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Thread: RETRIEVING FREEDOM, Inc.

  1. #11
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    Aaron, I am pretty sure that is correct, but lets get that from Scott or Charles just to make sure....

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Dewey View Post
    The first change we needed to make in our plan was a way to reduce our washout rate to a level well below a very high industry average. We realized that every dog would not have the abilities to make an assertive service dog for a disabled veteran, and we introduced children with autism into our plan. We feel that dogs chosen with the desired breeding traits would have a very high chance of success in one of these two markets. Often times the dogs that do not meet the requirements for a disabled veteran will be a perfect match for an autistic child.
    I'm curious about what you look for in a service dog for disabled veterans, and what you look for when preparing one for an autistic child. For guide dogs for the blind, I thought I heard/read that they look for dogs with very low prey drive, extremely calm/laid back, etc. Obviously, field trial prospects/washouts will have very high prey drive, and very high energy. I would be very interested in knowing what kind of tasks these dogs perform, and what kind of training they go through as they get ready to assist our veterans.
    El Matavenados
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  3. #13
    Senior Member Charles Dwyer's Avatar
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    Folks,

    First off let me say Thank You to the support Scott and I have received over the last year. This has been a project in the works for almost two years now and has been quite the path that we have been led down. I donít believe things happen by chance and truly believe that Scott and I have been blessed to know what it is that we are supposed to do with our lives and in that process have had one door after another opened. We had many obstacles and just when things would start to look hopeless, the answer would be just around the corner. So here we are, one dog placed, a growing waiting list, and dogs in the pipeline!

    Donald,

    In response to your question, our long term goal is to have an in house breeding program that hopefully will give us the standard that we are comfortable with training and confident that once placed with a recipient a minimal amount of follow up will be required. If we do a good enough job through the placement process we will give the recipient enough information to maintain the dog as well as advance his abilities once they get home and really start to see the things that these dogs can do. In a sense we expect the majority of our recipients to actually take the training we have put into the dog to an even higher specific needs level. This in itself is an incredible type of therapy both physical and mental. It helps immensely with PTSD patients as well as physically damaged recipients. These dogs make them get up and get back into society as well as being a buffer against the world. The dog becomes the focus of social encounters rather than the injury.
    These dogs are trained to do as many as 80 different tasks such as pick up and retrieve just about any common item, (cell phone, TV remote, crutches, cane, prosthetic limb, etc.), open and close doors, cabinets, drawers, retrieve items from the fridge, load and unload washer/ dryer, push buttons, alert, push/pull wheel chair, interrupt flashbacks, nightmares, etcÖ.

    The thing that sets us apart from most all of the service dog organizations is that we are dog trainers first , we have all the tools and many years of experience. The experience that we have and I am including everyone that reads this board is uniquely diverse from the average service dog organization. We deal with issues at hundreds of yards whereas service dogs are only required to operate within an immediate space around their handler. However, within that immediate area they have to be perfect 100% of the time.

    So with our experience in training retrievers to be competitive trial dogs, hunt test dogs, gun dogs, we are also outdoorsmen. We do offer one avenue for a wounded veteran that comes from an outdoor background, a type of dog we are classifying as a combination dog. This is something Scott is very passionate about. Many of the young men and women that are being wounded by coward warfare, IEDís, love to hunt, fish and be outdoors. This takes a dog that is a little more outgoing than the dog you described as the norm. We recognize that it is going to take dogs of several different energy levels to make the best dog for the wide variety of recipients that we will encounter. However, some of these field trial wash outs are superb animals and can be used for these younger wounded warriors that would like to have a gun dog they can hunt with as well as help them get through the course of the day. We are working with a young marine who is currently completing his recovery at Walter Reed. He is a single amputee and barley escaped being a double amputee. He is an incredible young man with one of the strongest kindest hearts Iíve met. His name is Jonathon Carnes and I am proud to call him my friend. He has one of the most dedicated fatherís I have ever met. His father Jon Carnes has been by his side from day one at Walter Reed, pretty much lost everything but never left his side. What a sacrifice this family has made to protect the freedoms that so many of us can sometimes take for granted. We have been truly blessed to have been born in the greatest country on the planet and have many, many young men like Jonathon putting everything on the line to keep us safe and ensure us of the freedoms that our enemies so despise. Jon has begun to introduce us to many more young men like himself that a dog like this could be lifesaving. Now they are all together sharing a common bond at Walter Reed with an incredible support group but as they are released and go home, that support group is much weaker. We are losing one veteran a day to suicide. We have lost more troops to suicide than have been killed in combat, something is wrong! We need the ability to get as many of these dogs placed and in service as possible.

    So a washout could be the perfect fit for this type of service dog. Many of these wounded warriors are in their twenties. They are going to have several service dogs throughout the course of their life. As they age and complications arise with their injuries and as a result of the aging process, etc., a calmer dog may be the ticket further down the line. Hope that helped answer the question, please feel free to keep them coming! The more about service dogs we get out to the public, the better informed we will be!

    Thank You!
    Charles
    HRCH Circle J's Honey May MH
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  4. #14

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    Charles,

    I am so proud for you. I have known of your passion since you began your involvement with Tower of Hope. Wishing much success for you and Scott to make your dreams and passion come true.

    God Bless you both for your dedication to such a wonderful cause.

    Janet
    JK'sboxofchocolates

    SHR Diggs, Soul, Mooney and always HRCH Cinn SH 500 pt club (06/92 to 01/98), HR Rocks (09/99 to 05/04), HRCH UH Schooner SH 1000 pt club (11/95 to 11/07) and HRCH UH Wagars MH 1500 pt club (12/01 to 09/13).

  5. #15
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    Charles, Are you on Facebook andTwitter?

  6. #16
    Senior Member Charles Dwyer's Avatar
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    Janet-Thank You!

    Rodney,
    Facebook yes, hadn't tackled twitter yet. We also have a facebook page for RFI
    HRCH Circle J's Honey May MH
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    GRHRCH UH Gammon's 3rd Times A Charm MH QAA

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  7. #17
    Senior Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Charles wrote: "We are losing one veteran a day to suicide. We have lost more troops to suicide than have been killed in combat, something is wrong! "

    Heart breaking stats.

    I and a friend were volunteers a couple of days ago, when Australian Assistance Dogs were having a public graduation ceremony in Melbourne (my state's capital). Assisting wheel chair and companion dogs. Very different requirements.

    I could not help becoming emotional during the awards..the human canine bonds were outstanding. How I studied those dogs for a few short hours.

    Reading this thread again has me searching for the tissues.

    A wonderful thread and good luck ++++++++++++++ from the land Downunder.

    The value of dogs never ceases to amaze me.
    Field trial labradors, the wind beneath my wings,

    sometimes poop under my boots.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Tim West's Avatar
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    RTF, Let's get behind Scott and Charles and make this happen!
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  9. #19
    Senior Member Charles Dwyer's Avatar
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    Aussie-Its truly amazing!

    Thanks Tim!

    Look at: www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/war.casualties/index.html

    Over 7,900 US & Coalition forces killed in Afghaniston & Iraq. This website shows where they were killed and where they were from.

    As of 10/7/2012

    Afghanistan: 3,184 deaths, 17,644 wounded
    Iraq: 4,804 deaths, 32,227 wounded

    21 is the age of the majority of the soliders killed

    I spent quite a bit of time with a young man Sat at a Wounded Warrior event. He lost a son just minutes after birth in Japan, within seconds of handing over his son, he suffered a heart attack, he was deployed to Iraq and blown up, thankfully did not loose a limb, recovered, redeployed and was shot in the head by a sniper. He told me he would do it all over again and misses it everyday. Thank god we are blessed with yound men and women born with this warrior spirit. He is suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a retriever community, we know the value and abilities of these wonderful animals so who better than the retriever community to support this endeavour. There are many organizations like ours, whether or not you support RFI, please support one! There could be another 100 training facilities like what we are trying to do and the nead would still outpace the supply.
    Last edited by Charles Dwyer; 10-08-2012 at 09:14 AM.
    HRCH Circle J's Honey May MH
    HRCH Berger Lake Rowdy SH
    GRHRCH UH Gammon's 3rd Times A Charm MH QAA

    "Actions Express Priorities"

  10. #20
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    I think if any body reads the responses by Charles and Scott, they will realize that this is not something they just woke up wanting to do. They have put a tremendous amount of time and effort into researching this path...

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