Being a service dog is not easy and it is not the calling for many dogs. The life of a service dog is one of constant change and exposure to novel stimuli. Unfortunately, as Patton progressed in his training, he showed increasing levels of stress in many situations. Patton is a dog who will thrive best in a stable environment. While the news of his release is disappointing to the entire Hero Dogs family, we are extremely grateful to Patton’s breeder, sponsor, puppy raiser, and trainers for their dedication and support. Patton has returned to his puppy raiser, Ed, where he will have a wonderful life filled with endless games of fetch.
Ed and “Patton” have written a note to their friends and supporters:
“There was always a chance this would happen… in fact they told me when I began (at 8 weeks old) that not every dog would make it all the way to becoming a Hero Dog. I needed to understand right from the get-go that to be an official Hero Dog for one of our wounded veterans means you’re more than smart, strong, and able to do tons of things that regular dogs can’t… you also have to be ‘just right’ to make it to the top.
“Well, today I got the news. I didn’t make the cut. It’s nothing I did or didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t do that made this happen… sort of like people… you’re either made for something or you’re not. And it seems, I just wasn’t the right fit for the very special work that Hero Dogs do.
“I’m sure gonna miss everyone a lot. But I’ll be watching from the sidelines rooting for my brother and sister trainees and hope they all make it all the way. The good news is that I get to go back home with Ed (who I lived and trained with since I was just a pup). And while I know he’s disappointed, I know he loves me and misses me and can’t wait to have me at his side once again.
“Our wounded soldiers deserve only the best. Thank you all for giving me the chance to try to be one… a true Hero Dog. I salute you all as I say goodbye.”
Ed and “Patton”
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I was either getting older or wiser or both. Things seem to really click now. I understand more and more of what I’m supposed to do and when… and I’m getting better at things too.
For example, when Ed takes me to the Giant he points at something on the shelf, says take it and put… and I take what he wants off the shelf and put it into the cart… no biggie. It’s like I was meant to.
(By the way, whenever we go there to shop people follow us around watching me shop and then put things in the bag when we’re finished. And then they clap and laugh. I’m not kidding and I’m not paranoid… ‘people’ are watching me all the time. What is it about a Hero Dog they don’t get?)
I’m also becoming one heckuva good ball catcher (which I really love to do!) Now that it’s getting warmer I hope I get to go swimming again. I really liked that last summer when I was just a pup.
Life is good here. Really good. I have no doubt I’m one very lucky dog.
Well, let me tell you January has been quite a month. Here I was, hangin’ out with my buds at the Hero Dogs HQ when WHAM…the door opened and there was Ed! After almost 6 weeks… He didn’t forget me after all!!
Not only was he there, we got to play ball together and then Jennifer and I showed him the new way I’m learning to “heel” better. But you know what’s best of all? Ed and I went home. Together!
Then, at the end of the month, Ed took me to my sponsor’s big fancy corporate dinner. It seems they all wanted to see how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve learned since they first met me when I was just 3 months old. Boy, were they surprised.
Ed was very, very proud of me. I did everything he asked me to do the first time, perfectly. Some of the things I showed the Knight Point Systems I could do were: sit, down, stay (forever), pick up a credit card and dime from the tiled floor (which for some reason absolutely blew people away), wait, leave it (including a whole plate of food on the floor Ed put right next to me)…you know… a little bit of everything.
Anyway, the president of the company said he was so impressed that he/they will sponsor another Hero Dog! (You too can become a Hero Dogs’ sponsor.)
Everyone there was so nice to me. I sure do have nice sponsors. And I’d be happy to visit them again anytime they want.…just thought you’d want to know.
Patton has been staying at the Hero Dogs facility with Libby (shown below) and the others. Patton continues learning new skills and improving on those he already knows. Special emphasis is being placed on “give” and staying quiet in the crate. He is also learning to play nicely with all the other puppies and has attended several events where he has been a very good ambassador for Hero Dogs.
It’s November, and I am going to be one year old! And, let me tell you, this has been one very busy year for me. So busy in fact that I haven’t had a chance to write to tell you all the things that I have done. Now, I am going to try to tell you, briefly, as much as I can remember. First of all, I have grown up from a tiny little guy to a tall and very handsome big guy. Look at my picture! I now weigh 70 pounds! Ed, my puppy raiser, is very proud of me. He takes me EVERYWHERE, and I love going with him. We have been to the Giant so many times that I am considered a real celebrity. All the people there know me, and the manager is now my friend. Everyone tells me that they have liked watching me grow and learn new skills. They still can’t believe that I can pick up a dime. And, they let me borrow shopping baskets so I can practice at home putting things in them and taking things out of them. I’m like a rock star – well, sorta.
Anyway, I am also very good at coming when called, leaving things Ed doesn’t want me to pick up, retrieving just about anything, and doing paws up on the counter. I have been to lots of restaurants where I sit quietly under the table or under a chair. And, even though the food smells really good, I keep my nose and tongue out of the way and off the table. Believe me when I tell you -this is no easy task for a Labrador retriever! I have also learned to sit patiently through many business meetings, and I have visited many offices. I’m good riding elevators and walking around construction sites. I love cows – not so much care about horses. I have run at least a zillion (I think that’s a big number) errands with Ed and have gone to loads of Hero-Dog events. Going to class is one of my favorite things because I get to see my friends and learn new things. I love to work!!