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Old 06-26-2014, 10:46 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks Sunflowers!!

Fama is doing absolutely GREAT!! She is finding her spot in the family and happily filling it. She is content to hang out lazily, playing with Lu once in a while, or to go and train all day. I've been super busy getting the house and yard in order, plus starting the new job, so there have been days where she isn't busy working or training at all, and she does just fine. Pam helps out keeping her occupied with play and OB throughout the day too.

Karin, I think the biggest challenge for me has been to balance treating her like a working dog and allowing her to be a pet. All the things you do to keep them on point in the work don't matter so much anymore, so I had to change how I look at her daily life and not automatically handle situations like I would if she was still working. She gets toys now. She's not allowed to counter surf. She's not allowed to just go wherever she pleases off leash. She can't interact with the world in the same way, so I have to show her the new rules while being fair and understanding.

The biggest challenge for her, though there really haven't been any real challenges, is that she can't go with me everywhere I go. Before, if I walked out the door, she walked out with me. She literally went everywhere that I went except to the chow hall. For a solid year, every time I opened the door, she would run out and turn to see where we were going. She spent the first couple days trying to door dash, and then the next couple weeks laying against the door waiting for me to come back, even if it was 4-5 hours. She now understands the deal and will go relax somewhere or hang out with Pam when I'm gone.

Pam and I were talking about this last night. It honestly couldn't have gone any better. Fama is behaving like the perfect pet. She's completely at ease in the house with the family and any visitors we have. She is happy to relax and play around the house or to go for a run or do detection work. She has only chewed up one thing, a piece of CAT5 cable that was laying under her Kong, and hasn't had a housetraining accident. The neighbors love her. She enjoys heading out to run errands and is satisfied hanging out in the truck or going in and shopping with me. She is confident and relaxed.

It's really amazing to see her so happy and healthy. I sometimes just watch her from my chair and get tears in my eyes. Everything she has been through, from training to deployment to injuries and 13 different handlers, and now she's home with daddy. I don't know how many lives she saved, but it's a lot. To see her without a care in the world except having fun and eating dinner is just overwhelming when I think about it. She brings so much to my life.

You made it girl!



Yeah, she's a little spoiled now, and that's the way it should be

... yes, I make her bed every night LOL
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Fama - T.E.D.D. OEF XI-XII (GSD)(RET... )
Marshall - T.E.D.D. OEF XII-XIII (Lab)(SF EDD)
Lucian - Med Alert (Cane Corso)
Pud - the old man (Pit x Lab)
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Boy that just made me cry! Coolest story. And so happy for this new chapter for Fama.
Hats off to you, Pam and Fama.... and Lu of course.

It is interesting to me that this is not the only story of a military dog being able to adjust so well to a new life. I think of the recent Nat Geo video of the three legged malinois just blending into the handlers family.

Very cool that is all I have to say!
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I just got a PM asking me to explain part of my signature:

Quote:
When a dog saves the life of a man, it becomes clear that partnership knows no bounds.
When I was trying to come up with something clever for a sig line I went through my favorite quotes, from Rush lyrics to Teddy Roosevelt, and nothing seemed to feel right. I started thinking about my dogs over the years and what they meant to me. I have had some cool dogs (and I still need to reply to that thread some day) and I spent quite some time sifting through memories and what they each meant to me. I was doing this chronologically in my head, and when I got to Fama I realized that the feelings I had for her were stronger, and much different, than the feelings I have for my other dogs. This led me to try and understand why?

Just as battle creates brothers out of soldiers that didn't know each other 3 months ago, the hardship of war forged a great bond between Fama and I. We lived in terrible conditions sometimes, ate bad food, worked in the heat and cold and bad weather, were deprived of sleep and safety and friends. We tackled the mission together. Fama was always an equal partner in the work. I can't smell bombs and she can't fire a weapon. Amazingly enough, I believe she understood this as well as I did.

There came a certain day, in a certain village, on a certain mission, when Fama undoubtedly saved my life. She bit a guy in the face who was about to shoot me from behind. I didn't even know he was there. When all the commotion was over, she came to check on me, ears back, kissing me on the face. Then she curled up next to me on the ground and resumed guard.

At that moment, I knew I had a partner in life that went far beyond a dog wanting a reward.

We spent 3 hours behind a rock one time, taking heavy machinegun fire from a fighting position on a hill. The rest of the platoon was pinned down 150 meters behind us. We shared a bottle of water and a bag of beef jerky. Everything was OK because we both had 10 fingers and 10 toes, and we were together.

So I guess what that quote really means is that there is more to my relationship with my dog than a bowl of food and a scratch behind the ear. We are in life together, and though I don't really know what all that entails, I know that it means I am never alone as long as I have my dog, no matter what.
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When a dog saves the life of a man, it becomes clear that partnership knows no bounds.

Fama - T.E.D.D. OEF XI-XII (GSD)(RET... )
Marshall - T.E.D.D. OEF XII-XIII (Lab)(SF EDD)
Lucian - Med Alert (Cane Corso)
Pud - the old man (Pit x Lab)
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Winners View Post
I just got a PM asking me to explain part of my signature:



When I was trying to come up with something clever for a sig line I went through my favorite quotes, from Rush lyrics to Teddy Roosevelt, and nothing seemed to feel right. I started thinking about my dogs over the years and what they meant to me. I have had some cool dogs (and I still need to reply to that thread some day) and I spent quite some time sifting through memories and what they each meant to me. I was doing this chronologically in my head, and when I got to Fama I realized that the feelings I had for her were stronger, and much different, than the feelings I have for my other dogs. This led me to try and understand why?

Just as battle creates brothers out of soldiers that didn't know each other 3 months ago, the hardship of war forged a great bond between Fama and I. We lived in terrible conditions sometimes, ate bad food, worked in the heat and cold and bad weather, were deprived of sleep and safety and friends. We tackled the mission together. Fama was always an equal partner in the work. I can't smell bombs and she can't fire a weapon. Amazingly enough, I believe she understood this as well as I did.

There came a certain day, in a certain village, on a certain mission, when Fama undoubtedly saved my life. She bit a guy in the face who was about to shoot me from behind. I didn't even know he was there. When all the commotion was over, she came to check on me, ears back, kissing me on the face. Then she curled up next to me on the ground and resumed guard.

At that moment, I knew I had a partner in life that went far beyond a dog wanting a reward.

We spent 3 hours behind a rock one time, taking heavy machinegun fire from a fighting position on a hill. The rest of the platoon was pinned down 150 meters behind us. We shared a bottle of water and a bag of beef jerky. Everything was OK because we both had 10 fingers and 10 toes, and we were together.

So I guess what that quote really means is that there is more to my relationship with my dog than a bowl of food and a scratch behind the ear. We are in life together, and though I don't really know what all that entails, I know that it means I am never alone as long as I have my dog, no matter what.
I am not a sappy person at all, but this whole thread nearly brought me to tears, especially this post. I love this.
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:30 PM   #15 (permalink)
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What a wonderful story. I'm so glad you and Fama survived. You have something that many people will never experience; a deep bond with another living creature. Thank you for giving her a much deserved forever home but after reading this post, I see there was no danger of her losing that. And thank you and Fama for your wonderful service to keep out country safe.
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Winners View Post
I just got a PM asking me to explain part of my signature:



When I was trying to come up with something clever for a sig line I went through my favorite quotes, from Rush lyrics to Teddy Roosevelt, and nothing seemed to feel right. I started thinking about my dogs over the years and what they meant to me. I have had some cool dogs (and I still need to reply to that thread some day) and I spent quite some time sifting through memories and what they each meant to me. I was doing this chronologically in my head, and when I got to Fama I realized that the feelings I had for her were stronger, and much different, than the feelings I have for my other dogs. This led me to try and understand why?

Just as battle creates brothers out of soldiers that didn't know each other 3 months ago, the hardship of war forged a great bond between Fama and I. We lived in terrible conditions sometimes, ate bad food, worked in the heat and cold and bad weather, were deprived of sleep and safety and friends. We tackled the mission together. Fama was always an equal partner in the work. I can't smell bombs and she can't fire a weapon. Amazingly enough, I believe she understood this as well as I did.

There came a certain day, in a certain village, on a certain mission, when Fama undoubtedly saved my life. She bit a guy in the face who was about to shoot me from behind. I didn't even know he was there. When all the commotion was over, she came to check on me, ears back, kissing me on the face. Then she curled up next to me on the ground and resumed guard.

At that moment, I knew I had a partner in life that went far beyond a dog wanting a reward.

We spent 3 hours behind a rock one time, taking heavy machinegun fire from a fighting position on a hill. The rest of the platoon was pinned down 150 meters behind us. We shared a bottle of water and a bag of beef jerky. Everything was OK because we both had 10 fingers and 10 toes, and we were together.

So I guess what that quote really means is that there is more to my relationship with my dog than a bowl of food and a scratch behind the ear. We are in life together, and though I don't really know what all that entails, I know that it means I am never alone as long as I have my dog, no matter what.
Thank you very much Mr. Winners. I thought there was a story behind your signature. It's a very interesting story and I appreciate you sharing it with us. Having such a deep bond with a dog is a very special thing.

All the best,

Michael
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:40 PM   #17 (permalink)
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She saved your life.
Wow.
Guess I am not the only one who keeps getting moved to tears by this story.

A GSD is so much more than a dog, but the ones who work in the military take it to a whole other level.
I didn't know she has had so many handlers. That is mind boggling. They got as much out of her as they could. Thank heavens all she lost was her tail.

Thank you again, and special snout kisses to Fama. It just goes to show how wonderful and intuitive and intelligent these dogs are, that she was able to go into family mode and adapt so well, after having to be a war dog.
Although I do feel bad for her, that she sometimes gets left behind
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:48 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Winners View Post
I just got a PM asking me to explain part of my signature:



When I was trying to come up with something clever for a sig line I went through my favorite quotes, from Rush lyrics to Teddy Roosevelt, and nothing seemed to feel right. I started thinking about my dogs over the years and what they meant to me. I have had some cool dogs (and I still need to reply to that thread some day) and I spent quite some time sifting through memories and what they each meant to me. I was doing this chronologically in my head, and when I got to Fama I realized that the feelings I had for her were stronger, and much different, than the feelings I have for my other dogs. This led me to try and understand why?

Just as battle creates brothers out of soldiers that didn't know each other 3 months ago, the hardship of war forged a great bond between Fama and I. We lived in terrible conditions sometimes, ate bad food, worked in the heat and cold and bad weather, were deprived of sleep and safety and friends. We tackled the mission together. Fama was always an equal partner in the work. I can't smell bombs and she can't fire a weapon. Amazingly enough, I believe she understood this as well as I did.

There came a certain day, in a certain village, on a certain mission, when Fama undoubtedly saved my life. She bit a guy in the face who was about to shoot me from behind. I didn't even know he was there. When all the commotion was over, she came to check on me, ears back, kissing me on the face. Then she curled up next to me on the ground and resumed guard.

At that moment, I knew I had a partner in life that went far beyond a dog wanting a reward.

We spent 3 hours behind a rock one time, taking heavy machinegun fire from a fighting position on a hill. The rest of the platoon was pinned down 150 meters behind us. We shared a bottle of water and a bag of beef jerky. Everything was OK because we both had 10 fingers and 10 toes, and we were together.

So I guess what that quote really means is that there is more to my relationship with my dog than a bowl of food and a scratch behind the ear. We are in life together, and though I don't really know what all that entails, I know that it means I am never alone as long as I have my dog, no matter what.

I am speachless. What an awesome story!
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Fama says, "A lot easier to get that ball now. Cool."


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Last edited by Sunflowers; 06-26-2014 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Winners View Post
I just got a PM asking me to explain part of my signature:



When I was trying to come up with something clever for a sig line I went through my favorite quotes, from Rush lyrics to Teddy Roosevelt, and nothing seemed to feel right. I started thinking about my dogs over the years and what they meant to me. I have had some cool dogs (and I still need to reply to that thread some day) and I spent quite some time sifting through memories and what they each meant to me. I was doing this chronologically in my head, and when I got to Fama I realized that the feelings I had for her were stronger, and much different, than the feelings I have for my other dogs. This led me to try and understand why?

Just as battle creates brothers out of soldiers that didn't know each other 3 months ago, the hardship of war forged a great bond between Fama and I. We lived in terrible conditions sometimes, ate bad food, worked in the heat and cold and bad weather, were deprived of sleep and safety and friends. We tackled the mission together. Fama was always an equal partner in the work. I can't smell bombs and she can't fire a weapon. Amazingly enough, I believe she understood this as well as I did.

There came a certain day, in a certain village, on a certain mission, when Fama undoubtedly saved my life. She bit a guy in the face who was about to shoot me from behind. I didn't even know he was there. When all the commotion was over, she came to check on me, ears back, kissing me on the face. Then she curled up next to me on the ground and resumed guard.

At that moment, I knew I had a partner in life that went far beyond a dog wanting a reward.

We spent 3 hours behind a rock one time, taking heavy machinegun fire from a fighting position on a hill. The rest of the platoon was pinned down 150 meters behind us. We shared a bottle of water and a bag of beef jerky. Everything was OK because we both had 10 fingers and 10 toes, and we were together.

So I guess what that quote really means is that there is more to my relationship with my dog than a bowl of food and a scratch behind the ear. We are in life together, and though I don't really know what all that entails, I know that it means I am never alone as long as I have my dog, no matter what.
I am so glad you and Fama are able to continue your partnership here at home. Thank you both for serving.Reading about your experiences over there and the dangers you and Fama faced together are incredible and bring to mind just how much a few have faced and sacrificed so that so many could be safe. Wishing you both many years of health and happiness.

On a less serious note Fama looks pretty happy as a civilian! LOL
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