IAWP Leader Named One of 20 “Exceptional Women” For Connecting Dog Rescue and Veterans Mental Health

DeeDe Baker, a longtime leader of the International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP) was recently recognized as one of Montana’s 20 Exceptional Women.

Baker founded, the nonprofit organization Dog Tag Buddies after her husband was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder following an 18-month deployment to Iraq in 2005.

“Doctors made it very clear the primary treatment goal would be medication,” Baker said. One VA psychiatrist was adamant, “We have very good drugs these days. They just help cool the brain down. These drugs will change your life.” However Baker’s husband responded, “No way, I don’t need your drugs.”

Eventually, her husband discovered just hanging with his dogs, whether it was with his little buddy in the garage, or laying on the floor surrounded by four-legged love, helped ease the tension, anxiety, anger, and some of the other emotions that are present with these conditions.