GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY
We strongly desire our breeding program to be of benefit to others, not just ourselves. That is why we decided, if at all possible, to donate one special puppy from every litter here at Grapevine to help a United States veteran.
Andy and Luna’s Story
When we decided to start our breeding program, we knew in some way, the program would give back to our community. We were not sure just how. At first, some thought was giving to the Pups in Prision program, as a cousin was involved in training for the program. Little did we know that the way would be paved for us, as fate would have it.
Andy called me to inquire about a pup from our 2013 litters. At the end of his phone call, he stated that his therapist suggested he get a golden retriever to help with is PTSD. I thanked him for his service to our country and ended the call. I then ran to my husband to tell him about Andy, and let him know that I was planning right then and there to donate the puppy to Andy, and what did he think. He readily agreed.
As the litter grew, it become apparent that “Mae” was developing the right stuff to become a comfort or therapy dog. At 7 weeks, and after finishing up our puppy evaluations, it was for certain. Mae was just for Andy, in my mind. However, the family picking their pup just before Andy was very interested in little Mae as well, but decided on another pup at the last moment. It was all meant to be…
The day Andy was scheduled to pick his puppy, was the day before Veteran’s Day. Perfect timing! Andy, remarkably, chose Mae on his own! Again, it was meant to be. Then, we told Andy and his wife, Ally that we wanted him to have her with our gratitude for his service and that if she is what he needed, then he was to have her at no cost. The look on his face is something I will never forget. I knew we had found our mission for giving back through our breeding program. Here are a few words from Andy:
“My name is Sergeant First Class Jonathan (Andy) Adams. I have been in the Indiana Army National Guard since May of 2002. I joined after 9/11 to serve my country just like many others. I deployed once to Afghanistan from May 2004 until August 2005 and also once to Iraq from March 2008 to December 2008. I knew immediately after getting home from Afghanistan that there was something different about me, but I could never really put my finger on it. I heard on the news all the time about PTSD, but always thought that I was too strong minded to have something like that. After my second deployment, the feelings of hypervigilance, depression, and total self worthlessness started to spiral out of control. I still didn’t want to seem like a weak-minded soldier, especially since I was now a leader, so I just put it down as much as I could. From March 2009 until October 2012, I worked active duty for the United States Army, including a stint as a Platoon Sergeant at a Warrior Transition Unit for wounded soldiers. This is where I really started to realize everything that I saw in wounded soldiers diagnosed with PTSD was exactly the same thing that I was feeling. This is also where I first saw or heard of therapy dogs. I was diagnosed with PTSD dating back to 2004, but didn’t get any treatment for it until 2013. It was suggested to me that I get a dog, and that Golden Retrievers were one of the best breeds to get for therapy. We contacted Jamie and I told her my situation. We had every intention of paying for the puppy when we went to pick her up. I had the cash in my pocket to pay them with. They surprised me (the day before Veteran’s Day) by telling me that they were donating Luna (our pup) to me as a gift and it was their way of giving back. I was so overcome with emotion and grief on the spot, pretty sure I cried! It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me in my entire life. Luna has been such a joy to have around. It is impossible to be depressed with her in my life. She brings so much happiness to everything, and I don’t know where I would be without her. Jamie and Rick and Grapevine Goldens are the epitome of patriots. My wife and I can’t express our gratitude enough! Thank you all, you have positively impacted my life more than you can ever imagine!”
God speed, Luna. Good girl.
Freedom Service Dogs
We are so excited to announce that Grapevine will teamed up with Freedom Service Dogs to donate a pup from a future litter. One special pup will be of service to a veteran in need, we hope. We will be following progress closely and hope to share the success story after a pup is placed. We are truly blessed to be able to help in this special way!
You can learn more about Freedom Service Dogs, or to make a donation to their wonderful program, start by visiting their website at:
If you, or someone you know, is a veteran or knows a veteran who would benefit from a PTSD comfort golden, please do not hesitate to contact us to start the application process. Thank you!
Josh & Atlas 2014
In 2014, we had the pleasure and honor of presenting a solider in need with a very special pup from our Maggie x Jack litter. Right from birth, I knew Atlas was my comfort pup from this litter. He was always at my side! Such a sweet, smart, outgoing, and very loving boy. Watching him carefully over the 8 weeks he lived here, it just became more apparent that he was the ONE! All set we were to deliver Atlas to Freedom Dogs in CO, when a last minute call came in from a case worker with the National Guard right here in Indiana. We were thrilled to be able to help a fellow Hoosier.
Josh and Atlas will live together and train under the guidance of the Soldier Dogs for Independence program in Evansville, IN. This is an intensive 20 week program that will start when Atlas is one year of age. How exciting it will be to watch his progress and get to attend the graduation program! Stay tuned for updates on dear Atlas and Josh! Thank you for your service to our country, Josh. Blessings to you both!
You can read more about Solider Dogs at http://soldierdogs.org
Sadly, for our last litter with Hank x Riley, we were unable to find a veteran to serve. However, a sizable donation was given to the Wounded Warrior Program, for which we have tremendous respect. We hope to continue our support in this manner. Please check out these fine people at:
We will continue to find ways to help our returning troops in the years to come. Ideally, we would like to keep a promising puppy from future litters, train at home, then turn the puppy over to an established program for further service dog training.