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This was my partner, bomb dog K9 Sanders. He was rejected from the Seeing Eye Institute for being too energetic but was perfect for our purposes.
He was the perfect partner, never questioning where or what I asked him to search, always trusting my judgement and super excited every time I turned on the siren to answer a call.
BUT, when we got home and my uniform came off, Sanders was ‘just a dog’. There were many times when he employed selective hearing, and my wife had more influence on him than I did!
Sanders' next job was to become the big brother, mentor, teacher and playmate for our first rescue dog Joey.
Joey and his siblings were rescued from SC at 3 months old, escaping the ‘gas chamber’ at the local shelter. Sanders taught Joey housetraining and Joey became his shadow.
It was Sanders who helped me teach Joey basic life skills and manners, how to be successful and sociable in the human and canine world. This relationship led the way for bringing our second rescue into our home. That dog, Rufus, came with a ton of fears & phobias.
Rufus was born in a shelter and lived in 2 others before living for 5 years at the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Utah. He spent his formative years in environments that were NOT a home and so our home was a challenge. He hadn’t been exposed to other dogs in a communal living type arrangement so he was even fearful of other dogs.
Dogs can be wonderful teachers for other dogs. it was Sanders and Joey that helped me change Rufus into a happier, less fearful/anxious dog. It sure made my job easier and it’s been quite educational as well.
It was about 6 months after Sanders unexpected passing in 2010 that Joey and Rufus began to rely on each other and became buds, pals, partners and protectors of each other. The torch may have been passed, but it would never have been if it wasn’t for Sanders.
In September 2013, we welcomed Jessie to our home. She also came from Best Friends Animal Society after she was found living with her two puppies underneath a chicken coop outside Fredonia, AZ.
Jessie is absolutely amazing, nature's miracle of good genetics. She has no fears, no issues and is completely loving of everything and everyone. She and Joey are now constant companions (which gives Rufus' old bones a break:). She has been the perfect complement to Joey and Rufus and as a team, they allow me to better educate people about all things dog as well as assist me when I'm working with dogs who have any kind of behavioral issues.
My big buddy Rufus passed away on March 15, 2016. Rufus was the single greatest teacher dog I've ever had the honor and privilege to be with. He always moved forward, overcame so much, was living, breathing proof that while he had his fears, he still found a way to enjoy life.
Behavior medication along with behavior modification protocols meant that within 18 months in our home, he was enjoying meeting people, loved going on group dog walks, found peace and joy anytime he was in the water and loved to sleep on the couch with his head in my wife's or nieces' laps.
So now it's been the Joey and Jessie show. She's the very tolerant but loving big sister and he's the pain in the butt little brother but they always want to be together, and they are a comedy act like no other.
My little buddy Joey was 14 when he passed away in 2021.
In 2018, we took in a young Pitbull pup due to the sudden passing of a family member.
His name is Glock and he's a goof, a dog that loves to lay next to or on top of one of us, who has no concept of his size and is always running us or the other dogs over when he gets excited.
He has gone to daycare to play with the other goofballs like him that are lacking in the same 'social graces' but is always "relearning" how to be appropriate with Jessie.
He and Jessie always try to outdo each other when it comes to tearing apart stuffed toys. He has brought fun, comedy and even some chaos to our home and we wouldn't have it any other way.