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The nonprofit organization Canines with a Cause specializes in helping shelter dogs find homes by training them as companions. One of the programs is called Dogs for Vets that places these dogs with military veterans to help them adjust to normal life. (Photo courtesy of Canines with a Cause)
The mission of Artique boutique in Kamas is evolving.

Formerly known as the Starving Artist Exchange, Artique focused on giving local, up-and-coming artists a venue to show and sell their works.

In the past couple months, owner Katie Stellpflug has joined forces with other organizations to promote their missions while artists exhibit their wares.

In August, Artique presented an artist opening featuring My Urban Farm, founded by Kamas resident Rolf Petersen and Salt Lake City's Casey Wright.

The two build self-contained structures for gardening and farming.

This month, Artique will host Canines with a Cause, a nonprofit organization that helps shelter dogs find homes by training them to work as companions.

"These types of events expose Artique to different people," Stellpflug said. "There are many people who don't know we're out here or don't know what we're about.

"There are also so many nonprofits in this area and they all do great things, and when we join up with them, there's more of a chance that other people will attend the event," she said.

One of Canines with a Cause's missions is a placement program called Dogs for Vets, said Canines with a Cause founder and executive director Cathy King.

"We work with shelter dogs and train them to be companions for military veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder," King told The Park Record.


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"According to the Veterans Administration and local vet centers, there are more than 700 vets who suffer from this disorder and live in these two counties, and the dogs we place with these vets help them readjust to normal life."

There are certain steps the dogs go through before they find homes, King explained.

"We keep our dogs in Heber City in temporary, volunteer foster residences to assess them for health and temperament after we pull them from the shelters," she said. "From there, we transfer them to the two separate prisons in Utah where they will live and be trained by inmates who qualify for our program for six months.

"It's fabulous for us because after six months time, the dogs are ready to be placed with the veterans who are in need of assistance," King said. "And the inmates who trained the dogs have also benefited by the dogs' companionship."

The dogs are then placed with veterans.

"We see changes in these veterans' lives every day," King said. "A week or so after we place the dogs, we'll get an email or a call by some of the veterans who tell us the dogs saved their lives.

"They tell us they are able to get out because they have to walk the dog and they can sleep because they feel safe and comfortable with a dog in the house," she said.

One of the most important aspects of the veterans' relationships with the canines is that the dogs show unconditional love, said King, who is a former executive director of Friends of Animals Utah, another nonprofit animal rescue organization.

"The dogs don't judge the veterans," she said. "They are always happy to see their vets and wag its tail and lick their faces, even when the vets are depressed or are feeling anxiety."

Canines for a Cause took root at the Friends of Animals Utah rehabilitation ranch in Brown's Canyon a couple of years ago.

"That was the time when we really started hearing about exponential cases of post traumatic stress among our veterans," King said. "They were coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and the suicide rates in that their communities were going through the ceiling.

"So we thought it would be a great idea to pair a dog with them as part of our animal therapy mission," she said.

The Artique event is a "fabulous opportunity" for Canines with a Cause, King said.

"This will help us create awareness to the folks of Wasatch and Summit counties about the services Canines with a Cause provides," she said. "Many people don't know about our program, but can come and learn a little more about what we do and enjoy some art in that wonderful little venue in Kamas."

An artist named Mary Ellen Hunter, a long-term volunteer with Canines with a Cause, introduced Stellpflug to King.

"I had mentioned possibly hosting events and fundraisers for other nonprofit organizations and Mary Ellen, who was a cyber artist, and mentioned that Canines with a Cause is an organization that she has worked with," Stellpflug said.

Friday's event will feature art by the various Artique artists, but also photographs and information about Canines with a Cause.

"We'll have a sign-up list for anyone who wants to contribute or volunteer and there will be some goodies and drinks as well," Stellpflug said. "We'll also donate a percentage of the art sales to Canines with a Cause."

Artique, 283 Main St. in Kamas, will host Art with a Cause with the nonprofit organization Canines with a Cause for its First Friday artist opening on Friday, Sept. 6, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www. canineswithacause.com.