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…



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


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!!!


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.



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.

* * * * * *

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.




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


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.


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!


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.



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.


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)



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




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







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.



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.



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

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.



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.



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!!!



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.


Ulysses with his foster sisters, Diva and Dakotah



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.



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!



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!





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!





Posted on K9s Facebook page….




We still need Puppy Raisers!!!




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




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.





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




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.



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

No automatic alt text available.


For this blog, I’m breaking from my usual format of Current Puppy Updates / K9s for Warriors updates / Around the Web and starting with K9s for Warriors.

When I attended the Ambassador’s class at K9s for Warriors last January, Carrie gave us a short history lesson on K9s.  Among the things she told us was that Shari Duval’s goal (the heart and soul behind K9s) was to pair 12 veterans a year.  K9s just celebrated their 6th anniversary in March, which means they would have graduated 72 warriors.  Instead of 72, the April class included the 300th Warrior/Dog pairing.


How freaking cool is that?!?!?!?!?!!!!!

The goal has changed (as goals often do) from 12 a year to 12 a month.  There are 10 warriors in the May 2017 class; the biggest class yet.  12 a month is a HUGE goal.  Why? Because it takes time to train these dogs; it’s a process that can’t be rushed.  We are always looking for new puppy raisers and fosters so we can bring more dogs into the program.  What we can’t change is the time it takes.  Knowing that our veterans are out there waiting for their name to be called is hard, but we do the best we can to prepare the dogs we have to be the service dog their warrior needs.

K9s For Warriors graduates 300th service dog team

Organization celebrates partnership with American Legion, founder Shari Duval’s retirement.  “Year after year, in one way or another, you have been there,” said an emotional Duval. “We’ll never forget your graciousness, your generosity, your love and your support.”





Work, shopping, dining out, learning.  That’s a typical Ulysses week, though sometimes we have a little baseball thrown in.  One thing I like about taking him in public is that it often gives me an opportunity to talk about K9s for Warriors, and I especially like that when he’s being good.  LOL.  He’s a good representative because he’s often good and so danged cute.

Friday night we were ambassadors again at the Jacksonville Shrimp’s game.  Just like last time, the crowd, noise, announcer, slapping, etc. didn’t bother him a bit.  We even had a foul ball land on the tin roof near us.  Sounded like a huge balloon was popped.  Everyone jumped; Ulysses looked around as if to say, “What? What’s the big deal?”

If Abraham Lincoln were talking about raising a service dog puppy…
4 stores and 3 hours ago, we set forth into this city with a mission of shopping and training.  
Saturday morning I decided to push the envelope on patience – both his and mine!  At Academy Sports I needed help finding something.  The young man that assisted us was in a wheelchair, and Ulysses wasn’t too sure of it.  He was nice enough to let Ulysses come up to him, sniff the wheel chair and realize it wasn’t so bad after all.  Store #3 was Pet Supermarket which was our biggest challenge.  All those smells and other dogs suddenly appearing without either of us seeing them – recipe for stress.  We both survived.  He got a new toy, and I got, well, nothing really.  A couple of cans of food for the kids.  In retrospect, our 3 hours on Saturday was a bit too ambitious, but we survived!


So many treats that Mom won’t buy me!


More Sgt. Scampi at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville!


My co-volunteers at the baseball game.  And Sadie (Mia’s sister) was the other pup at the table!


A few more Ulysses’ pics from the game


Finally, we picked up some cans of Merrick’s Back Country grain free food that benefits K9s for Warriors.  Ulysses posed by the bag.  Durdles proved that Merrick’s is feline approved!  (And yes, I had to put some in her bowl.)





National Volunteer Week 2017 – April 23-29

K9s for Warriors has over 1200 voluteers currently working on their behalf, and they made sure to celebrate National Volunteer Week with pictures and such.  To end the week, they spotlighted my friend Kristen, an “all-star” volunteer.  She’s the one who inspired me to do this.  Grab a tissue and watch the video.

“Most people don’t want to do it because they think it’s too hard to let them go, and it is, but to watch them walk out with their Warrior is the best part.  These tears are not from sadness of missing the dogs; it’s from the love that comes when you see them do their job.”

Bella and Melissa at graduation.

I have to expand on this.  There is so much pride when your pup graduates with his or her warrior, and much of the tears come from that. Bella was never mine, and once she went back into the kennels full time, somehow, my heart knew that.  Something changed on March 8th when I saw the picture of Melissa and Bella.  It was no longer about Bella; it was and is now totally and completely about the team.  There isn’t one without the other.  And at graduation, knowing how freaking hard it had to be on those ladies, my thought was “Bella, just do your job.”  And she did.

I talked with my friends Gail and Gary, whose first K9s dog graduated with Bella, and they expressed something similar when Lazer graduated.  Kristen spoke about it eloquently, and I don’t know that many of us in the puppy raiser program could have said those words without choking up.  You spend months of your life working with a pup, another soul, giving it your heart so that it knows love, all with the hope that pup will help put a life back together.  And it is something you CAN do. Each and every one of those warrior teams I see monthly at K9s is an inspiration to raise and train Ulysses to the best of my ability… because his warrior is already waiting to come to Ponte Vedra.






My caption:  “No matter which way they point, they always point towards my Warrior.”




Around the Web

40 Under 40: Rory Diamond

“In 2014, we were operating out of the back of a house, had 12 employees and our budget was around $600,000,” Diamond said. “Today, we operate this facility with almost 65 employees, and we raised $7.2 million last year.”

I did email the editor to correct the article.  When I read it, it said, “K9s For Warriors brings about 12 veterans with PTSD to its Ponte Vedra campus for three weeks of training with their new companion. ”  Told them it needed to have “per month” in there!


Purdue University is doing a study on how services dogs can help with PTSD, and of course, they’re using K9s for Warriors as their study group!  Go Purdue!  Show them what we already know!


SMG, Stevie Nicks give to K9s For Warriors

In honor of Stevie Nicks’ recent concert in Jacksonville, SMG Jacksonville donated items on K9s For Warriors’ wish list in the entertainer’s name.  When the Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold Tour performed at Veterans Memorial Arena on March 23, more than 40 veterans and their dogs were in the audience.

“Our night at the arena was a delight and the equipment will have a long-lasting impact on the upkeep of our kennels,” said Brett Simon, president of K9s For Warriors, in a news release. K9s For Warriors provides service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries suffered during military service after 9/11.  The animals used in the program are carefully evaluated, former rescue/shelter dogs or owner surrenders. To date, 293 veterans have been matched to service dogs.  (From: Nonprofit News)


Meaty matters: It’s chili cookoff time in Thousand Oaks

From Ventura County, California!  Nonprofit organizations that will benefit include the Westminster Free Clinic; a literacy program called Conejo Valley Reading is Fundamental; the DreamCatcher Playground, designed for children with special needs; K9s for Warriors; and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.



Coming up in May:

The 18th Annual Riding Into History Motorcycle Concours

Ulysses and I are really looking forward to working this event!


Until next week, be safe.



Week 13

Week 13 for Ulysses was quite boring.  Just the usual restaurants and trips to the store.  He’s closing in on 6 months old, and it sure does show!  Selective hearing is getting worse.  If I don’t have a treat in my hand, he just looks at me as if he has no clue what I’m saying.  Pushing boundaries, the blonde boy is.

In a class some time ago, Kathy told us to work on impulse control.  I finally did, and he finally got it.  I can hold anything in my hand, even cheese, and put it in front of him and he ignores it.  In the video below, I pushed him pretty hard and after 10 seconds, he finally tried to nibble the ends of my fingers.  He’s doing really well with that.  He’s doing really well with “Wait” both before and after I feed him.  He’ll sit and stare at me while his full food bowl is sitting in front of him.  I can walk away and he still won’t eat until I turn around and tell him it’s ok.  I also make him sit in his crate while I pick up his bowl, then sit with the door open until I tell him he can leave the crate.  One night last week, he decided to leave on his own.  I turned around and told him, “No!  Back in your crate!”  He hung his head, walked back to his crate, sat and waited.  Pushing….

We started last week on “Leave It,” and I’ll tell you, the impulse control made leave it much easier.  He essentially just had to learn a new command for an action he already knew.  A story about how important the Leave It command is:  A few years ago, Diva (my Spaniel mix) had a nice, heavy, ceramic bowl with her picture on it.  One morning while starting to place her bowl for her, I dropped it and it shattered!  She was hungry for breakfast and immediately started to go for the food that was all over the floor.  Leave it!!!  She stepped back and sat down.  I was able to clean up everything and give her breakfast in another bowl.  Had she not listened to me, she could easily have swallowed shards of ceramic, and we would have been headed to the vets.  As Kathy reminded us in last week’s class – Leave it and your recall command are the two most important for the pup to learn, and it could save your pup’s life!  (Yes, we’re working on recall too!)



The blonde boy and his sisters…



Lady Bella Update …


Bella’s Warrior Melissa’s son had an opportunity to spend time at a local TV station and work with their meteorologist.  Amber, the meteorologist, posted this photo and said, “I also met Bella, who is a black lab with K9s For Warriors! I got to give her lots of belly rubs which she was all for. Thanks so much for coming out to the science center and making my day!!”  This photo reminds me of graduation and Lazer’s sponsor’s children.  Melissa is such a natural “mom;” this warms my heart.


More Jumbo Shrimp….

While we were at the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp’s game (2 weeks ago), Kristen and I were interviewed on their radio broadcast.  The interview is below, with a slide show that I put together to go with the interview.




Image result for stop 22 k9s for warriors


22 has become my least favorite number.  Why?  Because an average of 22 veterans commit suicide each day in our country.  If this were anything else, it would be an epidemic, but unless you read my blog or follow K9s for Warriors, you probably didn’t know this.  Well, I’ll tell you this – it pisses me right off!  I’ll save the soapbox for later, but I’m sure you can understand why.

K9s for Warriors has their Stop 22 in the form of being a Guard Dog for them.  $22 a month helps them sustain their program.  They also encourage folks to do the Stop 22 Challenge.


This is a video of K9s For Warriors graduate Joe and his service dog Lily speaking about STOP22.


Much to my surprise (and yet I don’t know why I was surprised), I saw this video of my friend Erin on Facebook in her Stop 22 Challenge …  22 push-up for 22 days.  Now ladies, you know that we don’t have the best upper body strength, so Erin’s challenge is pretty amazing.  I think this is Day 15.

You can do your own Stop 22 Challenge.  One of the ladies at Camp K9 did 22 pirouettes.  I haven’t figured out what my Stop 22 Challenge would be, but I think singing 22 high-C’s in a row might drive the dogs too crazy!  So, what’s your Stop 22 Challenge?






April Graduation!!!

Another class graduated from K9s For Warriors; another group of veterans now have their battle buddies by their sides.  This graduation was hosted at the American Legion in Palm Valley to celebrate their 5 year partnership with K9s.  Before moving to Camp K9 2 years ago, this is where graduations took place.  After graduation, they had live music and yummy BBQ!

At graduation, Rory Diamond (CEO of K9s) announced that Ross Creek Marines is donating $5,000 for every marine that graduates.  There were 2 in the April class!




The picture below is of Steven with Lily, a pup that came up through the puppy raiser program.  His comments above the pic are why all of us do what we do.  



The pic below of of Edna and Sarge who were a part of the March 2017 class.  If you remember back to last summer when Bella and I attended the private viewing of the new documentary Reinforcements, Early Times whiskey sponsored that documentary and sent a check for $100,000 to K9s for Warriors.  Sarge is one of the dogs they sponsored.  And good news!  Reinforcements is supposed to be available online in May!!!




The Fletcher High School’s Interact Club from Neptune Beach were at graduation to watch their 6th dog (yes, that is SIXTH!!!) “Nelson” graduate with his Warrior, Derek.  Nelson was named after their recently retired principle.  Now, how cool are these kids?!?!?!!!


More ….



This just in! A new rescue puppy who will one day help a veteran in need. #puppy #servicedogs #saveaveteran

A post shared by K9s For Warriors (@k9sforwarriors) on



In Week 14, we’re going back to the baseball grounds to watch the Shrimp play, talk about K9s for Warriors and see Sgt. Scampi run the bases!

Until then, be safe.


Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Week 12? 

My how time flies.  The boy is growing, still growing, gaining an average of 2 pounds a week.  43.6 on Tuesday April 11th, which was his 22nd week birthday.  And his boy parts did a bit of growing during week 12 (new nickname: Fuzznuts) and with it came a healthy dose of self-confidence.  Noticeable changes in his reaction to people and other things.  It’s been almost 23 years since I had a boy puppy.  Quite a bit different!

It’s My SISTER!!!

On Monday, I had to drop the event kit off at Camp K9, and in the office was this fuzzy black pup.  “Is that Coal?”  “Why yes, it is.”  “Cool, I have her brother, Ulysses.  He’s out in the truck.”  “Oh, they so need to see each other!”  And what came next was puppy mayhem!  They were trying to jump on each other; Jan and I were constantly untangling the leashes.  A picture?  You want them to sit still for a picture?  Sure….  We did the best we could.  (Click and hover to read the captions.)



One of our outings during our 12th week was to Aveda Salon so Mom could get her hair done.  Ulysses was good throughout the appointment until Ilana fired up her blow dryer.  It’s a lot more powerful than mine, and he wasn’t too keen on it.  We also had lunch at Longhorn where I typically sit at the bar.  It was his first time having to behave with Mom sitting on a tall chair.  As is typical for him, after a few minutes he settled down and chilled the whole time.


The highlight of our week was most definitely going to the Jacksonville “Jumbo Shrimp”

Mia wasn’t too sure about this loud baseball thing.

game on Friday.   The Jumbo Shrimp is our minor league baseball team, and every Friday home game they are recognizing our military.  Fans who wear red (Remember Everyone Deployed) get $1 off their ticket price, and the now famous bat dog, Sgt Scampi, retrieves the bats during the bottom of the 3rd inning.  Of course you guessed it – Sgt Scampi is a service dog in training at K9s For Warriors!  He was definitely the crowd favorite last Friday.  Lots of fans asked about him at the K9s For Warriors table.




Sgt. Scampi visited the table before and after the 3rd inning!

Yes, we will have a table set up at each Friday night home game to help spread the word on what this wonderful organization is doing to help our veterans.  Ulysses and Mia (his little girlfriend) were the puppy representatives at the first Friday night game.  I was so proud of the boy – he
greeted everyone, let lots of people be his friend and pet him, and only really acted up when he saw another dog.  (That’s our biggest challenge now.)  With all the noise, loud speaker, clapping, people, food smells … dang, that’s a LOT for a puppy!  We’re going to go to as many of the Friday night home games as we can because it’s great training and a lot of fun!  Come support our team and say Hi to the folks at the table!




There were lots of folks from K9s for Warriors at the game, many with their families, and they would stop by the table to say Hi.  The little girl in the photo below is the daughter of one of the K9s guys.  I was so pleased at how gentle Ulysses was with her!

I give good kisses!


By Saturday, Ulysses was done.  In 12 weeks, he’s never once put himself to bed, but he did on Saturday!



The Jumbo Shrimp had a roving reporter before the game who was live on Facebook.  I edited 10 minutes out of their video and grabbed just the K9s for Warriors part.  He had the mic facing himself, so audio isn’t that good.  But you can see the Blonde Boy and his girlfriend!

Watch Sgt. Scampi retrieve the bat and run the bases!



K9s for Warriors

K9s has a blog that you can visit to read more about what’s going on and more about the program.  K9s Blog





If you’ve never been to Camp K9, this aerial shot gives you an idea of the campus.  It’s extremely impressive.  Last September (2016), the 2nd kennel was opened.  On the left side of the photo, there’s green lawn below the long building.  That’s where Kennel 2 is now.  (And the long building is Kennel 1.)  So much thought went into the campus design; pretty amazing.







From the Web

K9s for Warriors pooch signed on to be Jumbo Shrimp’s bat dog

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are about to start their season opening homestand and have added what some might say is their cutest player: Sgt. Scampi. …

Stryker to the rescue: Dog helps local veteran

Not long ago, Tiffany Bires couldn’t bear to enter a crowded store, go out into the community or even sit through an entire college class without being overwhelmed by anxiety. …

The Mobility Zone, Presented By Stryker, Set To Make Its First Ever Appearance At RBC Heritage

Finally, fans will also have the opportunity to show their support for the military. Within The Mobility Zone, Stryker will be offering hats for sale to benefit K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing service canines to military veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disability, traumatic brain injury or other military trauma as a result of military service post 9/11. …




Until next week, be safe.


Puppy Phases

Momma, those are DUCKS!

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

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.













Texas Veteran Receives Service Dog and New Leash on Life Read more: The Gilmer Mirror – Texas Veteran Receives Service Dog and New Leash on Life









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.