In the Community

Veteran and ‘Best Wag’ Sidekick Spread Joy

Dawn Slaven’s military service took her overseas to Germany and Bosnia. Once she returned stateside, she decided to foster a dog. But her plans soon changed.

“In 2010, I fostered Chester, but then I fell in love and decided to adopt him,” Slaven said. “He’s been my best buddy ever since.”

In true best-friend fashion, Slaven and Chester do most everything together — including helping their community.

“I enjoy volunteering. When I adopted Chester, I wanted to be able to keep doing it but also spend time with him,” Slaven explained. “So I got him registered as a therapy dog so he could volunteer along with me.”  

Together, the pair is #StillServing across their community. They visit residents of assisted living centers, participate in veterans’ events, help children improve their reading skills as part of a local library’s Read-to-a-Dog program and help college students reduce stress during exam weeks.

Slaven also likes taking Chester to VFW and Military Women’s Memorial events. After each experience, people seem to leave feeling better.

“I like to bring Chester to these events because his constantly wagging tail always attracts attention and brings a smile to the face of everyone who meets him,” Slaven said. “He even won a contest for ‘Best Wag’! That tail has helped me become acquainted with a lot of people!”

If you’re a veteran with a #StillServing story to share, we want to hear from you.

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