This weekend my Daddy worked a Dock Diving event at a PetSmart located at Patriots Place in Foxboro MA. He was stuck inside for his shifts. The only time he got to see the dock diving was when he took mommy back to it Saturday afternoon. I flew down to watch too. Those dock diving dogs are awesome, they are very intense and can fly high in the air.
When a store has a big event at Patriots Place, and the team is in town, they send a player to sign autographs. On Sunday they sent center David Andrews, from Georgia, to represent the team. Daddy didn’t pay him much attention. Daddy was working, and he has never been one to ask for autographs or selfies.
A woman who works with Daddy wanted a picture with Mr. Andrews but was too shy to ask. Daddy asked him, and his wife, if it was alright if his co-worker could have a photo taken with the center. They were happy to comply. Daddy took the picture, and when he checked it, he noticed that Mr. Andrews was wearing a shirt that said “Warrior Dogs.”
Daddy inquired about the organization, and Mr. Andrews told him that Warrior Dogs was started by a buddy of his named Mike Ritland, a former Navy Seal. Mr. Ritland works with military dogs who have returned from war. Sometimes they can’t be placed with families until they are retrained. Military dogs, like so many soldiers, cannot turn off their training, or the war when they return home.
I was unaware that war dogs have a difficult time adjusting when they returned home. They need to be hyper-focused to do their jobs, and when they return they maintain that vigilance which makes them a challenge as a family pet. The dog could respond to his training and hurt someone, or be suffering from PTSD which makes them risky pets. We have dogs for people who suffer from PTSD. Don’t we need humans to do the same for dogs?
Warrior Dogs, led by Mr. Ritland, become therapy humans for these veterans. They have three goals for the proud animals. The first is to train them to be able to go to their forever homes, if that is not possible then they find another area where they can be of service, in police departments on another branch of the military. If neither of these is possible the dogs live out their lives with grace and dignity at the Warrior Dogs kennel in Texas.
Before meeting Mr. Andrews, my parents thought that military dogs were stuck in kennels because the military was not making an effort to keep them with their handlers. But often, when the handler cannot be with the dogs around the clock, and they are left with spouses or children, their training, and the terror of war, make the dogs act out and the non-handling parent unable to care for them. The military does not train dogs not to serve, and sadly, too many of these heroes are sent to the Bridge
That is why organizations like Warrior Dogs are so important. No longer do these dogs who served our country so vigilantly have to live, and die, alone in shelters. Now they are being retrained for home or work and being given a kennel in Texas to run around and play. If you like to donate you or learn more, you can here.
Who would have thought some good would come out of one of our parents going to work?