Those of you who know me, know that courage is my middle name. While I have finally stopped looking for the MOST difficult path to follow, I do still enjoy a challenge once in awhile. Truth be told, I'm not feeling so courageous right now.
Next Monday morning the 26th, Hope Ridge Irish Whiskey CGC, aka 'Abram', will be headed up to Camp Lejeune's military prison to complete his advanced service dog training under Carolina Canines for Service, before being finally placed with one of the returning Wounded Warriors from Iraq sometime this summer or fall. Abram will be two in March and will do me (and all ridgeback lovers) proud. Fortunately, one of the program requirements is continued contact with both foster parent and breeder, so I'll get to see him in action at some point, which makes losing him worthwhile.
As a breeder, I figured it would be relatively easy to say goodbye. After all, I was always THRILLED to see 8-10 week old poopin' machines go to their new homes, so how much different could it be?
Abram is a very special boy. Those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting him know what I'm talking about. He's found his karmic purpose, as so many dogs don't. I had one frail 84 year old lady that we visit with threaten to climb my fence and steal him away one night.
Please wish Abram well and consider helping with food and care for him at Carolina Canines http://www.carolinacanines.org/ . While the government provides the room and trainer, Carolina Canines still has ownership and upkeep of the dog. The program they are running is the first of its kind in the military prisons and will likely be the model for others, so that's exciting. This link will tell you a little more about the Wounded Warrior Project also, the men and women that dogs like Abram will help https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/content/view/412/875/ . Nothing much about the dogs, but you get an idea of what they are doing to help.
Another way you can help is by volunteering your time as a foster parent or puppy raiser for a year or two (all programs are different- check locally), with or without a donated puppy. My goal was to see whether one of my ridgebacks had it in him to become a well-mannered, biddable dog capable of assistng an adult in balance, support and other mobility related life tasks. I'm happy to report that he has done wonderfully, other than the few counter-surfing episodes once he learned to 'Rise'. He's nothing if not opportunistic and I think of that as a pretty typical RR trait.
It'll be awhile before I do another foster, mainly because I don't plan on doing any breeding for awhile and will want to continue to foster my own. I am connected with an assistance dog club in San Diego that should feed my need to stay involved, but I'll be pretty busy taking care of my new grandson anyway, so he trumps another puppy!