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True Story of unsung Dog Heroes
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Allow me to introduce you to my ESA Service Dog
Ninja a Labrador / Australian Cattle dog mix. She was adopted the day before
Thanksgiving, 2012 from Two-by-Two Rescue. As of 2014, she is going on 4 years old. I am a Vietnam Veteran with P.T.S.D., and this little sweetheart is my
very best friend. I was truly blessed to have adopted
her, as she has been an absolute joy.
After we spent some time bonding, I
enrolled her in Jozie's Service and Therapy Dog School (formerly based in
Woodside, Queens, NY). She spent 90 days in training. She is also an Emotional Support
Animal for PTSD, and she goes with me everywhere. Talk about
Back in June of
2014 I was staying at
Green Acres Motel; a dilapidated dump of a motel in Atco, NJ while I was house-hunting.
The motel is notorious for the crackheads that rent rooms there to crash after
they get high.
Early one morning, Ninja wakes me up crying (I call it "squeaking") and kept nudging me under the chin
with her nose until I woke up. When I did, I found that the power was off in half the room (my
battery backup Uninterruptable Power Supply for my PCs was beeping). The dog is trained to wake me up when
something beeps, or when a smoke alarm goes off, because when I sleep, I can do
8 straight hours of being damn-near comatose; other times, I can be awake for up
to 48 hours straight.
When I investigated the cause of the power
outage, it turned out to be caused by a crackhead who broke into the electrical service
room of the motel, and was cutting copper Romex electrical cables with a pruning
shears. There were short lengths of Romex cable on the floor which were not
there the day before; I knew because I went in with the manager to get supplies.
The crackhead was about to cut through the 240-Volt, 3-Phase main wires when I
walked in on him, caught him in the act, and called the police who responded in
under 60 seconds (the police station is 1/2 mile away). According to his
roommate, this guy was also popping 25 milligram Percocet pills like they were
Tic-Tac candies, consuming 25 of them in less than 24 hours.
Had the dog not awakened me, one of two things could have happened: 1) The
crackhead would have turned himself into a crispy critter (no great loss; this
is called "Social
Darwinism"), or 2) He could have started a fire in the Motel, which because
it is wood-frame construction under stucco and common ceiling space for several adjoining rooms, would have went
up like a Hawaiian bonfire.
Lots of people could have died that day, had it not
been for Ninja.
This is my former ESA Service Dog Rocky, a
Shepherd / Terrier mix who passed away in 2011. He was adopted from
Bide-a-Wee Shelter on September 11, 2006
̶ he was almost 8 years old at the time.
Our first "bonding walk" together was from the
shelter on 38th Street and 1st Avenue in New York City, through Chinatown and
Little Italy, down to "Ground Zero" arriving at the PATH trains at the World
Trade Center. I lived in Woodside, Queens at the time, and we rode the train
home (even though he wasn't a Service Dog at the time).
I was fortunate enough to live next to a
professional dog trainer; a Vietnam Veteran (former "Tunnel Rat" because of his
small size) named Jozie Rively. Since he trained Ninja in mid-September 2013, he
has traveled to DaNang, Vietnam, and hasn't been back as far as I know. Shortly
after Rocky learned the "block and cover" routine, Jozie took him to a local bar
a few blocks away to test him in a public place and to show him off to his
friends. Once at the bar, Jozie realized that he left his wallet home, so his
friends bought him drinks until 2AM.
When he left the bar (walking), Rocky was
walking ahead of him off-leash about 20 feet away. A local criminal saw Jozie,
but apparently didn't see or know that the dog was with him. The criminal snuck
up behind Jozie who is all of 5-foot 6-inches, and bopped him in the head with a
bottle or a heavy stick. Jozie fell unconscious on the pavement.
Rocky turned and as the mugger was rifling
through Jozie's pockets trying to find the wallet he left home, the dog grabbed
him by his ass-cheek and would not let go. Witnesses who saw what happened
called police, who then had to call the K-9 unit with the tranquilizer darts.
Jozie had no ID, but Rocky had an ID chip. When scanned by a local ASPCA
shelter, the chip revealed my registered address. The police brought Rocky home
in a squad car, asked the identity of who was with the dog, and said that as of
the time they left the hospital the perpetrator got 100 stitches as of the time
they left (the surgeons weren't done yet) and a big chunk of meat torn out of
his gluteus maximus, and charged with Assault 1st. Jozie suffered a
concussion and had to be monitored in the hospital for two days When Jozie got
home 3 days later, Rocky ate Bubba Burgers
for a week!