Veterans Take It All Off to Save Death Row Pit Bulls

RICHMOND HILL, Ga., Dec. 30, 2017 – When an organization whose unofficial motto is “we put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional” decides to do a fundraising calendar, you just might expect something out of the ordinary – and SD Gunner Fund’s “Dudeoir” Calendar will not disappoint!

For those less familiar with the bizarre, “dudeoir” refers to a dude’s take on women’s boudoir-style photography; the result of which ends up being more silly than sexy. Picture your average Joe with a beard and beer belly posing like a pinup girl, and when you’ve conjured up a mental image that you can’t unsee – that’s dudeoir.

SD Gunner Fund (SDGF), a nonprofit based out of Richmond Hill, Georgia, among other things, assists in providing service dogs for veterans and children with disabilities. Funds raised from the calendar sales will go toward furthering their mission and will pay for all adoption fees, basic obedience training and vet care for all the rescue animals featured in the calendar … as well as provide five service animals for wounded veterans. Their goal is to sell 5,000 calendars.

The calendar, aside from the male models, also features pit bulls currently available for adoption from Operation Pitbull: Finding Forever Homes (OPFFH), which is located in Jesup, Georgia. Tammie and Michael Kolb rescue pit bulls from area shelters to keep them from being euthanized. Most of the dogs used in the shoot are currently available for adoption.

This Sunday, volunteers came together in Hinesville, Georgia, to do something none of them had ever done before. For some of them, that meant stripping down to their skivvies and wearing wreaths on their heads. For others it meant directing and photographing half-naked men in “provocative” poses. But for everyone, it meant doing something a bit uncomfortable, slightly awkward, completely hilarious and, most importantly, in support of two great causes.

It is the serious issues of veteran causes, providing service dogs for veterans and children in need and the extremely dire circumstances of pit bull dogs whose very lives are at stake due to breed reputation alone that brought so many people out to get silly and make fools of themselves for something worthwhile.

Scotty Allen and Gregory Tappenden, both currently residing in the area, met while stationed in Germany. Allen was first to sign up for the calendar and then convinced his friend to come along. “I thought why not, it’s a lot of fun and it’s for a good cause,” Allen said. “Hey, you can get half-naked out there in the middle of a field … Is that great or what?” he laughed.

Tappenden was easily convinced. “It’s for a good thing. I like service dogs and I rescued a pit … I figured two causes I’m good for. So I’d help out,” he explained. “I heard they needed fat, tattooed, bearded veterans and I said, hey, I’m all those things! I fit all that criteria!” Tappenden said with unabashed enthusiasm.

That enthusiasm was evident throughout the shoot. From togas to tutus, the volunteer models left much too little to the imagination with their choices of wardrobe and props. It would be stretching the truth to say the photos are tasteful, but they are certainly fun and nothing too risque.

Models are important, but you couldn’t have a photo shoot without photographers – two of which volunteered their time and expertise to help with the project. Stephen McCloskey, a disabled veteran retired from the Army, was first introduced to photography as a form of therapy for his PTSD and it quickly developed into a passion.

McCloskey has a personal connection with both organizations for which the calendar is meant to benefit. He will be receiving a service dog provided through SDGF, and he got to meet his future partner, Blue, there at the photo shoot. Blue is being donated by OPFFH and will be trained through SDGF.

Karolyn O’Cull is a natural light photographer currently residing at Fort Stewart with her active duty husband. O’Cull has a photography business focused on children and families: Ordinarily Perfect. Though admittedly out of her comfort zone shooting men in their boxers, she enjoyed the unique experience and helping out for a good cause.

“Today was about raising awareness on many different platforms,” SDGF founder Britnee Kinard explained. “We chose the dudeoir theme because we wanted to make this fun and outside the norm. However, our main focus was to take veterans and pit bulls, who are often misunderstood, and show everyone that they’re not dysfunctional.

“These pit bulls need homes – good, loving homes. We can’t use them as service dogs for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve a full and loved life. When I told the guys what we were doing, they didn’t hesitate or bat an eye. Majority of them said, ‘Whatever it takes to help them … I’m in!’ That is what I loved most about this shoot,” she said.

“We have laughed more today than I can remember doing in a very long time,” Kinard continued. “Our hearts are full and we are hoping that someone out there will see our calendar and want to adopt these awesome dogs!”

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