BU News

No ordinary wedding shower planned by Brandman employee

May 13, 2015

Natasha Yeates and her fiance Russell Pennington (center) with their wedding party as they prepare for a different kind of wedding shower on May 30.

You could say that Natasha Yeates’ wedding shower is going to the dogs. Instead of receiving the traditional shower of gifts before her wedding, Yeates, a faculty services specialist at the Ontario campus, and her fiancé Russell Pennington are holding a fundraising wedding shower that will benefit Canine Support Teams.

Yeates previously worked as a One Stop student advisor at the Temecula campus(since relocated to Menifee), where a majority of the students were veterans or current military. Those students, what they went through and their struggles to adjust after duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, prompted Yeates to look for a local nonprofit to support that worked with wounded veterans. She found Menifee-based Canine Support Teams, which provides service dogs.

When her family and friends wanted to throw a shower for her November wedding, the couple decided to ask for donations to  Canine Support Teams instead. Their ultimate goal is to raise $6,500 to sponsor a service dog for a young veteran.

Canine Support animals are donated by various breeders. The puppies are assigned to a volunteer for basic puppy training and then sent to the California Institution for Women in Chino where each dog is assigned to an inmate for more advanced training. When the dog is fully trained, Canine Support has a dog-matching service that helps clients find the dog that works best for them.

The “shower” on May 30 will be held at Petco, 40474 Winchester Road, Temecula, California, from noon to 2 p.m. and is open to all. Donations can also be made online through their virtual wedding shower site: http://caninesupportteams.org/natasha-and-russells-virtual-wedding-shower/.

They’ll be serving refreshments provided by Nekter Juice and have doggie treats, fun activities, giveaways and a DJ. Star Wars characters will be in attendance and available for pictures.

Puppy raisers, trainers and clients and service dogs will be at the event and can answer questions about Canine Support.

“I didn’t want to be the center of attention at a shower,” said Yeates. “I really don’t need family and friends to buy us dishes or vacuum cleaners, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to gather the troops and do something nice for someone else.”

They’re spreading the word about the shower by having friends and family post flyers  with a “wish list” from the organization which includes dog food, dog beds and Nylabones as well as office and cleaning supplies for the organization.

The couple, who met in high school and began dating a few years later, hope that everyone tells someone else about the event.

“The goal is not only to raise enough money to get this wounded warrior a service dog, but to bring awareness to this small nonprofit organization in desperate need of support,” wrote Yeates.

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