Growing puppies, like kids, hit various phases – puppies just hit them faster! When Ulysses turned 4 months old, I saw his prey drive kick in, right at the same time I remember Bella’s kicking in. Difference is, though, that Ulysses is content the watch the bird fly where Bella wanted to chase it. Shortly after I noticed his prey drive kick in, he started to push boundaries; consider it like an early version of the “terrible twos.” Fortunately, I’ve been down this road recently and I just tell him, “Dude, you won’t get the best of me!” So training continues as we work through him growing both physically and mentally.
Our week started with a vet appointment for Dakotah (aka “Midget”), so Ulysses got to meet one of my favorite people. It was a good lesson for him – learning to behave in that environment, and letting someone he didn’t know run their hands over him. Proud momma moment when leaving … there was a couple waiting that had two baby Labradors, probably around 10 weeks old is my guess. One of them sat there barking and barking and barking at Midget and Ulysses. Ulysses did start to be a butt, but once I got his attention and had him sit, he was relatively well behaved. (The man next to the barking puppy just looked at the pup and went “shhh”, “shhh”. Really?) They did ask if I would come train their dogs. Um….
We had the joy of attending an add-on performance of Fences at Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach. The show had a sold out run and sold out two additional shows, deservedly so! Ulysses was a perfect gentleman when greeting patrons who asked and then not snoring during the show. We were, after all, only about 10 feet from the actors at times.
We had the pleasure of representing K9s for Warriors on Saturday morning at the inaugural Apryle Showers 10k run held in Nocatee. We got to talk to some nice people about K9s for Warriors, hopefully recruiting some more volunteers, and Ulysses made sure to say Hello across the parking lot to any dogs he saw. In the 4th pic below, you can see him looking at the bouncy house. I was pleased that the noise from the compressor didn’t seem to bother him at all. He was also happy when Carrie stopped by with her puppy in training, Luna. Carrie and I had a blast playing “untangle the leashes” as those two tried to roll around. (Thank you, Carrie, for the pics!)
On a shopping/training trip to Walmart, I told him he could pick out one toy. He picked out a squeaky emo, and proceeded to carry it around the store the rest of our visit. He did not, however, squeak it.
Our week closed out with a Bon Voyage party at Hurricane Grill and Wings for my BFF and her +1. The way this pup behaves in restaurants around people in food does continue to amaze me.
Before we get to K9s for Warriors Around theWeb, I am going to start featuring my friends at B3 Dog Services each month.
B3 Dog Services is a dog walking / pet sitting / dog services company owned and run by my dear friends Dean and Ann Darreff. Also, they are proud supporters, personally and through their business, of K9s for Warriors. (Here is their page about their support: B3 & K9s for Warriors.) From the dog walking part of their business, they have pledged $1 from each walk they do. For February, they donated $227 to K9s for Warriors. That’s a lot of walks in a month; I know Dean’s fitbit was smokin!!!
In addition to their dog walking services, they have some all natural dog treats available through Amazon. Banjo & Bowden’s Best Dog Treats- All Natural Dog Jerky Treats. Honestly, my girls LOVE these treats. If you’re so inclined to support those who support K9s for Warriors, take a gander at the page. AND, if you’re in the Jacksonville, FL area and need a dog walker, give them a shout. You won’t regret it!
From K9s for Warriors FB Page and Around the Web
A post on K9s for Warriors Facebook page from last December.
(warning: might require a tissue…)
I have a great story to share about K9’s for Warriors. My thoughts may be all over the place and a bit drawn out. Please be patient with me because I have a lot to say. Here it goes:
My husband, Stephen Fry, lost his 1st service dog, a chocolate lab to spleen cancer this past March. Her name was Brighid. She was a great friend and caregiver to Stephen for almost 5yrs. She truly saved him.
When Stephen returned home from Iraq, he was oddly complacent, you know just not all there. He started having trouble focusing. Then night terrors, massive daily migraines and memory lapses. Believe it or not he tried to hide these issues but as time passed by, it became harder and harder for him to fight back these symptoms anymore. With each day that passed, he slowly tumbled further and further away from himself. This first bout of depressive behavior lasted for 1 1/2 yrs. That is, at least until the day he met his 4 legged savior, Brighid. I will never forget that day. It was an emotional roller coaster. The dog trainer surprise introduced this beautiful pup to our training class. Right away this pup walked straight up to Stephen. She circled him and then swung herself over to his left side, sat down And then put her paw in his left hand. And, I believe it was this day my heart just knew Stephen would be ok. For the first time in over 1 1/2 years, I saw a spark in Stephen’s eyes and a huge smile on his face. That’s right, it was Brighid who picked Stephen and it was Brighid who pulled him out of that dark pit of depression that was left behind from Iraq.
Well, when Brighid passed, I witnessed for the second time the abyss of emptiness surround Stephen. It really somehow just seemed unfair.
However, this past Monday, I am happy to share I witnessed another miracle. That makes two miracles in 7 yrs. WOW! K9’s for Warriors made this 2nd miracle happen when they accepted Stephen into their program and introduced him to his new 4 legged savior and new companion, Valor.
I can not wait to meet her and I am ever so thankful for K9’s for Warriors. This is proof that this program really does save lives.
I forgot to mention just how special a canine is to someone who has lost faith in humans as a result of war. A canine becomes a positive constant in the disabled warriors everyday life. The canine can sense a panic attack before it happens. It is as if the service animal and the human it cares for become as one. (*This special connection is called imprinting). This one unit has a unique bond that develops deeper & stronger than any other relationship I have ever seen. The recipient in turn finds this soothing,can be more socially active, because the recipient knows that the canine will not leave his/her side. In turn, the recipient really does feel safer and less panicky because he/she knows this dog would do anything for it’s owner and will not leave his/her side. It’s so amazing to see this bond. It really is so magical. Mainly because this dog doesn’t require much in return. A service canine only needs someone to love them, feed them, make sure they have clean drinking water, they have a cozy place to lay its head at night and a human to serve/please who will love them back. This 24/7 service the dog provides honorably gives the dog purpose and confidence to stand proudly by their owners side. This love for its owner is unconditional and once fully established cannot be broken.
I can honestly say, in a very positive way, a service dog really can and does help the recipient cope with the issues that come with suffering from PTSD, TBI, agoraphobia, panic attacks and anxiety. Also, this bond provides a sense of direction which magically allows the owner to have a focal point to hone in on. Solely allowing the owner to be able to block out or ignore anything or everything that normally would cause a panic attack or anxiety. I’ve witnessed this special bond between Stephen and Brighid. They were so connected, inseparable and highly in tune with one another.
When Brighid passed on, Stephen became extremely depressed and withdrawn. I actually thought he had regressed back to the person he was when he first came back from Iraq. Being Stephen’s caretaker, I was very excited and I still am for Stephen and this chance of obtaining a replacement service dog. Especially, because, K9’s for Warriors paired him with the most perfect puppy ever! I am so happy, thankful, grateful and very much relieved. Once I saw Valor’s kind eyes, I just knew that she and Stephen were meant for each other. And, I now have the security of knowing his new best bud, Valor, has his six.
Hallelujah Veterans Version
A lady named Sailor Jerri re-wrote the lyrics to “Hallelujah.” You’ll see that she says on the post, “My rewrite of “Hallelujah” Veteran Version. It is extremely rough (wrote the lyrics this AM) but I love you guys and you asked to share. This is for The military.” Click here for the Hallelujah Veterans Version video.
Until next week, be safe.