Slider, a seven-month-old labrador retriever, is one of the newest puppy recruits, training to become a service dog at K9s For Warriors. Slider came to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as a surrendered canine, which essentially means the family he once knew no longer wanted to care for him. Being ignored is difficult… being neglected is painful… but being thrown away by the people who are supposed to love you… UNIMAGINABLE! I cannot fathom how someone – human being or animal – could ever recover from that! I believe that Slider has though.
My name is Samantha, and I am the lucky girl raising Slider. When I first met him, I was very surprised by his demeanor. It seemed he should have been anxious and confused when he was brought to Camp K9, but he was not AT ALL! Instead, it was almost like he had come to terms with the fact that his former family didn’t want him, and he was ready to push forward… accepting the mission of becoming a service dog. He was really cheerful and silly, the type of dog that I prefer. He passed his evaluation with the K9s Intake Coordinator, and we were sent on our merry way together.
I took him to Walmart with me before going home to my Jacksonville, FL, apartment. Because he is training to become a service dog, he can go in any public place with me that I choose. I slipped his red training vest on, and took him inside the store. At first, he was afraid to step onto the glossy, reflective floor. But with encouragement and affection, he quickly overcame his fear. Walking around with him felt right. He was very well-behaved in public, and wore his vest with pride. I have no doubt that he will be a wonderful PTSD service dog. His story started out dismally but will end happily. Slider will live with me until he is old enough to move into the kennel at K9s For Warriors. At that point, he will begin his formal service dog training.
Every Dog Has its Day…
Slider’s will be the day he graduates from K9s For Warriors.
He was surrendered but saved, and now he is focusing
on training to save the life of a veteran.