Area dogs soar in K9s for Warriors program fill

Published 7:08pm Tuesday, January 8, 2013

After two weeks with Armstrong, Drifter went to stay with Beryl Dade, who continued his care and reinforced his training. But both ladies admit that

Beryl Dade with Drifter, the second animal to come to K9s from Foothills Humane Society via the Service Animal Project. (photo submitted)

Drifter “virtually trained himself.” Drifter went everywhere with Dade in his “portable crate” (Dade’s car).  Not a bad thing, since service dogs must ride well in vehicles of all sorts. He attended a church dinner with Dade, and somehow knew to be careful around a woman in a wheelchair who was also in attendance. He nudged her hand gently in greeting, and then quietly sat down by her chair. He behaved similarly when Dade took him to see a 100-year-old friend of hers who wanted to meet Drifter.  Drifter nudged her hand, put his head in her lap so she could pet him, and then he lay down by her feet and stayed there, quietly. Drifter also got to meet plenty of animals at Harmon Field, providing additional exposure to different situations and socialization.

David Pritchard noted that Lily, SAP’s third dog, who graduated from K9s in December, also virtually trained herself.

“The first Thursday I had her we went to Deborah’s obedience class. She was a star. Although I had been working with her on obedience prior to Thursday’s class, she had never, to my knowledge, done any agility such as climbing, going through pipes, jumping over poles, etc.,” Pritchard said. “She excelled, going through the course with no problems. I think all of us were amazed at what she had done. She is a very intelligent dog, to say the least.”

All three fosters stressed how much they enjoyed helping a dog on his/her journey to their warrior, and that they will gladly continue to foster for SAP as much as they can.

“I really enjoyed it because of the purpose,” said Dade. “You’re doing something for someone you may never meet. We prepared Drifter for someone who has done so much for us.”  Armstrong agreed completely, noting this is a way she can help someone who has come back from war with injuries, including psychological injuries.

“The great thing about this program is that the benefit is (at least) two-fold,” Pritchard said. “We are doing a great thing in rescuing an orphaned dog, but more importantly, pairing this lucky dog with a deserving warrior who truly needs a companion that can provide support, love, and trust.”

SAP is in need of more fosters for the program. If you are interested in participating, please contact SAP at for more information.

To donate to SAP, please make your check or money order out to “Foothills Humane Society” and be sure to note “SAP” on the check or money order to ensure that your donation is applied properly.  Please mail your donations to FHS, P.O. Box 126, Tryon, N.C. 28782.

Donations are currently used to help pay for food and supplies while the dogs are in foster care, and their transport to K9s for Warriors.

– article submitted by Sev Bennet

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