A tail of survival: South St. Paul artist paints calendar highlighting rescue turned therapy dogs

9:06 AM, Jan 2, 2013   |    comments
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SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. - As we turn the page into 2013, a South St. Paul artist hopes you can help support his monthly mission, a calendar created to highlight four legged heroes, the resilience of Minnesota's remarkable rescue turned therapy dogs.

Paul Sansale is an illustrator and painter inspired to bring a dozen inspiring dogs to the page.

In his second calendar, Sansale and his wife Lynn combined two of their passionate causes, veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and rescue dogs, specifically in the case of veterans, their canine comrades who save them and help heal invisible wounds.

"Unforgiving love, they love you no matter what happens, and they have a real sixth sense of what people seem to need," said the couple.

The idea came they met Lucy, a life changing therapy dog belonging to Lynn Sansale's co-worker. The Sansales' then adopted their own rescue dog, and their project was soon born.

The 2013 calendar cover features Fitz, an English cocker spaniel that calms a Cannon Falls National Guardsman who served in Iraq. Hector, a pit bull mix, is another star. He was rescued from the Michael Vick dog fighting ring and is a now therapy dog at Mayo Clinic. Toby, a Great Pyrenees rescue wraps up the year as Mr. December. He was once a sickly humane society pup whose gentle nature now soothes kids with autism when he regularly visits an autism day treatment center, where his owner, Yvonne Duperon works.

"It looks like he is smiling all the time, the kids just love it, they are climbing all over him and he is not bothered a bit by it," said Duperson and husband Larry Quinn, of Minnetonka.

The calendar is sold at all 18 Frattelone's Hardware locations across the metro for $14.99. Every penny will go toward finding a service dog for MN veterans with PTSD. Sansale hopes to sell 1,000 calendars for the cause. Turn to every page, and read each hounds' heartwarming story, and it's hard to tell who exactly has been rescued.

"Saving dogs and saving vets is the perfect thing for this calendar,
the couple said. "They are rescues, helping rescue vets."

Sansale is currently painting his 2014 calendar, which will entirely feature the service dogs of veterans around the country, in which he and Lynn traveled more than 6,000 miles to interview veterans with PTSD personally, as well as photograph their dogs for the future paintings.

They hope to someday bring a veterans service dog training program to Minnesota.

You can also purchase calendars on their website.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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