Another Camper

Before I start into Week 34, let me point out what’s at the end of this blog.  Knowing that Bella’s time with me is short, there are links to another puppy raiser’s blog and her last few posts.  Also, a poem that a warrior sent to K9s For Warriors on his one year graduation anniversary and his pup’s 3rd birthday.  In other words, stay until the end.


A Few Last Days with Lazer

Lazer’s family came back into town on Wednesday, and boy was she ever happy to see them.  There is such a bond that develops with these special pups.  It was evident to me when I pulled out the bag that Gail put Lazer’s stuff in; Lazer smelled that bag and got all excited.  Her people!  She was going to see her people again!

Thank you, Lazer, for letting me get to know you.  You are going to be such a wonderful service dog for a warrior soon, and I’ll be at your graduation!

Click on the photo below to enlarge; hover to see the caption.

The obligatory group photo!

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Diva, Lazer, Bella and Dakotah


Meet Tango

Tango is a 7 to 8 month old Golden Retriever, one of the 4 GR puppies donated from the breeder in North Carolina that I wrote about in Week 16 Honor Therapy Dogs, the breeder from whom President Ford got his dog “Liberty.”  The “Puppy Platoon” is what they were dubbed by the folks at K9s For Warriors .

I had the joy of having Tango with me over Christmas while his foster family is away for the holiday.  First, a look back ….

Click on the photo below to enlarge; hover to see the caption.


From the Week 11 blog, Bella at 22 weeks old with Tango at the Red Train in St. Augustine.




And then, Tango stopped by to say Hey at the Ponte Vedra Car Show on September 11th.




And Tango Now….

Tango, you’re going to make an awesome service dog.  So steadfast!


It’s a CAT!!!  Tango did really well with Durdles.  Don’t know why he gave me a hang-dog look; Durdles wasn’t protesting (too much).

The obligatory group photo!


Miss Bella

Of course, I did not forget about “Bell Bell”!

We braved Target during the Christmas shopping season, and Bella did well.  She didn’t really understand what a grumpy cat was since Durdles is far from grumpy. 


She’s still taking care of me at physical therapy.  When Ryan dug his fingers into my ankle, Bella thought the best way to get him to stop was to lick him.  She also keeps an eye on everyone there.  Truly, she’s been a comfort to me during PT, giving me a glimpse of how she’ll be with her warrior.



Bella Fun Facts

She likes cloth.  She doesn’t destroy it; just wants to carry it around.  If I forget to put the baby gate up in my bedroom door, she’ll soon remind me because she’s carrying a sock around.  Or if I leave my coaster on the end table (it’s a quilted square), she’ll take it.  Never once has she torn anything.  Maybe they’re her “Linus blanket.”

She’s still a “Pogo.”  When excited, especially to go out side, she bounces on her front feet. When she was a baby, all 4 feet came off the ground; now it’s just the front.

When she’s excitedly waiting for you to throw something (for her to fetch), she’ll snap her teeth before she finally barks with impatience.

She’s always behind me.  I’ve stepped on her when backing up with the vacuum!

And while she’s high energy, she’s also so loving.  As long as she’s with her person, she’s happy.


Sliding Into Service


Samantha, who is K9s For Warriors Education Manager, is also a puppy raiser.  She raised Slider.  Remember at the start of this blog I said there was an unusual connection to Slider?  Well, I knew Slider as “Midnight.”  His “owners” (for lack of a better word) live on my street.  I saw Slider when he was running loose on our street.  I remember yelling at the man who lived there to get him on a leash when he came charging at me when I was walking Diva after her surgery.  My friend Kristen ended up catching Slider when he was running loose and took him to Camp K9.  Sad thing – the people on my street never seemed to look for him.  He’s found his purpose though, and is now with his warrior, Jason.

In the 3 links below, Samantha talks about Slider transitioning to Camp K9 for formal training, meeting his warrior and graduating.

Samantha also taught me, through her blog, what a BABL is:
Bad Ass Black Lab!!!

Parting Ways


A Time For Training and Retrospect


The Slider Conclusion
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Slider and his Warrior

Clint and Fenton

K9s For Warriors graduate, Clint, sent this heartfelt poem on his one-year anniversary of completing our program, and his dog’s 3rd birthday:

Wow time moves so fast,
I can’t believe it’s been a year.
I was flying to Ponte Vedra Beach Florida
with a lot of unwanted fear.
I knew it wasn’t a normal fear,
It came from 3 tours overseas.
I really didn’t want to live like this,
I needed it gone, God please.
I had no idea what a Service Dog could do
for vets with Post Traumatic Stress.
I really had no other options left,
my brain was such a mess
I needed to stay on this earth
to take care of my 5 kids and wife,
but the feeling became so exhausting
it was time to end my life.
Gosh it seems like yesterday
I was standing at the kennel doors,
there was K9s staff and this GIANT Shepherd
then Shari says “He’s yours!”
Something changed the second I met Fenton,
it was nothing that I could hide.
There was my friend that was going to save my life,
I fell to my knees and I cried.
After an hour of being a baby,
it was time for training to start.
So I grabbed his leash & from that second,
he and I have not been apart.
Thank you K9s For Warriors,
For giving me my best friend.
I no longer live with that miserable feeling
like my life just needs to end.
Happy Birthday Mr. Fenton Boy
I can’t believe that you’re now 3.
Thank you for being an AMAZING friend
and THANKS for what you’ve done for me!

From K9s for Warriors

Click on the photo to see a thank you video spot from Jeannie Blaylock at First Coast News.


It’s a Rescue Dog Christmas!
(Click the photo to go to the YouTube video.)

2 thoughts on “Another Camper

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