Joker’s Journey — From Shelter Dog to Alert Service Dog in Training

joker

Hello humans!  I’m Joker (and more recently known as River), and I’m a 16 month old Lab/Border Collie mix.  I have a cool story to tell you about me and my journey from being at HSGKC to being an Alert Service Dog in Training.  My story starts back in July, when I was surrendered by my owner because of a real bad wound I had on my back (I had either a wound or a chemical burn that got infected), and they couldn’t afford to take care of me, so I came to HSGKC.

joker_before2joker_toyAfter my wound healed a bit, our humans started to let volunteers take me out in the yard to play and go on walks.  Well, one day, Pete was watching me play fetch with a volunteer (I LOVE playing fetch!), and when Pete  noticed how good I was at bringing the toy back to the volunteer over and over again, he saw something special in me.  He contacted his friend, Eliodora, who is a Canine Working Dog Recruiter (and she does a LOT of other really cool stuff, too) to come out to HSGKC and see me in action.  Eliodora also saw something special in me, and potential for me to go on to do something really cool because of my toy drive.  So, she showed Pete, Christine and Amber how to play with me to build up my stamina and keep me engaged with toys.

Pete, Christine and Amber worked with me for about a month, taking time everyday to play fetch with me!  I loved it!!  (On a funny note — one of the things they had to do to keep my energy up and positive was to yell funny stuff when I’d bring the toy back to them… Christine was the silliest ’cause she’d yell stuff like “all right, all right, all right!!!!” which I guess is from some movie she likes… anyways, I thought she was pretty amusing).

Me and Pete before I left for Indiana.

Anyway, they worked with me for about 2 months, everyday, and all the hard work we did (well, it wasn’t really “work” for me, it was FUN!) paid off. Eliodora came out to see me in action again, and thought I’d be well suited as a Diabetic Alert Dog.  She contacted a friend and colleague with Alert Service Dogs in Indiana… and I was accepted into their training program!!!  I went to Eliodora’s house on Tuesday, and Wednesday she took me out to different places to expose me to new situations (and I was on TV, too!) to prepare me for my plane trip and training. I left yesterday, and got to go on an airplane with Eliodora to Indiana!  I’m going to start training real soon, and after I finish training, I’ll be matched with a person who’s diabetic, and live with them.

Joker_plane

Me on the airplane with Eliodora. After we landed, she said I “ROCKED!”

I’ve heard our humans talking about different kinds of jobs dogs like me can do (I’m energetic, friendly with humans and other dogs, and I have a VERY high toy drive… meaning I LOVE my toys, like a LOT), from FEMA Search and Rescue, or Wildlife Search and Rescue to Diabetic Alert Dogs to Bomb/Drug Detection Dogs. We’re dogs who have “jobs” where we help humans. We’re the dogs who are in shelters, and will be adopted and sometimes returned because we’re too high energy, we bark a lot, and need a job to do.  Most dogs who do these types of jobs come from humans who breed “working” dogs, but what some humans don’t know is that some of us are in shelters, waiting for an opportunity like this, to go on and help humans. I was given an opportunity for a better life when I was taken in by HSGKC and received care to heal my wound, and now I can return the favor and help a human in need.   Us “shelter dogs” are just as awesome as dogs from breeders, and my journey is proof of that!

I’ll let you know how training goes for me!  I’m gonna work super hard to complete training so I can go on to be a Diabetic Alert Dog, companion, and best friend to someone who needs me as much as I need them.  Bye for now!

Donate

Zappa

zappa

Heya humans!  How ya doin’?  I’m bloggin’ today for a coupla reasons…1 cuz I’m in HSGKC’s BEG Program Basic Obedience Class 1.0, (our first class was last night) with my fav human, Jai (just sayin’… you humans got lots of fancy words for stuff, lol)!, for 2 cuz I really wanna find a foster home… but I’ll talk ’bout that soon, an’ 3 cuz I’m goin’  to Four Paws Pantry and Spa in Olathe for a satellite on Saturday!  Awesome!! The satellite is from 11am to 3pm.

zappa_bianca_car

I love ridin’ in the car with my buddy Bianca!

K, so HSGKC’s BEG Program is somethin’ real cool started by Pete… he got a real spiffy title not too long ago, and he’s now our Director of Canine Enrichment, so he’s like the boss of doggy stuff here!  He’s gettin’ help from volunteers for stuff like our obedience classes to help improve our lives while we’re here waiting for our humans to find us, and to make us more adoptable by teachin’ us manners and such.  I spent the first part of class starin’ at my handsome self in the glass… but after a bit, I got the hang of things and did good… except I don’t lay all the way down…I like to lay down with by bum in the air!!  I think it’s funny!  I did “stays” pretty good for Jai, an’ “watch me”, an’ “sits”!  I think next week will be fun, too.  I’m in class with Penny Lane, Duke, Joe-Joe (he’s a REAL funny lookin’ dog), and Milo.  Obedience classes are just 1 thing our humans are doin’ for us, and all us dogs are super excited ’bout the fun things we’re gonna do (like AGILITY… I think I’d ROCK at that cuz I do like to jump high!).  Another cool thing is for dogs like me who are a lil choosy ’bout our doggy friends to get a “walkin’ buddy”… and I gots one, Bianca!  We’re cool together walkin’ and stuff, and we love gettin’ to go on long walks together!  See both of us play best with dogs who don’t care if they’re the “alpha” dog… and me and Bianca both think we’re the top dog, lol!  We go on errands with Jai, too, and love goin’ for car rides together! The BEG Program is somethin’ I think makes HSGKC real special… cuz our humans care about us a lot and wanna make our lives awesome while we’re here!

zappa_dogbed

Lovin’ my tiny dog bed.

zappa_dogbed2

Time to stretch!

So the other thing I wanna talk ’bout is I do wanna find a foster home… see I’ve been here since March, and sometimes Pit Bulls like me have a harder time bein’ in a shelter for a spell.  We’re real sensitive to our environments… and we get stressed out cuz there’s always lots and lots of stuff goin’ on (like dogs comin’ and goin’, and humans comin’ and goin’), and we try real hard to adapt.  Well, I’m kinda showin’ some signs of stress and our humans just don’t like seein’ me stressed, so they’re tryin’ to find me a foster home.  I wanna make them happy cuz they’re always doin’ extra things for us, so I thought I’d blog ’bout wantin’ a foster home so maybe someone would wanna get to know me better, and foster me!  I’m a good boy, sweet, affectionate, and real smart.  I love goin’ on our Pack Walks, so I’d love an active human or two who’d take me on jogs, hikes, or long walks! I don’t gotta have a home with a fenced in yard cuz I can jump pretty high, but if ya gotta a tall fence (like at least 6 feet), that’d be cool, too.  I’m not the kinda dog who plays fetch much… I don’t really see the point in the game, like what’s fun about chasin’ a ball or rope, bringin’ it back to a human, and doin’ it all over again… hey ya know, if that’s the kinda thing ya like, more power to ya, but that’s kinda goofy, I think!  I’m kinda picky ’bout my doggy friends, so I’d either like a friend like Bianca, or a dog who’d just do their own thing and wouldn’t be all over me, ya know?  I’ve been told I can’t live with cats… cuz I like chasin’ them.  I’ve been ’round small humans (kids) and I’m good with them too, but maybe not real tiny ones cuz I’ve heard they need lots of attention!  I don’t make a mess in my kennel, so I’ll be good in your home, I promise!

Anyways, I’m gonna go for a walk with Bianca!  If ya wanna meet me, or learn more ’bout how to foster me, you can email Jai.  I’ll let ya know how I’m doin’ in class soon! Don’t forget to come out to Four Paws Pantry & Spa if ya wanna meet me and some other adoptable dogs!  Bye!!

Read more ’bout me >

Donate