As many of PSD's supporters know, we have welcomed five new puppies to our training program! While these little guys and girls are cute little puppies now, in two years. they will make up Patriot Service Dogs' Class of 2024. We are excited to officially welcome them and introduce them to all of PSD's supporters.
In age order...meet the Class of 2024!
Elvis is sponsored by AmVets of Leesburg.
He ain't nothing but a hound dog--actually, he is a Dalmation Mix, but we are probably going to keep using that joke until he graduates. Elvis is a very unique looking dog--he has a beautiful Dalmation coat, feet so big he often trips over them, and the cutest little stub for a tail. His legs have grown so long recently, he looks like clumsy baby giraffe when he stands. Everyone who meets him falls in love!
Elvis was donated to the program from Petland Largo. The same Petland who donated Tank, the Bernese Moutain Dog, to us several years ago. We are excited to continue our relationship with them. Their cooperate team and mangers on the ground were very helpful in working with us to choose a strong candidate for service dog work.
Elvis is already showing signs of a great service dog--he loves people (he is an A+ cuddler) but is respectful of children and understands how to play on his own when the attention is not all on him. He is also curious about new situations. We worried that Elvis might need some extra time to catch up to the rest of his class because he came to us at an older age, but he's a natural and is already on track.
Shanandoah is sponsored by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. She is their third puppy sponsorship! PSD appreciates their continued support of our program and how much dedication the Eagles put into sponsoring each dog. Luckily, the Eagles got a chance to meet Shanandoah in person before her last growth spurt! Now, weighs 25 pounds and is a chunky little girl to carry.
Shanandoah, known to her friends as "Shannon," is a Fox Red Lab purchased from EmberRays Labs in Georgia along with her brother, Duke. Shannon was the biggest girl in her litter, and she has the confidence to prove it! She is fearless in new situations and has adapted well to her first two trips with puppy raisers. We can't wait to see this girl in action once she begins her training working in public. Her confidence is going to take her far!
Like his sister, DuKe has already met his sponsors in person. He is sponsored by The Friends of Warrior Wellness in honor of Kyle Bobb and Eugene O LeDuc. His name, DuKe, represents WWII veteran pilot, LeDuc, who was fixture at Warrior Wellness in his later years. The official spelling of his name, with a capital "K," represents Kyle Bobb, a Warrior Wellness volunteer and son of Warrior Wellness staff member and PSD grad, Chris Sowell. Kyle was preparing to join the Navy when he died in a fishing accident at the age of 20. So, DuKe has big shoes to fill to honor these two men, but luckily, he has big paws and a big personality, so he is up to the job.
Brother to Shanandoah, DuKe is the goofier of the siblings. When he doesn't want to go for a walk or practice his commands, he lays down and rolls over, looking for a belly rub instead. But DuKe has been excelling at his socialization training and is working hard on maintaining a heel, waiting at the door, and doing his "puppy pushups" with his puppy raisers. Even when he is being goofy, it is hard not to smile at this little guy.
CC is sponsored by Mary Ann Seely. Sponsoring a future service dog is a big commitment for an individual or family to take on, so support like Mrs. Seely means a lot to our organization. We keep all sponsors regularly updated with notes on the dog's progression and photos so they can see the continued impact of their donation.
CC is an English Golden Retriever who was purchased from Iron Hills Retrievers in Iowa. PSD made the long trip to Iowa for CC and her sister Josephine because we have had great success with our two other Iron Hill dogs--Bear and Millie. Iron Hills puts a lot of work into their puppies from their first days of life to the day they are ready to come home at eight-weeks-old. They work on exposing their puppies to different stimulants like music, uneven surfaces, and water. They also get to know each of the puppies individually, so we asked for the two most confident girls of the litter--and they delivered! CC is already out with her puppy raiser, getting exposure training and practicing her commands!
Josephine is sponsored by Mary Minor Brown and is named in honor of Mrs. Minor Brown's brother-in-law, Joe. Joe served in the Marines and guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldeir in Washington D.C. Mrs. Minor Brown is a member of the Jacaranda Isles community who have long been supporters and sponsors of PSD.
When it comes to enrichment training, Josephine is the standout star of the Class of 2024! She loves running through the tunnel, jumping on elevated platforms, and even balancing on our wobble board! The wobble board is one of our most challenging enrichment tools--it is a flat surface with a half sphere bottom, so it requires great balance and confidence to use. Josephine can not only get all four paws on the wobble board but can do a "down" and "shake" on it! So far, none of the other puppies are this advanced. The skills she learns in enrichment training will directly translate to the rest of her training in commands and public access.
Josephine has a long way to go, and is still very much a puppy, but she is going to make a great service dog one day!