After over a month of planning and preparation, Wounded Warrior Donald, who was receiving treatment at Laurel Ridge, finally set off for sunny California with his new SDIT, Maximus! (now renamed “Boris”). Thanks to a great team effort with amazing fosters from San Antonio Rocks and the entire SA Rocks team, Donald spent a lot of time getting to know Boris and bonding – which was instant! Donald’s doctor wrote the prescription for Boris – who got to also meet two other Service Dogs placed with Wounded Warriors staying at the Laurel Ridge facility permanently until discharged.

Donald first saw Boris on our website, and over a month ago started emailing and calling me every day about him! We talked extensively about Service Dogs, their special training needs, his ability to take care of a Service Dog, and general knowledge about having a Service Dog for his PTSD and other medical issues. He read our manual thoroughly, signed our contract promising to take care of Boris for life, and already put me in contact with two Service Dog trainers back in California that have agreed to work with him. I have made contact with each trainer. Donald filled out the SA Rocks application, and they accepted him after professionally confirming that he was capable, ready, and able to take care of Boris – which I know Donald can!

Equipped with all the necessary items, I picked up Boris at 4 am to make it to the airport by 4:30 where I met Donald. We checked in (it was United Airlines – even though I called ahead and arranged the flight), the “supervisor” at the check in desk asked to see Boris’ “paperwork”, to which I answered, “No, I have already called in and arranged with your Disabilities Department that Boris will need no paperwork because he is a medical alert dog”. Then, she said, “I’m going to check on this.” To which I said, “I’m sorry, ma’am, there is nothing to check on. It is illegal for you to deny Donald and his Service Dog entrance onto the plane”. She walked off in a huff. United has always given us the biggest problems. So then, as always, I requested a gate pass to help Donald through the Security checkpoint. We stood in an EXTREMELY long line, very nervous about making it to our gate in time – and the “greeter” at the end of the line clearly saw the dog – when we FINALLY got to go through security, they said, “Oh – if you have a Service Dog, you get to go through the preferred passenger line and cut through”. Thanks for telling us! In any case, knowledge for you all to know.

We did make it to the gate just in time, and Donald and Boris were first to board. They made it to California just fine, and training begins Monday!!