I was away for a week, came home to find a package sitting on the counter for me. This is one of our Marine veterans that gave up everything for his dog. We fostered her for a year while he took care of himself so when he got her back, life would be good and stable for the both of them. Now the sky is the limit for them. It's been an honor to be apart of their journey.
R.W.B. Dog T.A.G.S.
We did a Neuter assist for this handsome boy Rambo for his dad who is a Vietnam Veteran. A part of our assist we offer transportation to get them to get fixed and back home if the veteran is unable to get their animals/ Service Dogs, to the clinic. We did both for this team.
In the midst of some trying weeks for all of us, I'd like to share some good news.
USVETS called yesterday with a 911 need
A veteran was found living in the desert with his dog. He fell on some hard times and wouldn't give her up. HUDVASH processed him for housing but he couldn't get into Emergency shelter unless she had vaccination proof. I met with the veterans friend while he is in processing at the main VA, this morning.
Along with vaccines we supplied dog food and a bed. Once they are in their apartment we will drop off toys and a vest. Her name is Memphis -- I took the picture after her temperature was taken, she obviously was still in shock over the violation, lol. She's very sweet and it's awesome that we were able to step in and help guarantee the days of her and her dad on the streets are over.
Derek Michael Chambers
So tonight I was kinda great. I was driving down the road missing my girl Maggie which was my service dog that's gone and wondering if I would ever be able to get another service dog when my phone let out a ding letting me know I had a message on my messenger. So I opened it up and it said, “Derek can I have your number because the folks at RWB Dog TAGS would like to speak with you". So I gladly gave my number.
Then a little bit ago; I got the call. They were wondering if I still needed a service dog and was I still interested in Bandit, to which I answered ABSOLUTELY. Turns out something I'd wanted worked out. See a few weeks ago someone sent me a link to a poor service dog down in Florida that had been abandoned in a kill shelter. His name was Bandit. I could tell a lot by just the photo; he looked alone and sad, kind of like he had no one and just wished he had someone to rescue him and love him like they cared. I thought to myself holy crap that dog is me! We have to find each other. I put in all the work I possibly could to make it happen but he ended up with someone else (sidenote: there were a lot of moving parts and people in this frantic process), so I was sad, but happy for him.
Well due to unforeseen things that home didn't suit the people or Bandit. So RWB Dog TAGS wanted to know if I was still interested in giving Bandit a forever home. My only reply is “Hell Yes!”
I can't wait to meet my new battle buddy and partner. I am happier and more excited right now than I've been in a long time. Thank you guys so much. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Y'all have no idea how much this means to me and how happy I am. I honestly can't thank you enough.
So excited I can't sleep.... I can't wait for my big boy to get here. I could not have asked for a better group of folks. Y'all just walked in and completely changed the bad circumstances in my life to something so much better. Glad to have so many great new friends watching my 6.
Derek: I can't wait for Bandit to get here. I arrived in Chattanooga today. The days drag by waiting but I know it's totally worth the wait. I am so glad help is on the way
We reached out on every pet transport site we could reach and took referrals for every person who might have a way to accomplish our goal.
Good morning all! We're in need of your help!! We need to transport Bandit from Lakeland FL area to Chattanooga TN area. Does anyone have family, friends, etc. that may be able to help us with different parts/legs of the trip? Please everyone let us know of any ideas you may have.
We've had many obstacles, including hurricane Irma, but he's going to get there thanks to the know-how and assistance of Becky Jolly and Gail Fogel Pierce. These ladies are something special and we have a ton of admiration for their dedication in helping animals get to better homes and families.
UPDATE ON BANDIT:
As of this evening, we have secured transport for Bandit. One last step to take will be getting him a health certificate so he's legal for travel. Have reached out to a number of veterinarians around his current area to try and set this up as soon as possible. Thank you everyone who offered suggestions, help, and reached out to contacts. 🐾 🐾
UPDATE ON BANDIT:
Hallelujah! Found a veterinarian for Bandit and he has an appointment for this morning.
Now I'm going to take a nap; I'm so not a morning person, there should only be one 5:00 in a day and it should be followed by a PM. LOL (Yes, as the Army guys pointed out there is only one 05:00 the other is 17:00 – hey, don’t pick on the girl working on 3 hours sleep.)
UPDATE ON BANDIT: Apparently he really is a dog for the military people, sudden changes in orders, cancelled leave, etc. The lady who was going to transport him this weekend was admitted to the hospital and can't get to FL this weekend. So plans have been revised to have her or one of her people transport him the following weekend. Would someone tempt Murphy into playing elsewhere?
Gail is an amazing woman who rescues and transports dogs regularly all over the eastern half of the U.S. and I know after just a couple of conversations with her this was devastating to her. She does what she says and no one gets in her way. Our thoughts and prayers go to her for a speedy recovery.
Update on Operation Bandit:
Dade reached out to his contacts and through word of mouth reached Billy the Oath Keepers Southeast Coordinator who was in turn able to tap a Marine K9 handler on the Pinellas PD. Officer Nathan retrieved Bandit this morning and took him home as a houseguest until his route north to Derek is ironed out and nailed down. I've never been so happy to hear the words "Ma'am the Marines have landed you tell them, we've got this and will take care of our brother (Bandit) in need." They are now looking to see if they can tap additional shoulders to relay him to Derek sooner than our last estimated ETA.
Ladies & Gentlemen, I've always known the military family will pull together when needed and it is an amazing occurrence to be standing in the midst of when everything starts to come together. We can't thank any of you enough for the encouragement, help, ideas, outreach, or just checking in on this process. It's been a hell of a roller coaster for all involved and we're all cheering for a happy beginning for Derek and Bandit together.
I completed multiple combat deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and others around the globe. I was an infantry platoon sergeant, Company Gunnery Sergeant, and Senior Enlisted Advisor. While deployed my life entailed: leading patrols on foot and vehicle, calling in CASEVAC (casualty evacuation), providing CASEVAC, indirect fire support, cordons for EOD, transporting detainees, watch officer, and advising foreign nationals on weapons, tactics, and procedures.
Life as an infantryman was 100 MPH; either you were deployed or getting ready to deploy. There wasn’t much time to think about what had happened, when you are getting ready for what is going to happen next. From 2007 to 2014 life was all about the action, the high, the rush or whatever you want to call it. It wasn’t until 2015 my life slowed down; the deployments stopped and I was left alone with my demons. The drinks got larger and stronger, sleep became torture and my way of coping was slipping from me.
On the advice of Medical, I started counseling in late 2015. I found talking with someone who had never been in my boots frustrated me even further, especially when their idea of providing support was in the form of pharmaceuticals. I refused to lose any more of me; I once liked who I was and wanted to get back to that person. I contacted numerous service animal programs around the United States; through them I was sent multiple page applications and told their waiting lists were 12-24 months for a service dog. It took me almost a decade to tell someone I trusted I needed help, telling a complete stranger who might be able to help me in two years was an epic fail. My mindset was; I won’t make it another 12-24 months so it won’t matter anyway.
In desperation, I started an internet search for dogs to fit me based on a selection from an Animal Planet personality test. This gave me some hope; maybe it will all be okay. I knew the perfect dog for me was one that was going to love me as much as I loved it.
In early October 2015 I was contacted by RWB about getting some Marines to provide a Color Guard for the Marine Corps Ball in November. I started communications with M.P. and explained I was looking for a service dog for myself. I met Cara on November 14, 2015; ours is a bond that clicked upon meeting, I walked her around training group and she would put her foot on mine, signifying to me, you are not going anywhere. The final seal of approval was when I bent down to tell her goodbye and she gave me that first kiss. I brought Cara home on Dec 5, 2015 and we spent my last 18 months of active duty educating Marines, leadership, and the public on the benefits of service animals.
We continue educating each other and are looking forward to educating and helping other Veterans.
I completed two tours in Afghanistan. I was a convoy commander and worked in the tactical operational center. I monitored every movement from convoys, calling in air strikes, to medical evaluations.
First night in Afghanistan our Forward Operating Base (FOB) was rocket attacked. That is when the lights went out for me. I learned this was going to be my life for the next year. I shut off all emotions. The things I saw, heard, smelled ... never left me.
I was working at the VA teaching a class. Ingrid (RWB alumni) came to my class with her service dog Nacho. She was telling me about RWB and I should come one Saturday to check out the training. Simba and I did. I found a new home. Ingrid and I had the two smallest dogs ever, minpin and chihuahua/pug mix. Both dogs might have weighed 20 pounds together.
After months of training, Simba was certified. It was such a great relief being able to go out in public, Simba would wake me up if I was having a nightmare. Distracted me when I was becoming upset or having high anxiety. RWB gave me my life back.
Now I am paying it forward by becoming a certified dog trainer to help my fellow brothers and sisters who have worn the uniform!
My name is Aaron. It was less than 6 months since I was medically retired from active duty. I was medically retired due to my injuries sustained in combat. I was deployed to Afghanistan, in one of the most volatile areas called Kunar Province. Unfortunately, a mortar round cause my injuries leading me to be a double amputee. The first year of my transition back to civilian life was really rough, from losing my family and the stress of dealing with my injuries physically/mentally. I've always thought about getting a service dog, but I didn't know where to begin or the cost to cover for training. I met a fellow vet in my group classes I was taking at the time and he mentioned RWB Dog TAGS. It didn't happen right away, but it took me to realize that I needed help. So with a little help, I got a hold of the organization. It was around April 2014 when I met Bear, and he's been by my side ever since. Helping me by getting up the stairs and pulling me on my wheel chair at times when I can't stand or walk. Even though he does help me physically, Bear has been there at my side when I'm down or a trigger happens. Although I have lost body parts, wife and kids; I know I can count on Bear to be there for me as well as RWB Dog TAGS.
Dr. Marvin Carter
Semper joined Dr. Carter on his journey in early 2014 when he and MP rescued him from a shelter. Dr. Carter had read many studies about the many benefits service dogs provide to combat Veterans, but still had his doubts.
Semper made him a believer in the advantages of a service dog. Dr. Carter had never had a dog before. All his friends and family are amazed at the improvement Semper has made in his life. Semper travels with him, logging multiple cross country road and airplane trips. He behaves better on planes than many people do.
As a team, they truly epitomize the concept of saving two individuals at a time.
Sgt. Tracy Price and Princess - My first Service Dog placement March 2011.
Sgt. Price's experience with another Service Dog Organization is what led me to start matching / donating rescue dogs with Combat Veterans.
Sgt. Price was originally donated a Lhasa Apso that came from a puppy mill. Unfortunately, the dog had a hole in his forehead which never closed. This led to him being very unhealthy and was not able to perform tasks necessary as a Service Dog. Pups on Parole took in Brutus (the Lhasa Apso) and gave him the medical attention and surgeries he needed, then put him in their program, later he was adopted into his forever home by an older retired couple.
In the meantime, Princess came as an owner turn in to a small rescue. I saw her, evaluated her and had Sgt Price come down and meet with her. 2 weeks later he took her home. After 2 years of strict training, they graduated full honors with RWB DOGTAGS.