Monday, March 9, 2009

Joshua named 2009 Booker Willoughby Service Dog of the Year

Competing against numerous service dogs across the east coast, Joshua was one of five Carolina Canines Service Dogs nominiated for the Booker Willoughby Service Dog Award sponsored by the Lambda Chapter of Mega Tau Sima (OTS) at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Balckburg, VA.

The award was first presented to Booker Willoughby whose owner, Mrs. Carol Willoughby, established the the Sanit Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation. A unique nomination, it is written from the dogs perspective about how the dog helps their human partner. The nomination are open to dogs trained to service including service dogs, search and rescue and law enforcement.

We are proud to have one of our service dogs trained in the Carolina Canines for Veterans program win this award. The hours of dedication of all of our prisoner handlers, foster families, trainers, volunteers and staff are acknowledge through this award. Here's what Joshua had to say about himself:

"I help my person by retrieving dropped items, retrieving drinks from the refrigerator, opening the door, retrieving the telephone, cell phone or remote when Joey asks. Joey is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom was severely injured in Iraq in October 2004 and is a triple amputee. I was trained for him in the Carolina Canines for Veterans program at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Brig. One of the hardest tasks I do for my person is help him take off his prosthetic legs. This takes us about 5 minutes for each leg, but it is a lot faster than the 15 minutes took Joey before he got me."

Congratualtions to Joshua, Carolina Canines for Veterans and of course, Joey!

1 comment:

Carol Willoughby said...

I want to congratulate Carolina Canines Veteran's program at Camp Legeune for their exceptional training of service dog Joshua. I especially want to pay tribute to U.S. Army veteran Joey! I am so proud of your service and sacrifice for our country -- and of your inspiring teamwork with Joshua. Together you are proving that those with disabilities can live productive lives and make a difference in the world. I applaud you for winning the 2009 Booker Award.

My service dog Booker was the first service dog honored in 1997 by Omega Tau Sigma Veterinary Fraternity (OTS) at Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, Booker died two weeks before the award was to be presented. He became the namesake for the OTS annual award.

As a career Marine aviator's daughter, I lived at Camp Legeune's Air Facility (MCAF) in Jacksonville, NC for a time growing up. I can't tell you how proud I am today to know the difference Joey and Joshua make for each other and all those fortunate enough to be around them.

A beautiful engraved plaque bearing the names of Joey and Joshua, as well as a plaque with Carolina Canines for Service, will hang permanently in the lobby of Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, beside a portrait of Booker and the names of all past and future award winning teams.

Please send my email address to Joey. I would love to email him directly. I can also be found on Facebook.

Great job Carolina Canines! Tremendous teamwork Joey and Joshua!

Best to all,

Carol Willoughby & Griffin
Co-founder, Saint Francis Service Dogs
Roanoke, Virginia
(Visit me on Facebook!)