Meet Jamie and Trooper Deployed June 2011
Posted by Jennifer Petre on July 21, 2011
I recently realized just how far behind I was in writing my introduction/Deployment blog, when I got an email from a Veteran asking to be paired with Trooper…..I wrote a previous blog about Trooper, the sad situation of his story. But this story is about Troopers handlers Jamie Gorm, cause it is just as good of a story….
I remember Jamie’s and my first conversation like it was yesterday. He was bostriuos over the phone, his excitement for being accepted in our program was clear. SO much so that he asked (almost begged) to come to the Barracks. Even though the class we were training for (dog and Veterans) wasn’t his group, he still wanted to learn, see how we worked, and to help the other Veterans. Jamie’s ‘visit’ turned into and on and off again visits for the next month as he helped prepare for the dogs deployment….I specifically remember having a conversation one night with him, as he was petting Bella, our little muscle packed PitBul we were training. “My wife doesn’t really care what breed our dog will be, but she did say she didn’t trust a Pitbul ……” His voice trailing off, as I have heard this so many times. I am not here to change people minds about the stereotype of PitBul. But deep in my heart, a little part of me is. If and when I can have a Pittie as an ambassador of the Breed and Service dog, I will. I know some wont agree, but I don’t care. On the same respect, I will not stand in judgment of their views. I let that comment hang in the air…
Once Jamie’s Bootcamp training class began, him and his wife Lillie, had decided to move down to our area, to be closer for his training and for a future I myself, had not yet envisioned. Jamie’s confidence and excitement grew over that month he spent helping here. He sat Donna and I down one afternoon and asked if he could become one of our Dog Trainers?…….’Veterans helping Veterans’ was a conversation around here, and this was a great way to begin that! The timing was perfect as we were beginning to bring in our next group of dogs….. but this time with a Jr. Apprentice Doctore to help….
In trotted a big-beautiful-massive-handsome Mastiff/Pit Mix, named Trooper. The ‘fear’ of pit bulls were now lost by the Gorms, after working with Bella they both had changed their minds……but just how much we were about to witness….
After 2 weeks of training with Trooper, Donna was beginning to have some concern. We all sat down one day, Donna, Jamie and myself. Trooper was such a sweet wonderful boy, but we were having a hard time training him, motivating him. We were concerned that he might not pass CGC, he wasn’t learning fast enough with the others in the group, and maybe Troops might be a ‘wash-out”. I understood what Donna was staying, Trooper was a wonderful dog for a Therapy dog, but could he cut it for a Service Dog? I wanted it so bad, but Jamie wanted it more…..That conversation that day changed everything. With determination Jamie set out to make Trooper his project……
At that time I do believe Jamie was ‘leaning’ toward wanting Fiona as his Service Dog, but Donna and I weren’t making any choice until we worked and knew all 4 dogs better. It wasn’t about who was getting what dog for Jamie, it was about making Trooper a success. Jamie spent everyday with him, working him on off times, reading other books on training, asking questions and soaking everything he could from Donna’s knowledge. It didn’t take long….the transformation in Trooper. All Troops needed was some one on one with the right person. Every day Trooper and Jamie bonded more, Trooper soon rising to the top dog in our group…..doing everything he was told to please his Jamie…..
Yes, it was apparent after a week, that Trooper belonged to Jamie. There was no denying it even if we tried. I think unknown to them both, they chose each other. Everything fell in place so fast and nicely after that. Trooper meeting Jamie’s children, their other small dog Penny and even their cat Baxter! Trooper has defined the odds again- from being rescued from near death, to be rescued by a his Veteran…
I honestly have never been so proud….than seeing them together. Last night, when walking the dogs here, I walked behind the Gorms……..Lillie and Jamie holding hands, with Trooper-off leash- right between them-keeping pace……..A small laugh in my mind as I remember the conversation about not wanting a Pit-bull……a huge smile on the irony of this paring……in a different way this time, we really did “Rescue One to Rescue Another”….