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Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Art auction to provide healing for vets with PTSD through pets

Last Modified: Thursday, June 06, 2013 10:19 AM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

The People’s Advocate of Southwest Louisiana will host its annual The People’s Art Auction fundraiser 6-9 p.m. Sunday at Harlequin Steakhouse, 501 W. College St.

“The main goal of The People’s Advocate is to prevent family violence,” said Beth Zilbert, the group’s executive director. “There are a number of ways we do that.”

Among the group’s services is the New Leash on Life program, which rescues abandoned or abused dogs. The animals go through training and end up in the hands of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The animals in a household are part of the cycle of violence too,” Zilbert said. “They can be abused as well as the children and the partners.”

Rescued dogs begin their journey through the program at the Juvenile Detention Center, where they are trained by children in the system. The dogs then move on to the Open Door Program, where they are trained by female inmates at the Calcasieu Correctional Center, Zilbert said.

“Through this program, all along the way there is healing happening at both ends of the leash,” she said. “There is work and rehabilitation going into the dog and the person that is handling and training the dogs. Everyone along the way who is participating is learning the gift of selfless love.”

The patriot dogs ultimately find a home with a veteran who is working to overcome PTSD.

“These dogs end up going on to help these people who have literally put their lives on the line to protect us,” Zilbert said. “These therapy dogs help them get back to being able to live the same life that they put their lives on the line to protect.”

Money raised through the auction also helps fund legal representation for clients at the Oasis women’s shelter and help immigrants who are victims of crime or violence.

“We’re helping people get their lives back together and back on track,” Zilbert said. “This helps get them back to trying to reach their goals and dreams before they got sidetracked by the violence they became a victim of.”

Zilbert said there is “something for everyone” at the art auction.

Some of the items up for auction include jewelry, paintings, pottery, dog grooming packages, one-of-a-kind artistic pieces, and commemorative books.

Zilbert said door prizes will be given away every 20-30 minutes.

Tickets are $35 and include hors d’oeuvres.

For more information, call 436-3475 or visit thepeoplesadvocateswla.com.

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