, my trip was action-packed. While there I made a presentation to the Metro Denver Shelter Alliance, a group of area animal shelter directors dedicated to reducing animal homelessness through pet adoption and reunification. Some of the MDSA folks are in the process of becoming Pets for Patriots member shelters, and I met representatives from theColorado Veterinary Medical Association too, who we’re hoping will join our cause.

Go, Army!

The highlight of my trip was visiting the U.S. Army base at Fort Carson. Just for a little extra excitement, I almost didn’t make it into the base. Seriously.

One of our Board members, Kathy Brown, generously lent me a family car during my stay. It came in quite handy, especially making the 2-hour trip from Denver to Colorado Springs. So long story short, I pull up to the base entrance where you have to provide identification… for yourself and the car. Oops.

The soldier who was checking my creds was quite patient while I rummaged through the glove compartment, handing him every scrap of paper I could find. Lots of expired registrations and insurance cards, and finally a current registration – but for the life of me I couldn’t find an up-to-date insurance card. I didn’t think this would be a problem (I thought wrong), and in spite of my begging I was forced to turn around and head to a local supermarket. “What?” you ask, “A supermarket?”

I went to the courtesy desk and called the auto insurer, asking them to fax over a copy of the current insurance. Five minutes, a dollar and a lot of stress later, I headed back down the road to the base where I went through the check-in process a little more gracefully (ok, a lot more).

Mending wounded soldiers: mind, body and spirit

My personal drama behind me, I met with a terrific group of professionals who provide much-needed treatment for physically and psychologically wounded soldiers who are transitioning to civilian life. We spoke at length about the value of a new pet friend for many of these outstanding men and women, who are no doubt at a point in their lives when a few whiskers and wet noses would do them a world of good.

We’re continuing our discussions with the Army staff on how to integrate what we do at Pets for Patriots with their their therapeutic programs. Stay tuned for news as that develops.

Fort Carson

Exiting Fort Carson Army base

Needless to say, I was so terrified when I arrived at the base that I wouldn’t pass security that the only picture I managed to take was on my way out. Til next time, Fort Carson… woot!

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