I will try to make this as short as possible. I deployed to Afghanistan 2006-2007, during my military medical board rheumatoid Arthritis I was also diagnosed with PTSD. In 2008 I decided I wanted another set of ears in the house already having a GSD/Lab mix who was good as a guard dog and an adoption process that ended up breaking my heart I searched for a pure bred GSD (German Shepherd Dog). My search led me to Granny’s Grand Puppies and Gunnery Sergeant. After several fellow Veterans encouraged me to get a Service Dog and already having two dogs in the house, at age 4 I took on the toughest job ever, training Gunny to be my Service Dog. It took more then basic obedience training and public access training for him and I to become a team. It was exhausting and created add extra layer of anxiety. Gunny is now 9 1/2 and occasionally complains about an arthritic hip, otherwise he is still in perfect health and working condition.
Fast forward 2017, March I got a message from Gunny’s Breeder, a litter was due and she offered me first pick of the litter. At the times Gunny was having some health scares (they turned out to be allergies) and it felt like fate. March 3rd a 10 pack was born. I watched through Photos and Videos sent to me to get to see the puppies and pick the best fit. The White Female I chose, loved up on “Granny”, was the first to do damn near everything, the over achiever. We all drove down to Mississippi to meet Granny, Champ and Snowy (the proud parents) and to meet and spend time with Sofia and her remaining litter until it was time to travel back home with her.
Did I make the right choice? Sure did, she learned to climb stairs, get on the bed and couch, before we even got back to NJ. She is intelligent and sweet. At 2 months she learned her very first task: tugging off my socks. It’s once of her favorite things to do. She has learned so much from watching Gunny and Houdini. She is very observant, she know when something in the room has changed since she last was in there, she alerts to people outside the house. She to me was the perfect pick to become a PTSD Service Dog.
So here we are, she 8 months old. if she was the only canine in the house and I’m distracted by trying to get the boys to do the task she is asked to do for her she would probably be many steps ahead. My health and the anxiety that drained me training Gunny didn’t help us as a team. It would help me emensely to have Sofia trained, obedience, public access, and task training are all required for one to be a Service Dog. The best service dogs are confident, a confident service dog makes the best partner and a safe partner. I physically am not able to commit the time to train her to my own standard let alone anyone else’s, and she deserves that. I deserve that.
She will be attending a 10 week in facility training program with Off Leash. I will provide a list of tasks I need Sofia to assist me with they will train her. After 10 weeks Sofia and I will be reunited and she and her trainer will train me to her standards. The cost is $3,000. Due to GFM fees I will set the goal at $3,200. It would take me another year to save enough money to send her, hopefully with your help we can get her started by the New Year.
Sofia has her own Facebook page ‘Sofia Snow Smejkal, SD in Training’
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