Patriot Service Dog Raiser and dogs in Training Celebrating one year!
Patriot Service Dogs just celebrated their 1st Anniversary. We were invited to join in celebrating a very successful year with PSD. We were able to present our 3rd Country Golden puppy to their program during this celebration. His name is Cooper and he is a Jenna and Stryker puppy. He will be raised by a wonderful young couple in Georgia name Matt and Kristen. Keep your fingers crossed as Cooper begins his 2 years of training. We also got to see and visit with Justice at the anniversary party. He is doing wonderfully and is of course gorgeous... just like his dad! :)
Traci presenting Country Golden puppy to new PSD puppy raisers 7-24-2010
Matt, Kristen and new puppy in training... "Cooper"
PSD at the Wilderness Lodge November 2011... can you find our 4 Country Golden Pups?
This is "Chief"... Stryker/Rosebud puppy
Every Year, PSD goes to Orlando to visit the different theme parks. They have a transportation day at Disney, where they take all of the dogs on all of the different modes of transportation... ie. the monorail, bus, boat, train etc... This is excellent training for the dogs/puppies. This year they visited Sea World as well... PSD is always looking for raisers for the puppies we donate. If you think that you would like to invest in this very worthwhile cause, contact Susan Bolton at PSD for more information. www.patriotservicedogs.com Raisers need to be in the Northeast Florida area so that they can participate in the weekly training classes. If you can not commit as a Dog Raiser, perhaps you can volunteer your time in another way or make a monetary donation. It requires a great deal of funds and time to complete these dogs for placement.
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Country Goldens with their PSD Raisers
Traci with PSD Founders and Raisers- (3-3-12 Scrapbook Fundraiser)
I was able to attend a very successful PSD Fundraiser in March 2012. They raised over $4000 for the dogs and had an incredible weekend of Scrap Booking Fun! I was thrilled to be able to see some of my Babies! They are all doing so well and looking so happy and fulfilled. It was such a blessing to meet all of the raisers and to be able to express our appreciation for everything that they are doing with our Country Golden PSD pups! Five of our Goldens were at the fundraiser while I was there... from left to right... (not counting the fluffy Golden Doddle in the front) Elsie, Justice, Bonnie, Chief and King. WE are so proud of these puppies and their trainers. There are 4 other Country Goldens training with PSD and several of our puppies and their owners are working with Susan to train their Golden's for Therapy. Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs are different. Therapy dogs do things like visit hospitals and nursing homes to cheer people and Reading Programs are gaining popularity for these dogs as well.
Check out PSD's website to see what is happening with all of these puppies.
Traci with "Chief"- Stryker and Rosebud pup
Traci and "King"- Stryker and Kate pup
Susan and Stryker
The Patriot Service Dog TrainingTeam enjoying our Country Goldens!
The Patriot Service Dog Team of Trainers comes to evaluate our puppies. They do a series of simple tests that help to determine the temperament and ability of each puppy. It is very important to us that they choose the right puppy so that the puppy can actually complete this training and make a placement. This organization raises and trains the puppies that we donate for 2 years. After they have completed their training and health evaluations they are placed with a wounded Veteran. We are wanting to raise enough funds to sponsor each of our puppies for the full 2 years. The total cost of full Sponsorship is $2500. This expense falls onto the puppy raiser if enough funds are not generated through donations and fund raisers. If this is something you feel led to help with you can contact me anytime or go to their site and make a donation. Any amount is helpful and will be put towards puppy raising costs such as vetting, flea and heartworm prevention, neutering, training and socializing events, traveling costs, and food. Visit there site for more info about them and donations. Thank you for any help you can offer.Billy and I feel like this is a very worthy cause and consider it a privilege to be able to donate quality puppies to this group. This is one reason that we raise these dogs… Goldens are born to serve, and we are all happiest when we walk in our gifts… Please pray that our Country Golden/Patriot Service Dog puppies can accomplish all of the many things that will be required of them. This is a lenghty process. We want them to graduate from this program and be a blessing to our wounded Veterans. We want them to make a difference… Check out their site at www.patriotservicedogs.com
Hope you enjoy the photos… Have a Golden Day! Traci
Piece of paper waded up and tossed for puppy to retrieve.
Prey Drive Test- This test is to see how much prey drive each puppy has.
Submission testing. Puppies are held down gently to see if they willingly submit.
Umbrella opened quickly to see how puppies react to sudden movement.
Does the puppy stick close? You bet!
The Chosen One- Rosebud and Stryker male
Choosing is never easy. All of our puppies do well with this temperament testing. Patriot Service Dog Team chooses by determining which puppy did the best overall, and does that puppy respond and interact positvely with the trainer that will be raising it. The puppy that was chosen from this litter is a male and will be raised and trained by one of the owners and founders of Patriot Service Dogs, Susan Bolton. We have named this puppy "Country Golden's Justice For All". He will be called Justice. He is our 2nd donated puppy to this program.
Susan and Justice... love at first site!
Raising a Service Dog is no small thing. These trainers pour their heart and souls into these special dogs for 2 years. Once the dog graduates, it is time to say good-bye and good luck. These dogs will then move on to do what they have been trained to do. They will Serve those that have SERVED US, and they will give Freedom back to one that has fought for OUR FREEDOM.
Justice with Veteran
Knowing that you and I share a love for animals, I hope you will enjoy this (rather long) story of a Lab named "Tank"- It will make you cry so get out tissues..
They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean and the people really friendly. I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open.
Everyone waves when you pass them on the street. But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did. But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner. See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. Maybe we were too much alike.
For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls - he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes. I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he settled in. But It soon became pretty clear that he wasn't going to.
I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it. He never really seemed to listen when I called his name - sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth of fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever. When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.
This just wasn't going to work. He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell. The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "darn dog probably hid it from me" Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter.. I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and wagged, the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home.
But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat." Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction - maybe "glared" is more accurate - and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down...with his back to me. Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought. And I punched the shelter phone number. But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that, too. "Okay,Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."
"To Whomever Gets My Dog" Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner.
I'm not even happy writing it. If you're reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He knew something was different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong. And something is wrong... which is why I have to go to try to make it right.
So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you. First, he loves tennis balls the more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn't done it yet. Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be careful - really don't do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost me dearly.
Next, commands. Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones - "sit," "stay," "come," "heel." He knows hand signals: "back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your hand out right or left. "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He does "down" when he feels like lying down - I bet you could work on that with him some more. He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone"and "treat" like nobody's business. I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog. Feeding schedule:twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.
He's up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.
Finally, give him some time. I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially. Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new. And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you....
His name's not Reggie. I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie. He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt but I just couldn't bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again. And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine But if someone else is reading it, well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It'll help you bond with him Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.
His real name is Tank. Because that is what I drive. Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.
See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left Tank with... and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter... in the "event"... to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he'd do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.
Well, this letter is getting too downright depressing, even though, frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog. I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family. But still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.
That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things... and to keep those terrible people from coming over here. I had to give up Tank in order to do it. I am glad to have done so. He was my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.
All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don't think I'll say another goodbye to Tank though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth. Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night- from me.
I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.
I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog. "Hey, Tank," I said quietly. The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes brightened . "C'mere boy." He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.
"Tank," I whispered. His tail swished. I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him. "It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me." Tank reached up and licked my cheek. "So whatdaya say we play some ball? His ears perked again. "Yeah Ball.You like that? Ball". Tank tore off, and disappeared in the next room. And when he came back......