Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My other gig

Hero Labradors
On Twitter:  @HeroLabradors
On Facebook (I think that is the right link)(CM: it is)
Via Email

I am a wounded warrior. A service dog helped me immensely in my recovery, and has continued to help me live a normal life. One of the things instilled in me during my years of service was a dedication to a lifetime of service to our nation. To that end, I am starting Hero Labradors.

Hero Labradors has a simple goal: I am breeding AKC registered Labrador retrievers to serve our wounded veterans.

There are many wounded and disabled service members who could benefit from a service dog. There are many charities that train and provide these dogs for free to veterans. The kink in the pipeline is the dogs. Not every dog has the temperament or aptitude to be a service dog.

So, my premise is simple: If a dog line can be bred from good hunters to produce dogs with great hunting drive, or a line can be bred to produce dogs with great show lines, why not try to breed dogs to produce the qualities that are common in service dogs?

The Labrador retriever is my choice for several reasons--
1. I personally have owned two Labrador service dogs, and have owned many Labrador pets throughout my life. I love the breed and find them not only great companions, but also readily trainable.
2. They possess the right body type and weight to assist full grown adults with many mobility and stability issues.
3. They are handily America's favorite dog breed
4. They have a great and friendly temperament in general, are very good with kids, strangers, and other dogs
5. They usually bond rapidly with their owner, and readily focus on them and their needs
6. They tend to have large litters (6-10 pups) meaning there is a greater chance of producing dogs with service aptitude

There are a multitude of other reasons (too many to list!) but I want to fill a niche that I have not seen filled: a breeder with a primary goal of breeding aptitude for service, and (importantly) providing these dogs free to charities that will in turn pair them with a wounded warrior, train them to meet the warrior's needs, and then donate the dog to the wounded warrior.

Normally, an AKC lab from the lines I breed would run upwards of $2500 per pup. I take care of feeding, vaccinations, weaning, rearing, and housing these pups until they are donated or (for the ones who don't make the cut for service dogs) sold as pets. This endeavor isn't a cheap one, but it's a labor of love. I am exploring setting this up as an LLC and a non-profit, more to follow on that; right now, I believe that the best thing is to focus on the dogs and on spreading the word that this program exists.

I had a litter (only three pups) in August, of these, one has been accepted as a service dog by Dogs Helping Heroes, another is soon to be evaluated for service, and #3 is going to stay with me to continue the breeding line.

How can you help? Share this with your friends and let people know we're out here.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Oh! I forgot to mention

Hero Labradors

I've a pup available! 

Driver, Hold up right here.

I went back to look at how much I've changed in the last dozen years or so since I started doing this. One of My first posts was "Load Sabot, Driver Move Out."  I'll save you the click, because I'm going to repost it in its entirety, and highlight some changes I've made over the years.  Because I enjoy color blindness, (and my code monkey is on a self-imposed hiatus--I really am sorry, and wish you'd come get some bananas) all of my up-to-date commentary will be highlighted thusly:

This is my first attempt at blogging. (Technically still my first attempt, as I've made no other attempts.)

I start by saying that because I have been lurking around many blogs for a while, and posting to comments on articles that I wanted to weigh in on. I finally came to the realization that I needed a place to post my own opinions, a place where friends could stop by when they wanted to and see what I was thinking about certain topics. 

Hell, it's better than screaming at the news. It makes the people in the chow hall think I'm kinda crazy. I sometimes tend not to agree with established institutions, but I am in a position where I am a cog in that same machine.  I'm not a cog in any machine anymore!  The gloves are off!

But that isn't the only reason I write. My beleaguered wife certainly doesn't need to listen to me ranting from 12,000 miles away. It tends to make for big phone bills, and I'd rather not spend the money to vent on someone who a) doesn't deserve it b) usually agrees, and c) has enough of her own troubles raising the kids and getting her masters degree (almost done and still carrying a 4.0--she's smarter than me, but doesn't believe it) without me dumping on her. She kept the 4.0, and is a MSW now!

So what will you see here? A person is usually judged by the company he keeps. Me, I read Kim Du Toit (no longer up) daily, and when I have time, I read longer submissions from Eject!Eject!Eject! (no longer up) and for a little Brit Humor, Chase Me Ladies, I'm in the Cavalry(Still funny) Most of the folks they link to are pretty good reading. 

Things I'll generally rant on: 
The US Constitution. (My interpretation, also known as In My World) 
Main Stream Media.
Things that piss me off not included in #1 and #2
Other topics of discussion are basically anything I see fit to waste electrons on. 

Ground rules. (Mostly no change.  comments should still work, I can do formatting and editing of text, I still misspell from time to time.) 
I will open up comments as soon as I figure out how. I built my first computer before al whore gore invented "teh intraweb", and was out of school before anyone figured out how HTML was supposed to work, so HTML isn't a skill set I have. I can sometimes read it, especially when looking for something specific. Like how to do strikethroughs. (I just read your source code Kim, Thanks!)

When I am pissed, I type fast. When I am busy, I don't edit. I seldom polish writing to make it better, much to the chagrin of English professors at every institution I've attended. Bottom line, I don't care if misspelled words are your cause celibre. I don't care if I spelled that wrong or missed an accent here or there. (Hell it's French anyway, so who gives a rat’s ass?)

I curse.Like a drunken sailor with a horrid case of touretts. My mom is okay with that, but I never use the "F" word around her, and I just don't use the "C" word (not clinton. The other one.) If cursing bothers you, get over it or go away.  (no change) 

I hate most of the people I know, and for some reason I tend to attract weirdo’s. I'm talking about the people you see in wal-mart that you keep in the corner of your eye like a circus freak or a car accident. These people come up to me and strike up conversations. I am polite and talk to them, while my head screams "GO AWAY! Why are you talking to me! I don't know you!" If this particular attribute carries over into the ether, then I am sure that comments will get interesting. (no change) 

Finally, for those of you who are curious, a bit about me that I haven't covered.
1 each: Wife, Son, and Daughter. She's my love, He's my pride, and my baby girl is my heart. I you ever say anything bad about them I will hunt you down and kill you. (I will ridicule you and otherwise dedicate my copious free time to creatively causing you trouble)  If you ever hurt them, I will hunt you down and make a career out of seeing you languish in pain. Take heed, all you aforementioned weirdo’s.  (no change) 
 (Retired) Army Officer. Company Commander. Deployed to Iraq. Been doing this for 15 years.   (did it for 22 years) Unashamedly Patriotic American.
Core Values:
Service to the Nation is second to service to God. The family comes first in my heart, but the Nation comes first because it says it does. (Corrollary: The Army is for Thirty, the family is forever.

States rights vs. Federal Rights:
Usually, Federal Authority. Except for the death penalty (Yay Texas) and Queer Marriages (Boo New England).  (I honestly don't care about gay marriage.  I just hope people who find love can be happy and have access to the same rights as any other American.) If left to their own devices, schools in Kansas would still be segregated, and hicks southerners would still own slaves.

Is a sin. Period. (It's my dogma, my religion, my belief. Don't try to change my mind.) It doesn't mean that I think less of gay people or wouldn't associate with them, I just don't agree with their lifestyle choice/genetic code.) I don't care what you do in your bedroom. As long as you keep it in your bedroom.   (See above.  Believe it or not, what changed my mind was having kids.  If one of them came to me and said they were gay, I wouldn't love them any less.  I would still want them to be happy and successfull.  I wouldn't stand for anyone treating them differently because of their sexual preferences.  I've never met a heterosexual who could tell me exactly when they chose to love the opposite gender, I certainly can't remember when I did, I just did.  There are so many important things to work on in this country that sexuality doesn't even register anymore.

That being said, there are two genders.  (It's all in the chromosome pairs, baby!) I don't care if you identify as LBGTQWERTY, or as a whatever-kin.  Be happy, I applaud your lifestyle as long as it doesn't negatively affect anyone else's.

Abortion: A woman's body is hers, and she can do with it as she pleases. As long as I don't have to pay for it. Once born, it’s a baby. If you believe otherwise, then you have to accept that every fertilized egg that doesn’t attach to a uterus is a baby, and you have to start buying tinier and tinier caskets.   (no change) 

Social Programs: 
As long as I don't have to pay for it. (no change) 

Extended Family: 
Dad was a vet, served as long as he could until cancer caused by Agent Orange took him when I was 24. He gave me his (sometimes morbid, sometimes gallows, but always funny) sense of humor. It is the greatest gift he had, and the thing I use every day to cope. Dad fought for 15 years after he retired from the Army (and for 10 years while still in) with cancer, and he never gave up. I miss him every day.  (no change) 
The Family Prankster. If Dad gave me his sense of Humor, mom taught me everything else (except how to swear, I learned that from Dad, working in the shop.) Mom taught me that there is little else in this world funnier than a practical joke well played, especially when the victim(s) blame someone else. She taught me how to cook, how to sew, how to treat ladies (BTW, not all women are ladies, but you should treat them all that way until they prove otherwise.) And most importantly, like Shaddrack, Meeshack, an Abendigo, to "Do and Remember what you learned at Home."  (no change) 
My Sister: 
 (Was) Is in the USAF but I won't hold that against her (honestly, it proves she's smarter than I am. She's never had to sleep with her head in the mud.) Actually, I really love my sister, I just don't get to see her very often and we argue over who gets to keep Wondermom (TM). Sis has 3 kids (2 nephews and a niece for me!) and one  (Abusive, piece of shit Ex-) Husband, which, I suppose, makes a total of four kids. Between Her, Her Hubby, and me, Wondermom is a triple-blue-star-mom.
Other relatives: My Uncle Bob is my surrogate Dad, of sorts. He's at the Army Sergeants Major Academy. (I'm the first officer in my family, my wife is the second, but she's no longer in). (Retired) 
My Father in law: 
I call him Dad and seek his advice on many things. He asks for my spin on many world events, and he gets, as you will, my opinion. We may not agree, but we don't argue, either. (no change) 
My Mother in Law: 
I actually get along great with the Mom-in-Law. She doesn't always get my sense of humor, but she puts up with my antics anyway. (no change) 

Enough about the Famn Damily.

When I am not doing the green suiter (well, currently brown suiter) thing, I raise kids, brew and keg my own beer, and do yard work. The boy is getting to the age where the fishing and shooting are going to become his hobbies, as soon as the Mrs. will let me get him to the range.   (Lots of change.  The boy and I hunt--deer, rabbit, turkey, armadillo, and eventually hogs; the daughter hunts too, but not as much.  I still do tons of yardwork, but it's on land I OWN, not in Army Housing.  I will get back to brewing someday, but these days I shoot, hunt, reload, build, play with dogs, and otherwise get creative with my time.) 

That’s about all I have to say for now. I figure I should set up the rest of this blog before I write too much more.

Tap Tap Tap... is this thing on?

I'm back, baby.  The blog is back.  I'm doing this again because I like doing it.  I enjoy writing, being a curmudgeon, and otherwise calling things the way I see them.

It's been what, a year or more? Maybe two?

So let's update:

Retired from the Army in January, 2015.  What an awesome, 22 year-long ride that was.

Applied for VA disability (*started the process in July, 2015).  It only took them 14 months to determine that yes, I was a cripple and yes, it was all service connected.  (except for my hearing loss and tinnitus.  Which is odd, because I distinctly recall having pretty good hearing and no damned 24/7/365 ringing in my ears BEFORE an IED blew up at my feet, and blew both my eardrums out of my head, but that's the VA for you.)

While waiting on the VA to determine if I was a cripple, I went to work for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.  Almost immediately, I was set upon by the permanently offended crowd, who were oh so kind in their made-up complaints.  Well, mostly made up.  I did often say things like "drink the cool aid."  I received complaints of sexual harassment (never happened), being mean, (well, it's not mean to tell someone their performance is on par with what you'd expect from an intern with a learning disability, two left hands, and permanently attached boxing gloves.  Okay, it's mean... doesn't make it any less true.)

Eventually the investigated, determined unfounded complaints stacked up to the point where the bosses figured I was a liability, and I was canned after about a year.  By that time, I was receiving my Army Pension and VA pension, so I figured what the hell, I needed to make up for all the time lost with my family, and get to what I really wanted to be doing with my life:  raising Labradors for service animals.

Thus, that is what I do now.  I'm a stay at home dad, I get to go to school events, I get to work on projects with the kids, I get to play with puppies.  Life is good.  (Also, I could REALLY use someone who can build a web page.  I have the URL, ( other than that, I'm in the dark.)

Naturally, things just wouldn't be me without getting hurt, so in the past two years I've also had two back surgeries (stemming from 2005 injuries), and managed to get bitten by a rattlesnake.  That was loads of fun, too.

What can you look forward to now that I'm back?

Life, Observations, Gripes, and Humor from the very not pointy part of the spear.  And puppies.


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Call me Mister.

I'm out.  Done.  Kaput.  Finished.


I enlisted at 17, nearly a quarter century ago.  Now I am retired, free to say and do what I want.

First, thanks for bearing with me.  The last few years have been rough.

Second, John Patrick White is, in my opinion, one of the worst and most toxic leaders in the Army and a complete douchebag.

Third, ow.  During the last month, I've finally had the pain in my back diagnosed.  My L5 vertabrae is about 2/3 the size it's supposed to be, has bone spurs, and is canted and pushing down on my SI joint, and compressing the nerve clusters there, sending shooting and stabbing pains all the way to my feet, which have gone numb.  I will need a spinal fusion surgery to correct this.

The orthopedic surgeon I visited last week wants to see the images from the CT scan I had in November before scheduling surgery.  Right now I am waiting on the radiology department at Tripler Army Medical Center to get them to me.

Process will be (well, should be)
Get images, give to Doc. (I start calling up the food chain tomorrow morning.  I expect I will have my images in hand within the week.)

Doc reviews images, tells TRICARE I need surgery.  (+/- 1 week after getting images)

TRICARE approves surgery and it is scheduled. (I will be on the phone with TRICARE from the moment the request is sent until it is approved.)

Surgery happens approximately 2 weeks after request is approved, depending on availability of OR and Dr.

Ideally, by the end of February, my back should be fixed.  I'll spend the next three months in a back brace.

Approximately 9% reduction in flexibility of lower back and huge pain reduction.

Not exactly how I planned to spend my retirement, but no plan seems to survive around me.

We live in Texas now.  We have a nice house, nice land, a barn and a breeding facility for dogs. I plan to breed Labrador retrievers for service animals for wounded warriors.  If anyone has or knows of someone who breeds Labs, please let me know.