By Zuri Cheathem
CBS 62/CW 50 Intern

You and your family can grab a little barbeque on August 5th to help fund Stiggy’s Dogs, a nonprofit veteran organization that rescues and trains shelter dogs to become psychiatric service dogs for Michigan military vets.

Stiggy’s Dogs was founded in 2009 by Jennifer Petre, aunt of Benjamin Phillip “Doc Stiggy” Castiglione. Stiggy served as a soldier in the Marines, working as a Medical Corpsman in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. He was known for wanting to improve physical and emotional health, being determined and caring for his fellow soldiers until his death of September 3, 2009.

Stiggy’s Dogs was started to carry on his work.  Many veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  The dogs are trained to perform many tasks to help their handlers with anything needed. All dogs in the organization are rescued, coming from humane societies and shelters. Stiggy’s Dogs specializes in helping write happy ending for both rescue dogs and veterans.

You can help this wonderful organization by joining them for the 2nd annual Bark E Que Fundraiser! The event will take place on Friday, August 5, 2016 at Barrister Gardens in St. Clair Shores from 5pm to 10pm. This fun-filled fundraiser will include a yappy hour, drinks, dinner, raffles, entertainment, face painting, and military item displays.

Hand-made by Karen Straffon of Algonac, MI. (Photo Credit: Karen Straffon)

Hand-made by Karen Straffon of Algonac, MI. (Photo Credit: Karen Straffon)

There will also be a silent auction featuring hand-made quilts by Karen Straffon of Algonac, MI that honor Stiggy’s Dogs and rescue animals.  Stuffed service dogs will also be available for sale as part of the fundraising effort. One special note about these stuffed service dogs is the Velcro on their vests is from the uniforms of SGT Joe Lilly who was killed in Afghanistan on June 14, 2012.

Hand-made by Karen Straffon of Algonac, MI. (Photo Credit: Karen Straffon)

Hand-made by Karen Straffon of Algonac, MI. (Photo Credit: Karen Straffon)

Tickets are $35 before August 5th, $50 at the door, and $10 for kids under 12 years old. For more information about Stiggy’s Dogs, visit

Zuri Cheathem is a recent graduate of North Farmington High School in Farmington Hills, Michigan and will be attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in the fall. He is an Emma Bowen Foundation intern and will be majoring in Business Administration-Marketing. 


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