On March 23,2019 I was at work as a firefighter when I fell at a fire. When I went to get it looked at I was diagnosed with developmental hip dysplasia. I laughed because I thought only dogs could have that. I tore my hip flexor, tendon and labrum and was told if they don’t reorient the bone it would keep re-tearing. At the time I was with my ex who had a chocolate lab well before my first surgery we broke up and he got to keep the dog. I had my pao surgery and labral repair surgery in October 2019.
In February 2020 they realized my bone stopped growing and tried a bone growth stimulator. In March 2020 the day I was released off crutches is the day the world went on lockdown for the pandemic. I was unable to get the plate put in to fix the non-union. While recovering there was my cousin’s special red dog who helped carry my slippers and filled that void from the chocolate. I tried the dating scene again and was ghosted by a guy but on my way home I found Freedom Paws Service Dogs, a nonprofit organization that provides service dogs for vets and first responders. While recovering I was able to raise a chocolate lab named Cliff for a veteran. Well, that red dog is a hunting dog and got the service dog hunting which gave me the idea for Freedom Paws service dogs Heroes in the Blind project because the song Paw Prints in the Blind played after handing Cliff over to his veteran.
August 2020 I was able to have the hardware taken out. In October 2020 I had my nonunion repaired but the problem I had was it set wrong. September 2021 all hardware was removed from the nonunion. I was still having problems with my hip, and it was very unstable. In November 2022 I had a total hip replacement at the age of 31. At the time I was raising another service dog, a yellow one named Sammy, and while trying to find his hero another fireman reached out about his buddy he served with. Both were gunners for the company Combat Waterfowl. The owner of that company wrote that song Paw Prints in the Blind and I knew Sammy found his hero. I was able to raise him and do the service dog side and that special red dog introduced me to a pro trainer out of Arkansas who did the gun dog side.
I’m not cleared yet from my hip and my back got messed up from being twisted but if it wasn’t for these dogs, I’m not sure if I would have made it through all this. After Sammy I wanted to get more people involved and reached out to The Duck Huntress herself Kate Hunt and her being a cop/veteran she was on board to help pair the dogs for the female heroes, while Robert Brewer, a cop/veteran, was on board to help pair the dogs to the male heroes. Although I may not be able to be a fireman, these dogs have helped me in more ways than I ever imagined! I look forward to being able to provide a service dog/hunting dog for other vets and first responders and educate people on getting dogs’ hips checked before breeding with the help of Freedom Paws Service Dogs, Blackfeet Retrievers, Rock Steady Retrievers, Compass Grid Labradors, Combat Waterfowl, and The Duck Huntress.
For those reading this: trust in timing! Everything happens for a reason, even if you can’t see it now, so keep pushing forward on your hard days.
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