In January 2010, Helena Rozo Drori founder of Rosso’s International introduced the “Seeds for Pups” program of organic grow kits to raise money for a group providing service dogs to injured U.S. veterans. Rosso’s International teamed up with the non-profit organization NEADS, based out of Massachusetts for the program.
After much success with Rosso’s expanding line of environmentally friendly bamboo ecopots, Drori created the grow kits that are tied in to a charitable concept that would give back to veterans in her community. Each organic grow kit includes a bamboo ecopot and saucer along with an organic soil wafer, seeds and detailed growing instructions on how to successfully grow one of 12 styles of herbs, used mostly in cooking. The herbs include: sweet basil, marjoram, lemon basil, thyme, Thai basil, Greek oregano, chamomile, Italian parsley, garlic chives, cilantro, chives and catnip.
Each grow kit has a suggested retail price of $11.99 and 100 percent of the profits of each item sold goes directly to NEADS aiding in the training and providing of service dogs for U.S. veterans that have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with devastating injuries. With more than $10,0000 raised so far, Rosso’s is currently tracking the progress of Ginger, a puppy currently undergoing her second stage of training, which includes socialization and exposure to loud noises, traffic and trips out in public. She has been placed with a carefully chosen inmate within the Massachusetts Department of Corrections and is trained eight hours each day.
Because Ginger needs her foster parents’ 24-hour attention during this training period, a rehabilitated inmate becomes the perfect companion and she is expected to complete training in 12-15 months as opposed to the four years it once took when dogs were crated during the day and trained whenever possible. NEADS trainers watch over her weekly progress at the correctional facility and volunteers pick her up on weekends where she attends family soccer games and acclimates to public surroundings and household noises. Once Ginger is fully trained, she will be provided to a Florida veteran, local to Rosso’s International.
Veteran Christian Fleming already has his service dog, Jonesy, who was trained by inmates at JJ Moran Correctional Facility in Rhode Island. Also wounded in combat, he has suffered great physical trauma overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a bi-lateral amputee below the knee due to an I.E.D. explosion in June of 2009. He calls his service dog and companion a “truly a life-altering gift.”
To learn more about the “Seeds for Pups” program, please visit the Rosso’s International website. A link to NEADS allows easy access to see how each donation is changing the lives of fellow Americans.