July, 2017

Ulysses – Weeks 24 – 27
Maggie – Weeks 4 – 8

Still catching up, so mostly photos!

ULYSSES

We had a training class in the historic area of St. Augustine.  Ulysses did really well with all the distractions.  Knowing that his time was short with me, I took the opportunity to take a few photos of him in the square.

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The big blonde boy represented K9s well at the Red, White and Brew Run fundraiser held at Your Pie.  Troop (black lab) and Hercules (black mouth cur mix) rounded out the pups that brought their raisers to the event. 

 

Ulysses, such a handsome boy.  He did great at the class held in Publix.

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He also went to his first movie.  Did really, really well!

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MAGGIE

She’s growing! Long legs (and likes to steal the recliner from me)!

 

Crazy puppy likes to lay down to eat dinner!  The last pic was after a play date at Camp K9.  She was so hot and tired, she sprawled in the back of my truck to get her water!

 

Typical Lab ….  on her back to sleep no matter where she’s sleeping.
The last pic ….  that ear!

 

Maggie got to go with me to get my truck detailed.

 

Who is that pretty girl, Momma?

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Ulysses and Maggie, together

These two are such best buddies!

4th of July.  Maggie refused to wear the hat! LOL

 

Anatomy of sharing the same bed

 

Playtime!

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The Pack!

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The Pack, 3 weeks later!

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One day on my way to Camp K9, I was fortunate to see the new van featuring the dogs heading out!

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And yes! We do use agility equipment as a part of training the service puppies. It gives them confidence and helps them be unafraid of different surfaces and situations.

K9s FOR WARRIORS … around the web

Mom (Shari Duval), Yaunce and C4 were interviewed on Fox and Friends because Yaunce’s employer, Cincinnati Bell, told him he could not bring his service dog to work. Not only does this violate the ADA, the company KNEW why he took 3 weeks off to go to Florida.  This makes my blood boil!

 

The July Class!!!

 

 

 

 

 

I have to share Amanda’s comment that she posted on the above photo: “Lazer helped me to know that I have a purpose in life and I’m not self harming myself anymore. She always has my six and is protecting me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See an in-depth version of Warrior McLean’s story here, and how our incredible partner Merrick Pet Care helps him and other veterans.  …  “Merrick was in one of the second wards I walked through one day. He was a chocolate lab who had been a stray on one of our downtown streets….”

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Until next time, be safe.
This blog covers July  3-30, 2017

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June 2017, Catching Up

Ulysses  – Weeks 20 – 23
Maggie – Weeks 1 – 4

To Ulysses’ and Maggie’s future warriors – my apologies for falling so far behind in their blogs. Life sometimes throws some serious curves into the roads we travel. Will at least catch up on photos of their puppyhood!

 

Ulysses

Top 2 photos are during training.
Bottom 2 – my how he has grown into his crate!

 

Saturday of errands started with an appointment for blood work (photo #2). The phlebotomist was horribly afraid of dogs, but Ulysses is so sweet, she was smitten by the time we left.  After blood work, we stopped at Metro Diner for breakfast. Our waitress made sure to bring Ulysses some water too.  After a couple more stops, we ended up at the Hallmark store to pick up a thank you card for Kathy, our fearless leader of the puppy raising program!

 

Playdate at K9s!  Ulysses had so much fun playing with the other dogs in the program. Can’t you see the smile on his face?!?!?!!!  He is such a happy boy! And the fuzzy black dog is his sister Coal.

 

Ulysses wasn’t fazed by the movers in the office, or being at the doctors office, or wandering around Home Depot where we had our puppy class!

 

Ulysses had a grand time working at the 4th of July 5k run.  The 3 guys pictured below spent a good bit of time with us and were great to talk with.

RedWhiteBrewVets

 

Maggie

 

We had to take a headshot for her ID card. The first 3 photos were the different poses – the one in the middle is my favorite!

The bottom 3 photos are in the back yard at work, taking a break.

 

A stuffed soccer ball makes a great pillow.
She actually stole those slippers from underneath a co-worker’s desk. They’re about as big as she is.
Little girl riding in the big truck!

 

She’s a real snuggle-bug, laying on the bed with one of my dogs, Midget.

 

Crazy puppy. Eats her food laying down and then bites at the A/C in the truck!
Bottom photo – looking out the back window at the geese.

 

She helped Momma find cold medicine … from the pharmacy and the liquor store!
She sat in front of Early Times Whiskey to thank them for making their documentary, “Reinforcements!”
Bottom photo – not afraid of the noisy key machine at Lowes!

 

More cute and adorable photos!

 

Maggie had a wonderful opportunity to look into her future, spending an evening with Warrior Amanda and her service dog, Lazer!  (If you remember, Lazer graduated with Bella in March, 2017.)

 

Service Dog in Training and Service Dog.

 

Maggie is a wiggle butt and wouldn’t let Amanda snuggle with her, but she tried!

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Ulysses and Maggie!

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Some videos that Karen took at our Home Depot training class.

 

 

The June Class at K9s for Warriors

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Study Seeks to Quantify Effects of Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD

According to the United States Veterans Administration, 22 veterans commit suicide each day, and at least 40 percent have been diagnosed with PTSD. The rate could be even higher, as many cases of PTSD go undiagnosed….

NIH-funded research project to study effectiveness of K9s for Warriors program

To date, the Veterans Administration (VA) has not funded service dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD, citing insufficient scientific data to support their effectiveness. Led by Dr. Maggie O’Haire of Purdue’s Center for the Human-Animal Bond, the NIH-funded research project will attempt to provide that data….

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Until next time, be safe.
This blog covers June 5 – July 2, 2017

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Double Trouble!

Week 19 started with a Memorial Day 5k to benefit K9s for Warriors.  Ulysses and I worked the table, so we were there bright and early at 6:30am. Met some really nice folks, and Ulysses learned more about behaving around other dogs.  Mia and Sammy were at the event as well!

 

 

Training class was at the Nocatee Publix. We walked through the freezer section and meet section to see if there was any reaction to the compressors.  Opened and closed freezer doors. Kathy dropped treats on the floor so we could work “Leave It”. She also dressed in a crazy hat, sunglasses and used a cane to see if the dogs reacted in a negative way … or even paid her any attention at all. Coaxed them all up on the scale since it’s a different type of surface, and none too stable. The pic below is outside at the end of class. One of the Publix employees pushed a bunch of carts by us … that was Ulysses’ reaction.

 

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Meet Maggie

Our puppy raiser program is growing but not quite fast enough. On June 1st, K9s received 2 black lab puppies, 9 weeks old, and no where to put them.  I guess my friend Kristen and I are both a wee bit crazy because we told Kathy that even though we had older pups, we could take them until permanent raisers were found. So, Ulysses has a buddy, and my girls (Diva and Dakotah) get a break from playing with him.

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First Pack Photo!

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Maggie’s first few days with us.

Click on the photo to see it larger…

 

 

 

 

 

The Epen was no match for her

 

 

 

 

Be My Neighbor Day at WJCT

Maggie and Garcia started their journey towards their warriors by participating in WJCT’s Be My Neighbor Day at their studios downtown. Kristen and I spent over 4 hours talking to kids and parents about K9s for Warriors, dogs, and not waking up sleeping puppies. Maggie slept through most of the event, while Garcia wiggled in Kristen’s arms/lap. (In the pics, Garcia is sporting his patriotic bowtie.)

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From the Web….

 

Shari Duval, founder of K9s for Warriors, along wtih Shirley Webb and Mai Dinh Keisling were the 2017 EVE Award winners.  (Click on the photo to read the article.)

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Thank you for your service, LaWanna! We appreciate you and your commitment to the red, white, and blue.

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McLean Raybon and his service dog Merrick.  News interview here:

http://www.fox26houston.com/news/257642571-video

 

 

 

There is an epidemic destroying the lives of our veterans; it goes by the name of PTSD. We need help saving our heroes. June is #PTSDAwarenessMonth. Spread the word!

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Check out this video featuring warrior #testimonials on how K9s For Warriors and service dogs change lives.

 

Local veteran returns home with new service dog

Justin Redifer just returned home from a three-week training program with his new service dog, Scout. It wasn’t love at first sight, however. “I’m 6’1, almost 200 pounds,” remarked Redifer. “There is no way this dog is going to pick me up. But I was wrong.”

 

 

Until next time, be safe.
This blog covers May 29 – June 4, 2017

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Shrimp, BBQ and Cabaret

Gonna try to be brief as I really need to catch up!!!

Shrimp’s game

As is his way, Ulysses did great at the Shrimp’s game. A number of kids came up to him, asking to pet him. He was still while they pet his golden locks. The highlight, though, was having South Paw stop by. Ulysses did great with him too! Didn’t shy away; didn’t seem concerned and definitely not aggressive. And yes, we got some good pictures!

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He was so tired at the end of the evening!

 

5 & Dime Cabaret

Some dear friends (and best voices in Jacksonville) were performing in a cabaret for

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Ulysses sports the obligatory program photo

The 5 & Dime, one of our local theatres. Josh’s “best friend” is Ulysses, and Ulysses is my show buddy so you know he had to go with me. (Josh actually came running up saying, “My best friend is here! My best friend is here! Oh, hi Susan.” LOL) Due to some renovations at The 5 & Dime’s theatre, the cabaret was at Bab’s Lab in the Cork District, a location we had not been to before. We arrived early; I got Ulysses out of the truck but did not loop the hands-free leash over my shoulder as I figured we would be inside quickly. So with leash in one hand and treat bag in the other, we walked around the truck to the side-walk to find ourselves charged by a guard dog behind a fence in the space next to Bab’s Lab. Ulysses went berserk, naturally, so now I have a teenage, 55 pound, puppy jumping like a kangaroo while a dog is trying his best to get to us through the fence. I got Ulysses over to where I had something to help me block his view of the other dog, and started settling him down. A gentleman got out of his car and crossed the street, asking if I needed any help. As politely as I could (while my heart rate was at about 180, my brain was racing a mile a minute, and my hands were full), I thanked him but declined his assistance. After I finally calmed Ulysses down, I put the hands-free leash on, filled my hand with treats and readied us to go into the building. It was at that point that I saw that the door to the cabaret wasn’t

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He’s so chill at events!

there on the sidewalk. Nope. Had to walk down a sidewalk between the fenced yard with the dog and the building to get to the door. Oh boy! The dog/fence was on my left, the heeling side, but I decided to keep Ulysses on my left – between me and the fence, right next to the guard dog. We walked over, the dog started his protection and I kept shoving treats at Ulysses. Without any issue, we made it to the door and inside. My first words – can I have a beer! Interestingly enough, the gentleman who offered assistance sat behind me with his family, and at intermission they complimented me on how I handled the situation. I’m glad I didn’t know I had an audience! (And the cabaret was fantastic as always!)

 

 

2nd Annual Military Appreciation
Veterans United Craft Brewery

No automatic alt text available.

 

Ulysses and I had a good time at the Brewery, catching up with friends and enjoying some craft beer.  (Well, I enjoyed the beer; Ulysses watched.)  And the BBQ was fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

From Around the Web…

 

Service Dog Solutions:
Next Steps in Federal Support for Veterans with PTSD

  • About 140,000 of America’s veterans deployed since 9/11 suffer from PTSD. Standard VA treatments have been ineffective, or even made things worse.
  • Service dogs offer an alternative to traditional treatments as highly trained companions that provide emotional support to veterans suffering from PTSD.
  • The proposed PAWS Act sets up guidelines to make service dogs an official treatment option for American veterans—an alternative that Congress should support.

 

 

 

Awesome note from one our warriors.
“I just want to thank K9s For Warriors for introducing me to my new battle buddy. This experience has been life changing in more than one way. First, my battle buddy, Susie, has already changed my life. I’ve heard a few things recently that I don’t hear very often: “you look relaxed,” “you are smiling,” “you look happy, “you don’t look angry.” These may seem like small things, but they are huge in my life. I’ve also had the privilege of meeting some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. Your entire staff and all the volunteers bent over backwards to make us feel at home. I’m not sure if one of the intended results was to change my outlook on humanity, but I witnessed first hand that there are a lot of people that truly care. They aren’t in it for anything but to give to people that are in need. Sometimes we go through life and our experiences begin to form negative opinions that actually become “truths” for us. The last three weeks have challenged those false “truths” in my life. Please share with your staff and volunteers that their hard work and commitment has not gone unrecognized. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

 

 

 

From First Coast News:  One local ninja warrior is testing himself, all to honor his brother, an army veteran who committed suicide.  How he hopes “American Ninja Warrior” will help his cause.

 

Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors, is a Facebook junkie like me.  (Rory, I say that very lovingly.)  For that I’m very grateful as his posts spread the great work that K9s For Warriors is doing … and gives me lots to share with you!

This week, some of our employees participated in “warrior for a day” training. These staff members leashed up to gain insight on what it is like to train with a service dog. We would like to thank all of our wonderful dog and warrior trainers who made this possible. We appreciate your hard work!

 

 

 

 

 

Air Carrier Act has changed – check with airline.

 

 

Susie was at Flagler Humane Society and was sent to K9s For Warriors and trained to be a service dog for her new dad Walter. Here she is at her graduation. Congratulations Susie!

 

 

 

Until next week, be safe.
This blog, week 17, represents May 22nd – 28th, 2017.

 

k9s-for-warriors

Please note that article sources do not indicate my personal political leanings.
If the article is true and supports K9s for Warriors,
I do not care what side of the aisle it was written from!

 

Riding Into History

Before getting into Week 17, a couple of things …. 1) Life has gotten in the way of my blogging, so I’m behind.  This blog is for Week 17, May 15-21. The blog takes a good bit of time, and there just doesn’t seem to be time to sit down to compose and gather info.  Will forge ahead to catch up! 

2) If you were reading my blog last summer, you might remember when Bella and I were privileged to attend a private screening of the new documentary ”Reinforcements.”  (Here’s the blog from July, 2016.) I’ve been waiting and watching for a few months for it to be available online, and it finally is.  Early Times will donate 22 cents to K9s For Warriors for every viewing (up to 50k, which I have no doubt they’ll meet); it’s well worth 30 minutes of your time to watch one of our warriors escort a young man down to Ponte Vedra to see Camp K9.  Beautifully done. (To watch it on their site for the 22 cents to K9s, go to EarlyTimes.com, enter your birth date and view there.)

 

 

And now, Week 17…

RIDING INTO HISTORY

http://www.ridingintohistory.org/

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Ulysses was happy to be doing what he does best – Starting conversations about K9s for Warriors!

https://www.facebook.com/riding.into.history/

So, what is Riding Into History?
From their Facebook page:

Riding into History was founded in 2000 for two purposes. First, to celebrate the long and glorious history of the motorcycle, and second, to support a worthwhile cause.

Riding into History™ (RIH) is a world class Vintage Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance. Since its inception, Riding Into History has been held at the World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida. It has received widespread coverage and articles have been written about it all over the world. It was also nationally featured on the Speed Channel.This competition attracts between 300 and 400 antique and vintage motorcycles each year. Collectors from all over America bring their motorcycles to the show, and they are displayed around the lake which forms the centerpiece of the World Golf Village. 11


There are numerous exhibitors at the 
Concours, as well as representatives from several motorcycle clubs. RIH is a 501(c)3 organization that has contributed over $400,000 to charities. Our chosen charity for 2017 is K9s for Warriors. RIH has no paid staff, and all duties are performed by volunteers. (Note:  K9s for Warriors was also their chosen charity in 2016!)

 

 

Ulysses and I were a part of the morning shift, along with Sammy (Gail and Gary) and Molly (Mary Kay).  This gave me an opportunity to try to get him to behave around other dogs.  With people and kids, he’s great; he loses his mind around other dogs.  He just wants to PLAY!!!

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As usual, we spent time talking with folks about K9s For Warriors, but what was special to me was getting to catch up with Myrtle Hollingsworth.  Myrtle, along with her husband, owned and ran the Harley-Davidson dealership in St. Augustine for more than 60 years.  They were the longest single franchise dealer in the world …  and they are dear family friends.  My one mission at Riding Into History was to find Myrtle, and low and behold, she was sitting caddy-corner across the sidewalk from the K9s for Warriors booth.  We had a great time catching up, and she got to meet Ulysses.

 

RidingIntoHistoryPoster

So, my motorcycling world (got my first bike almost 45 years ago) and my dog world collided that Saturday, and I joke that my theatre world did a drive by.  One of the amazingly talented young people I get to work with in theatre was the model for this year’s RIH poster.  In addition to that, her folks are riders and on the RIH board.  6 degrees of separation?  If it even takes that many.

 

One more thing about Riding Into History – In the past three years, they have sponsored six dogs!!! Triumph, Beemer, Rocket, and Duke are with their warriors; Simon, and Judie are training in the kennels awaiting their match.  The check from the 2017 RIH event will be presented at the June graduation.

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Going to the baseball games on Friday nights is just another night out for Ulysses.  He’s always happiest though when his Aunt Kristen is there with girlfriend, Mia.

 

 

Pictured below…
Diva & Uylsses tuckered out after playing hard enough to knock cushions off the couch.
Lindy tells dad Stuart that it’s too hot to come out of the tunnel at our class.
Ulysses in his “charriot” where he has his own built-in pillow.

 

 

GRADUATION

If you missed the Facebook Live stream that Thursday night, you can view it below.

 

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Joseph with Bella

 

A graduate team I was so proud to watch.  Anatole, the pup pictured with his Warrior, John, was raised by my friend Joseph. The first outing I took Bella to was a friends 40th birthday dinner. At the party, Joseph picked Bella up, loved on her and then said, “Tell me more about this.”  Of course, I did.

The result of that conversation was Joseph volunteering as a puppy raiser and raising Anatole.  

Photos of Bella and Anatole as puppies.

 

The result of that 8-9 month commitment was seeing Anatole graduate with John.  Sure makes the heart smile!

 

The first pic below is Tony and Radar.  (Here’s their Dog Day pic.) When I started my volunteer journey with K9s, there was a fund raiser going on by the volunteers to sponsor a dog.  The two ladies that headed this up gave themselves a year … it only took them 3 months to raise the $20,000+ needed.  It was a special day for all the volunteers to see Tony and Radar graduate.  I hope we can do this again.  (Shhh … I’m not volunteering…)

The second pic is the gift the class gave to Shari.

 

 

A post from one of the graduates!

“Johnny O here, and it’s my turn to take a crack at the daily post. Great Monday morning started out with a few requests for some famous K9sFW Iced Coffee, sadly we didn’t have any foo foo creamer. The gang gathered up outside to present the Moms with Mother’s Day flowers which made them melt. Big Momma also graced us with her presence this morning and saw us off on our day trip to the Jacksonville Zoo and Garden – we were all excited to face this challenge. So, along with all the exotic loud animals at the zoo, there were about a half dozen school buses full of children that as always were captivated by us and the dogs. Our dogs seemed a little overwhelmed today; however, we did quite well with handling them. The sun beamed down on us and at times the scorching ground seemed like hell on our little warriors’ paws, but we kept them in the shade as much as possible. We had some lunch at the J-ville Zoo food court and topped it off with some pistachio ice cream. We were all pooped from the day and as usual, we had a fantastic dinner, got fat and rocked in our rocking chairs and Blaze rocked one of his songs. Today was a great experience. The great thing I find about our training is the boost in confidence that generates from being in a group. It’s been helpful with lowering my inhibitions and allowing my true self to come out. Drawing strength from each other is what has made this training smoother.”

 

From the Interweb

As an ambassador for K9s (a volunteer position different from puppy raiser), I have the pleasure of working with Carrie, and let me tell you, she’s a joy to work with.  Always positive, encouraging and willing to help.  I sign my emails “Your favorite pest” because I feel like I pester her more than necessary.  Oh well, she handles that with grace.

 

Warrior training at the Jacksonville Zoo

 

 

 

 

Amanda, who was paired with Lazer in March (Bella’s BFF) posted on this photo, “Oh I agree! Lazer improved and saved my life 🐾thank you K9s For Warriors!”

 

K9s For Warriors Dog Tales

K9s Most Tail-Wagging News Source  *  Warrior Update 107, May 2017

 

Canine Program a Lifeline for Local Vet

Vincelette took 26 pills a day just to calm his nerves.  …  “I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything,” he said. “I thought my wife and my kids would be better off without me.”

 

This is back before the House….

 

 

Until then, be safe.
This blog, week 17, represents May 15th – 21st, 2017.

k9s-for-warriors

Please note that article sources do not indicate my personal political leanings.
If the article is true and supports K9s for Warriors,
I do not care what side of the aisle it was written from!

VACATION!

Note:  If you’re new to this blog and want to start at the beginning of a pup’s journey, there are links on the right side of the page that will take you to the first blog for that pup. When you finish each block, click “Next” to move on.  (Also, sorry the blog is 2 weeks late.  BUSY!)

VACATION!!!  Time for a few relaxing days in Tennessee over Mother’s Day weekend.  And yes, I decided to take Ulysses with me along with my two girls.  Here they are before leaving on Wednesday morning.

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The trip to TN was uneventful.  They all pretty much slept the entire way.  Ulysses settled in pretty quickly, though he found those hard floors difficult to negotiate.  Our first night there was the only real hurdle.  You see, Ulysses has never slept in my room; in fact, the only time he’s in there is if he gets in by accident.  So when I set his crate up, I put it in the 2nd bedroom downstairs; not in my room.  Lights out.  He starts whining; then he barks.  Finally he starts howling – full out, nose in the air howling!  I try to ignore him, then I go out to take the towel off the front of his crate so he can see.  Back to bed.  Rinse and repeat, complete with the howling.  Now, we had a long 9 hour drive, and I’m beat.  I have to get some sleep, so the crate is moved into my room.  The 3 canines then had a peaceful night’s sleep.

 

They’ve had enough rain in East TN that the rivers were running, so we went out so I could dust off the DSLR.  After a few stops for shooting, we stopped at The Y (where River road splits to go to Gatlinburg or to Cades Cove) so I could let Midget swim.  I was really hoping that Ulysses would follow her lead and swim, but as soon as his belly got wet, he backed up.

 

Those hard wood floors!  Thought it would be best to trim his paws to give him a fighting chance and also cut off his beard so we didn’t have so many water trails across the floor from the water bowls.

 

East Tennessee in the Springtime is typically lush and green.  We were not let down this year.  That blonde coat against the brilliant green made for some beautiful photos of the boy.

 

TN
One thing I love about the little town in Tennessee where my folks live (population is just over 400) is their Heritage Center.  From late Spring until early Autumn, they have concerts on Friday nights.  Admission is $8, but you have to bring your own chairs.  You sit in the amphitheater, listening to live blue grass, country or a mix while being able to look out at the mountains surrounding you.  The Friday night of vacation, we went to listen to the “Tennessee Stiff Legs;”  it was one of the 2 public outings Ulysses had while on vacation.

 

 

Ulysses was great on the long drive, both to and from Townsend.  He had no problem spending that much time in the truck, even having to share the back with Diva.  He adapted to the new location, though he did have to have his crate in my room.  (Can’t blame him for that.)  No issues when allowed upstairs.  Without having to be told, he went to the door we came in to indicate he needed to go out.  All in all, it was a great training trip for him, as well as relaxation for his human.

 

Around the Interweb

 

Word on the street (internet street that is) is that the documentary Reinforcements will be available for viewing in June.  The video below is Joe, who is prominent in Reinforcements, talking about coming home from war along with Merrick’s commitment to K9s for Warriors.

Johnny O, from the May class of warriors, posted the following on Facebook.  John played guitar, and by his side is Anatole.  If you go back into some of Bella’s blogs, you’ll see puppy Anatole.  He came up through the program with her.

Day 16: Johnny O here and it’s my turn to take a crack at the daily post. Great Monday morning started out with a few requests for some famous K9sFW Iced Coffee, sadly we didn’t have any foo foo creamer. The gang gathered up outside to present the Moms with Mother’s Day flowers which made them melt. Big Momma also graced us with her presence this morning and saw us off on our day trip to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, we were all excited to face this challenge. So, along with all the exotic loud animals at the zoo, there were about a half-dozen school buses full of children that as always were captivated by us and the dogs. Our dogs seemed a little overwhelmed today; however, we did quite well with handling them. The sun beamed down on us and at times the scorching ground seemed like hell on our little warrior’s paws, but we kept them in the shade as much as possible. We had some lunch at the J-ville Zoo food court and topped it off with some pistachio ice cream. We were all pooped from the day and as usual, we had a fantastic dinner, got fat and rocked in our rocking chairs and Blaze rocked one of his songs. Today was a great experience. The great thing I find about our training is the boost in confidence that generates from being in a group, it’s been helpful with lowering my inhibitions and allowing my true self to come out. Drawing strength from each other is what has made this training smoother.

 

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp’s photographer took this of Kristen and I at the first Friday night home game.  

Jumbo Shrimp & Sgt Scampi (2)

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And look!  They used a pic of Melissa and Bella for their post on May 9th.  Bella, the ultimate Laprador Retriever.  

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This Facebook post asked readers, “How would you describe Camp K9?”

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Fallen veterans honored at Boots on the Ground Ride and Poker Run

Fallen veterans were honored Saturday at the annual Boots on the Ground Ride and Poker Run. The purpose of the event is to benefit the K9s For Warriors Foundation, the Florida Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund and the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.

 

 

From February, 2016….

Augusta veteran overcomes fears with service dog

But when she says, “Make a friend,” the dog will walk up to the stranger and greet him with a lick, a gesture Wylds said softens her a bit more.

 

NEXT WEEK!

So excited that this is finally here.  Have been waiting since last year when I had a prior commitment so I couldn’t bring Bella.

The 18th Annual Riding Into History Motorcycle Concours

All of the proceeds from Riding Into History will benefit the Ponte Vedra, FL-based charity, K9s for Warriors, k9sforwarriors.org. With all the help and support from our partners, exhibitors, volunteers, and spectators, last year we were able to make a $40,000 donation to K9s For Warriors. To date, Riding Into History has raised almost $500,000 for charity.

 

Until then, be safe.
This blog, week 16, represents May 8th – 14th, 2017.

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Deflategate

While we did quite a bit during Week 15, Ulysses thinks what happened on

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Ulysses with Kathy (middle) along with a couple of the trainers at Camp K9 after I dropped him off for surgery.

Wednesday deserves to be the title of this weeks blow.  Poor Fuzznuts went from Brazilian to Hazel.  I joked for a few days that his new nickname was “Tom Brady.”  (Let me know if you get my joke.)  All joking aside, he went through the neutering surgery like a champ.  No reaction to anesthesia; no need for the cone-of-shame.  You would have thought he went to Camp K9 to see his friends!  Has 3 stitches that I’ll take out after 10 days.

 

 

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With the cast of The Hallelujah Girls!

This was a week of theatre for the blonde boy.  On Monday, he joined me at my photo shoot of Hallelujah Girls at ABET in Atlantic Beach.  This was a tough night for him as I was moving around the theatre while he needed to just chill in the center aisle.  Bad Momma forgot to bring a chew toy to keep him occupied; now I need to sew up his leash.

 

 

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The obligatory program photo for Facebook checkin!

 

Then on Friday, we were back at The 5 and Dime to see their production of A New Brain.
As he has done in the past, he was gentle with the friends he made in the lobby, and during the show, he just slept at my feet.  The music in this show was fabulous, with a lot of loud belters.  As far as Ulysses was concerned, they were all singing beautiful lullabies to him.

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy, our adviser at K9s for Warriors, has divided the 40+ puppies into beginning, intermediate and advanced groups, instead of age related groups.  This is a good thing as not all dogs are alike in how quickly they mature or learn.  But – EEEK!  She put Ulysses in the advanced group.  We need to step up our training game to keep up with the others, that’s for sure.

Anyway, we had our first class with the new group on Saturday.  To help the dogs with confidence and learning to face different situations, Kathy had us working on some agility equipment.  Weaving in and out of cones on a loose leash and stepping over tubes lying in our path were not a problem for the blonde boy.  However, when asked to jump through the ring, go down a ramp or go through a tunnel, his look said, “You want me to do WHAT?”  With coaxing and bribing, he finally made it through those too.  Our biggest obstacle still remains how to behave when around other dogs.  He just loses his freaking mind!!!

 

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Ulysses finished his 15th week with restaurant lunches, sitting outside both times to enjoy what is probably our last weekend of cool-ish temps.  Hooters on Saturday and Clark’s Fish Camp on Sunday.  While at Hooters, we took time to walk on the docks, continuing to train in different situations.  He had no problem whatsoever walking on a dock.  (If you’re thinking this isn’t a big deal, it actually is.  Diva, my 10 year old Spaniel mix, almost army-crawls when on a dock.  She can’t stand it and isn’t going to change her mind!)

 

Anatomy of a bath, complete with the side-eye look at the end.

 

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Ulysses with his foster sisters, Diva and Dakotah

 

THANK YOU

Along with going to ABET to shoot The Hallelujah Girls, we got a peak at the program for the show’s run.  A huge THANK YOU once again to ABET for including a full page “ad” for K9s for Warriors, helping us spread the word about this wonderful organization.

HallalujiaGirls_K9sAd

 

Another huge THANK YOU to B3 Dog Services for their monthly donation to K9s For Warriors!  They donate $1 for every dog walk they do during the month; that’s a LOT of walking.  If you’re looking for a dog service in Jacksonville, give B3 a call!

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Thank You NOSA!!!!Image may contain: sky and outdoor

I received an email from a theatre friend telling me that NOSA (Naval Officers’ Spouses’ Associationmade a $500 donation to K9s for Warriors, “based largely on your blogs!”  I’m humbled and sincerely thankful!

 

 

AROUND THE WEB

 

The May class in on campus, paired with their dogs and working towards their new life.  10 warriors in the class.  Here are 7 of them with their dogs!

 

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Posted on K9s Facebook page….

Testimonial_Marco

 

 

We still need Puppy Raisers!!!

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Congratulations to Shari Duval who is a finalist for the 2017 Eve Award!  BRAVO!

Awards

 

 

Brett and Reagan’s Story

Every now and then I head over to K9s YouTube channel to watch the warriors’ stories.  This one is Brett’s, whose mom started K9s.

 

 

 

15 Ways My K9s For Warriors Service Dog Has Helped Me

I discussed my situation with a fellow veteran who suggested I apply to Onyxthe K9s For Warriors organization. I applied to the program and was immediately supported by the President of the organization, Shari Onyx2Duval. I shared my anxiety about the process and she lovingly calmed my fears by helping me understand how the dog will help me. But ultimately she asked me to trust that she would take good care of me and all the other veterans who came through the program.
(Tissue warning….)

 

 

 

 

Purdue University: Service Dogs & PTSD

The goal of our research at the OHAIRE lab is to empirically evaluate the effects of service dogs on the mental health and wellness of military members diagnosed with PTSD and their families. In particular, we are interested in determining if military members with PTSD who have been placed with a service dog will show changes in PTSD symptom severity, physiological arousal, and social competency compared to those receiving usual treatment services while on the waitlist to receive a PTSD service dog.

We are also interested in the spouse’s perspective from the service dog placement. Do spouses of military veterans experience any effects from the service dog being inside the home? To answer this question, we are also measuring spousal stress, caregiver burden, relationship satisfaction, and overall family functioning from the spouse’s point of view. Future research will plan to incorporate children and other family members. 

Our research is conducted in collaboration with K9s for Warriors, an Assistance Dogs International (ADI) accredited organization providing service dogs for veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), military sexual trauma (MST), and mobility issues.

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P.A.W.S. Act
Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers

Senators reintroduce PAWS Act, saying dogs can be a veteran’s best friend

“Service dogs can provide support, peace, and joy to these Americans as they confront the invisible scars of war,” Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said in reintroducing Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers, or PAWS Act.

Senators Fischer and Booker Reintroduce PAWS Act

Full Text of the Bill

Note:  If you Google this, don’t mix it up with the “Pet and Women Safety” Act.  While this is something we also need, it’s not what K9s for Warriors is working with and towards.  Shame they’re both using the same acronym.

 

 

Petland Franchisees Donate Pup To K9s For Warriors

Jacksonville Petland Owners To Provide Veteran With Service Dog

 

 

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Bayer launches Operation K9 Care to provide free wellness care for service dogs aiding United States veterans with PTSD

Nationwide program reduces financial burden of service dog ownership for K9s For Warriors graduates

I have been searching for information on the Bayer program off and on for months.  Finally found this.

 

Until next week, be safe.
This blog, week 15, represents May 1st – 7th, 2017.

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Little humor sent my way as I was finishing this blog…

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