I’ve talked in prior posts about fostering for an organization called Northwest Battle Buddies. Run by a *fantastic* dog trainer, out of her kennel, they train dogs to be service animals for veterans. These animals get some of the most training out of any veteran org out there – a minimum of 6 months *before* they’re paired with their new person, and another 6 weeks *with* their person. It’s an amazing org, and if you’re so inclined, you can learn more here:
We’ve fostered three pups thus far. Our first one washed out – too fearful to make it through. So he went to some good friends, and has made a *wonderful* pet. Our second one, Miss Addie, is the one you see above. We had her longer than usual due to covid, but she finally finished her training and has been paired with her veteran just last week. I blacked out his face because it’s not my place to broadcast him – but trust me when I say the smile on his face matches the joy shown by his hat.
I’ve had SO MANY people ask me how I could bear to give her up. And today, I can fully give that answer. Because the sheer JOY for him beats our sadness. Because this man – and by extension, these veterans – *need* these animals more than we do. And because at the end of the day? Anything we can do to help someone else out is what we *should* be doing. Some of these veterans haven’t been able to go grocery shopping, or out to dinner with their loved ones, or to a theater for YEARS – because they were too afraid. And now, they’ll be able to live their lives with more joy and comfort with a constant companion that loves them no matter what.
I’m not gonna lie. I sobbed when I saw this picture, and the rest that went with it. But the tears were JOY. My heart is so full right now, knowing that she has her forever human (and based on that hat, is probably a pretty darn good one). I’m STILL tearing up, to be honest. But I’m so proud of her for completing training, and so excited for her next chapter – and that she’ll be *useful*, helping someone who has helped all of us.
For anyone curious – no, we don’t train the dogs. We don’t do anything but love them and house them and feed them. Only requirements are a fenced-in yard, patience, love, some toys, and a place for them to sleep.
Here’s a link to a short series of videos about why Northwest Battle Buddies was founded, why it’s so important, and about some of the veterans who have benefited. They *do* take donations if you’re not local or can’t foster, but I urge you – if you can foster a pup? Do so. Your heart will grow 3 sizes. 😉