Stig and Patrick
Posted by Jennifer Petre on March 17, 2011
I remember telling Ben (”Doc Stiggy” who our organization is in honor of) about him on a call one night from Afghanistan Ben never wanted to talk about things over there and he would only ask questions, wanting to talk just about us. I remember telling him about the ‘cool’ dog I was training. That every time I looked at this dog it reminded me of him, because the dogs markings were like his dessert ‘camo’. I explained to Ben that the dog had really unusual eyes, and he looked almost wild. I said I would take a picture and send it. I did, and it got returned to me two months later in the unopened care package …..
Stig permanently became part of our pack the same month Ben was killed. I remember the night that I asked Carrie, Ben’s mom, if I could name the Dog Sitggy. It was so soon after Ben’s death, and the pain was still so raw. It took a while to form the words and actually call him that myself at first. Carrie was so supportive and loved the idea. That day Mikey became Stiggy.
Stig: a.k.a.: ‘Teufel Hunden’ , ‘Devil Dog’, ‘Dingo ’,‘Twig Stig’, ‘Stiggly-Puff’
Stig is a very intelligent Catahoula Leopard Dog/Cattle Dog mix. He is every bit the definition of both. His intelligence can turn manipulative, if not under the right direction. Stig has lived in different households and homes through this transition of us moving back from Georgia to Michigan. Serving (unknowingly) already as a Emotional Therapy Dog for our family. Many circumstances and time later, Sitg’s final destination becomes clear. The best scenario for Stig is to be trained for a Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD). Stig wants to please, combined with his intelligence, he is learning his new ‘task’ with ease. But most of all, Sitg wants to be loved! He wants nothing more than to trust, and needs to be in his forever home. He deserves it.
I got this email from a Veteran, Patrick Kittel, wanting information about Stiggy’s Dogs. I emailed him back the link to our application and we answered some questions back and forth. I remember vividly when I reviewed his completed application. It was 5:30 a.m., and my husband and I were going through our ritual morning routine. I just opened my laptop and took a big gulp of coffee. I read where this young man knew Ben! Patrick was there when the IED went off, and that he saved a fellow Marines life because of Ben. Instantly tears poured from my eyes and my hands literally covered my mouth. “Oh my god” was all I sobbed………. This is the Marine; this is the same young man I have told his story over and over again. Here was the actually person behind the unknown name from which I talked about: “Ben “Doc Stiggy” made sure all his men knew Life Combat Saving Skills in case anything ever happened to him, he wanted ‘his Marines’ to know what to do” Patrick Kittel did just that and saved a life. Wow. It took me 4 days to call him. Every time I picked up the phone, I started to cry and had to hang up.
It is a unique privilege to be in this position, to offer another way to heal. To give back to those who give so much. But this, this is personal. It will be an honor to have this Hero stand next to his PSD dog named Stig.