If you’re following the Facebook/Twitter hashtag of #LydiaLearns, you’re familiar with Lydia being trained to become a service dog for a veteran through Alpha Bravo Canine. Last night, Lydia wasn’t the one learning, she was the one teaching. Lydia & Jennifer Green, founder of Alpha Bravo Canine, spoke to the Mini Paws about the wonderful work they do. Jennifer trains dogs to help veterans who struggle to adapt to life after coming home from war. She started this incredible organization after her son, Kevin, returned from war with a brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is her way of giving back to veterans in need.
Jennifer takes her time evaluating dogs. It is a challenge to choose the right dog because they must be “perfect” in every way since they are assisting a human. Dogs can’t be prey driven, be startled by things, or jump on people. It’s a challenging task. Jennifer started less than a year ago with the intention of training two dogs; she is now training four. Although most dogs are started as puppies, Jennifer has a veteran/husky combination she is working with now on training and this pup is 5 years old. So, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
Last night Lydia joined us to show us how a service dog is trained. Lydia is a five- month- old lab mix that was rescued from ACCT in Philadelphia. Although she works with Jennifer often, she also works with other individuals so she does not become completely attached to Jennifer. It will take about two years until Lydia is completely trained and ready for her job. She will be paired with a veteran in the near future and the veteran will work along with Jennifer and Lydia until she is ready. Lydia was a good girl and
listened intently to her trainer while her vest was on. As soon as that vest was removed, she was all wiggles and kisses with the kids. Something important for us to remember when we are out in public is if you see a working dog with a vest on, do NOT approach that dog since he/she is working.
We are so grateful for all Jennifer and Alpha Bravo Canine does for our veterans. Unfortunately they are heroes who don’t always get the necessary help they need. With Jennifer’s help, many veterans will have a new start with their new service dog.