CHAMPS CT launches 12th annual campaign
MLI’s President and CEO, Perry Baltimore, and the Vice President of Children’s Programs, Kimberly McCasland, traveled to Greenwich, Connecticut, in early April to launch CHAMPS Connecticut’s 12th annual campaign. The Team travels each spring and fall to beautiful Connecticut to engage students, teachers, and community members, and to share information about the ongoing landmine crisis around the world. CHAMPS CT Chair, Ms. Betsy Parkinson works tirelessly to bring CHAMPS back to Connecticut each year – an endeavor that has sponsored 11 lifesaving Mine Detection Dogs and helped dozens of landmine survivors in Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Iraq, and Yemen. The Team visited many schools on the week-long trip, including a visit to a new CHAMPS School, The Meade School in Stamford, CT.
This visit was also a poignant one for Kimberly and her daughter Rachel, who were spending their last full week with MLI’s Canine Ambassador, MDD Nutmeg. MDD Nutmeg, who was sponsored through the CHAMPS CT Campaign in 2008, worked seven years sniffing out mines in Lebanon. For the past year, however, she has lived with Kimberly and Rachel, serving as MLI’s Canine Ambassador and traveling around the U.S. with Kimberly to visit schools and involve more youth in CHAMPS. One of the key functions for MLI’s Canine Ambassador has always been to show children how a dog is able to “sniff out” the explosive odor in mines by performing short demonstrations at schools. However, MDD Nutmeg decided that her sniffing days were over and could not be convinced or motivated to perform any demonstrations, despite much cajoling, treats, and training! Therefore, at 10-years old, MDD Nutmeg was officially retired and has joined a CHAMPS family in Maryland. The family’s two boys (see photo below), attend the Glenelg Country School in Ellicott City, MD, a CHAMPS school that has sponsored five MDDs and provided prostheses for 7 survivors over the past nine years. On April 7th, at an official “Handing over the Lead” ceremony at the Glenelg Country School – Nutmeg was fully retired and became part of her new family!
In her retirement, Nutmeg spends time at Glenelg Country School, goes to the beach with her new family, and enjoys reading and watching TV with the children. She is being honored for the lives that she has saved and improved in Lebanon, and enjoys the loving retirement that she has earned. Kimberly and Rachel miss Nutmeg, but are comforted knowing that she is being provided a warm and loving home where she can enjoy her golden years. MLI is in the process of selecting the new Canine Ambassador for Kimberly and Rachel, so stay tuned for updates on the newest member of the MLI team!