Originally Posted by Redemption
Pete, could you fill me (us) in on how you were picked to do this training? My wife has wanted to do this for civilian service dogs for years.
My lab is getting up there in age, and I know he won't be with us much longer. I would love to help fulfill her dreams of training a service dog. I couldn't do it with him in his last months with us, but would like to start "planning".
And thank you for helping all of our service "people"!
Amy Martinez is a civilian staff member of the DOD Breeding Program at Lackland Air Force Base. In December the department was struggling to house and care for puppies under the age of 8 weeks over the Christmas holiday. I have three daughters she thought would enjoy the experience. I said we would be happy to help. By the time the paperwork and security check was complete, we missed that opportunity.
We started looking into this on a deeper level. Talking to two of my favorite EOD and other military personnel with first hand experience we began to understand the value of Soldier Dogs. The more we learned the more we wanted to do this as a way to thank all those that have served. Along the way we saw these are not ordinary dogs. They are special dogs that form special bonds and become an invaluable part of deployed units. We decided to do at least two dogs. One for Danny and one for Ben.
When our guy Ppirro was scheduled to return for duty we learned first hand how difficult this was going to be for the family. We have experienced on a very different level how parents and relatives feel when their son or daughter head off for boot camp. My respect and appreciation of their sacrifices has increase 10 fold.
So how do you get involved? At Lackland you have to live within two hours of the base, have a suitable home and or work environment to raised a Belgian Malinois that expects to be busy 12 to 16 hours a day. If they are not busy they will find a way to be busy that is generally destructive. No matter what the handbook tells you, your job is to raise a rude and belligerent Military Working Dog that can survive kennel life and develop the dogs emotional need for reward and praise from a human. The more the pup becomes attached to you and your family, the stronger they will bond with future handlers.
It has been a week since we turned Ppirro in. We all still have moments during the day. My kids sent me on my road trip with a miniature Mal in a plastic bag that reads:
Ppirro for Pete Basica (it was shipped to Tom Henry Chevrolet)
Do not lose me.
The girls created a Facebook page for Ppirro. You can learn more about him here. https://www.facebook.com/ppirrobasica
There is a shortage of Soldier Dogs. Soldier Dogs save lives. If there is a base with a program near you I encourage you to support them by fostering. Foster a future Guardian of the Night