January 1, 2009
|Departed this life on||
June 28, 2019
From former handler, Ryan Albaugh:
I was reunited with my Civilian Working Dog “Rocky” thanks to Anne Yeager and K9 Hero Haven.
In 2010, when I was first notified that I got the civilian position for the Department of Defense as a K9 Handler in Afghanistan, I was ecstatic. Little did I know the adventure would result in an amazing friendship with my future working dog Rocky.
Rocky was a green, crazy happy, ultra-driven, 11-month-old male, attack and search trained, Czech Shepard. He was very intelligent, a quick learner, and was obsessed with the ball. He and I had a bit of a power struggle at first, as our two alpha male personalities wrangled for leadership. But after a few months of deployment, we suddenly clicked and were inseparable.
I had the honor of serving with Rocky in Afghanistan for approximately 18 months. He was the happiest, most well behaved dog under this polished machine of a working dog. Many of his finds were in hidden compartments, that he refused to let me pass by; looking at me like “It’s HERE dad, trust me!”. Sure enough, every time he was right.
As my contract neared completion, I concluded that I couldn’t leave without Rocky. I sent an email to corporate say that I wanted to buy Rocky. They said “Sure! $75,000”. As much as I loved Rocky, I couldn’t afford his price tag. I thanked them for the offer but declined. I did ask them that they please notify me if they were going to get rid of him for any reason. I never expected to hear anything about it. Until one day in 2015, I receive a message in my Facebook inbox.
The message was from a lady named Anne Yeager from K9 Hero Haven. She said that she was the owner of a new organization that helps connect retired working dogs with their handlers. She had a dog named Rocky and his file said that I wanted to adopt him when he was retired. She explained the difficulty in locating me, the cost required to bring him home, having to house and feed him, and his expected medical costs. Anne said that she lived in Pennsylvania and didn’t really have any way of getting him to me. I told her that I would leave the next morning and make the 10-hour drive from Tennessee to pick him up.
We were a team again. His emotional support was crucial for my everyday life as he aided in me dealing with my anxiety and stress. While at the same time, I helped him with his.
He had extensive medical care in his last few years, but never lost his joy and happiness. After being reunited with him for 4 years, Rocky died of natural causes this past July. He lived a great life and was the best partner, protector, and friend that I will ever have. During my time with him, I formed a bond I would have thought not possible with an animal. He went with me everywhere, through multiple jobs, countries, and life changes.
Anne Yeager and K9 Hero Haven gave me the greatest gift anyone could have ever given me. The work that Anne and her organization do is unmeasurable. She is helping veterans, and veteran animals; at the same time reuniting partners and making lives whole again. They will never get the credit or the appreciation they truly deserve. They are great people who give so much of their time and money for this amazing cause. Their cause needs, deserves, and requires all the help and support they can get.
|Program or Non Profit Organization||
K9 Hero Haven
|Program or Non Profit Organization Website|
|Program or Non Profit Mission||
“K9 Hero Haven is a 100% volunteer organization. K9 Hero Haven is dedicated to serving the military, veterans, and first responders by providing working dogs a home for retirement. The K-9s employed with the military and first responders are the best at what they do. They are expected to work in the most toughest of environments and face the harshest of conditions. At any moment, they are expected to selfishly give their live to save ours.
K9 Hero Haven helps to transition dogs to retirement. If at all possible, we want to re-unite a dog with its handler. We give preference to provide veterans and law enforcement with retired working dogs in honor of their sacrifices. We strive to educate the public on the roles that these dogs place in our world, and to highlight the level of training which goes into to these dogs never to forget the dedication to their service in keeping us safe from danger.
We work hard to find good homes for our dogs. We also work to provide dignity and respect to the dogs who need some additional work to prepare them for their journey to retirement.”
Posted on June 28, 2019 by K9 Hero Haven:
“CWD Rocky was our very first adoption as K9 Hero Haven. He was reunited with Ryan, his first handler, he served with in Afghanistan. Ryan wanted to adopt Rocky in 2013 but he needed to wait for Rocky to retire. Rocky started working in Afghanistan in 2010 and retired in August of 2015. Once retired he came to K9 Hero Haven.
We were able to locate Ryan through mutual contacts and Ryan immediately left Tennessee, where he lived at the time, to come to PA.
For close to 4 years, Ryan and Rocky have been inseparable. He was able to go to work with Ryan, who owns a dog training business K9SF LLC. They were very close and spent a lot of time together enjoying retirement.
Thank you for your service CWD Rocky. You were truly loved and will be greatly missed.”
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TN with permission from Anne Gibbs