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“A Hero’s 5k” – The Ending

Last month, in March 2021, Custom Canine Unlimited was a part of an amazing Veteran organization called “A Hero’s 5k”. CCU was grateful for the opportunity to give back to the Veteran community that they hold in such high regard. To read more about the background of “A Hero’s 5k”, check out our blog post at: https://customcanineunlimited.com/a-heros-5k-the-beginning/ 

CCU was able to donate a trained K9 (K9 “Ander”) to a Veteran named Scott. Scott was in the Army Guard for nine years and was medically retired, due to PTSD and TBI. Life for Scott was not all butterflies and sunshine after the end of his Army Career. CCU wanted to check back in with Scott to make sure K9 “Ander” was everything that he had hoped. 

[I dealt with] PTSD issues since I got home. It took years to realize that I was the problem and not everyone else. [I had to] go through rock bottom to [get where I am] today. Having help from CCU, “A Hero’s 5k”, and everyone else that’s helped me, has made everything possible.” 

Veteran Scott worked with CCU’s Scott Oakes to provide him with a companion that would help bring joy and purpose to his life. Scott and Oakes coordinated and met with each other to help decide which K9 would be best suited for Scott’s life. That’s where K9 “Ander” comes in! K9 “Ander” is a Malinois who is certified in tracking and also trained in ESA aspects. Not only bringing happiness and companionship to Scott’s life, but also providing purpose and potential working opportunities. 

To get an idea of just how K9 “Ander” was trained, check out our blog post at: https://customcanineunlimited.com/a-heros-5k-the-training-part-3/ 

I want “Ander” to have a purpose and be able to work…” 

Scott has urban Search and Rescue aspirations for himself and K9 “Ander”. The K9 will not only provide purpose in that sense, but to give Scott a purpose as well. Scott tells us, “I got some stuff going on and I didn’t have any real responsibility outside of work. When I was at home, I could stay in bed all day and be lazy, but with “Ander”, he makes me get up and get my day going.” One very important aspect of having a K9 to Scott was; if Scott was working at his property, he could have his K9 by his side so he wouldn’t be alone. Scott tells us that K9 “Ander” is a perfect combination of independent and dependent on him. “Ander” will take some time to do “dog things” when they’re at the property, but every few minutes “Ander” will check back in with Scott to, “nudge him” and make sure he’s still there. 

“ [“Ander”] has been great with the kids, they love playing fetch with him. They’ll play fetch for an hour, with a ball, back and forth, and they think it’s amazing! …” 

Of course, as a parent, one of Scott’s concerns was “Ander” with his small children, but “Ander” couldn’t be a better part of the family. His kids will play fetch with “Ander” for hours, but “Ander” is also great with the two cats in the home. Scott says that, “He’s been great,” he just sniffs and looks at them, but doesn’t pay them any negative attention. Scott’s children even affectionately call “Ander”, “their” dog now! Scott’s parents have also warmed up to K9 “Ander”; Scott tells us that, “My Dad never really cared for dogs, but when he comes home from work, he plays with “Ander”, so it’s been good for him also.” 

Once we got past the point where I realized I wasn’t screwing him up, [I realized] that he was here for me.” 

Scott and Oakes worked together for some time before the “A Hero’s 5k” event. Scott and K9 “Ander” were both accustomed to working with each other. Scott was nervous about the adjustment period; even scared he was, “Screwing him up,” but once “Ander” fell into his daily life, all of Scott’s fears were alleviated. “There was an adjustment period for both of us in the first couple of days. He’s used to [living at CCU], and always having been a working dog, to going to a house with a backyard and being familiar with being in public.” Luckily, once Scott started to come to Custom Canine Unlimited’s facility in Gainesville, Georgia, all of the CCU staff could immediately that be bond between Scott and “Ander” was something special. 

Scott tells us that when “Ander” rides with him in the car, the the K9 will, “sit behind [me] and put his head on my shoulder.” Custom Canine Unlimited could not be any more overjoyed to impact Scott’s life in a positive fashion. Creating strong bonds is what CCU strives for, and we could not be any more happy for the relationship that Scott and K9 “Ander” have forged. 

Luckily, this won’t be the last time CCU will see Scott! Scott is always welcome to come by any time since he is an important part of the CCU Family, but Scott has enrolled in our October 2021 course for Tracking. It will be such a blessing to CCU to see the pair not only bond, but also begin to work together and rely on reach other. 

Thank you for your service, Scott, and thank you for being a part of the CCU Family. 

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