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A Letter to Those Who Brought Me Jake

Monday, April 15, 2024

4 min read

This is a letter written by Warrior graduate, Sean, from our November 2023 class, to those involved in bringing his Service Dog, Jake, into his life.

Dear those who brought me Jake,

From the bottom of my heart — thank you.

To say my life has changed for the better would be a drastic understatement. Even as I say this, I’m overwhelmed with emotion, the good kind, especially relief.

I had ideas and expectations up to the second before I met Jake. I took your advice, sound advice, to trust you. I let go of every thought I came to K9s For Warriors with and I let go emotionally, something I rarely do. Having those first hours together sealed the deal, that night especially. I had someone to stand watch for me, then and every night since, relief again.

Jake has my heart completely.

I can’t say that about another living thing right now. It’s not the kind of trust you get from a person. Jake is incapable of lying to me. He’s always smiling, unless I’m upset, in which case he’s just very concerned. He knows the difference between painful tears of the body, painful tears of the heart, and tears of relief and gratitude. We have a way of communicating that transcends words.

Every aspect of Jake’s personality reflects the indelible mark K9s personnel has left. He senses hesitation and softens his total self, being as gentle as possible. He also meets confidence with his equal, with heaps of gratitude just because of the opportunity to “make a friend.”

You helped guide him through his childhood, taught him the basics, and gave him the foundation for everything he is today.

Before I thank the trainers personally, all his aunts and uncles, and especially his favorite Aunty, I just want to say that Jake is the smartest, most intelligent K9 I’ve ever known. He’s also the most stubborn.

Every person responsible for Jake learning his job is a true master of his trade. Jake does what I ask because he knows I love him and give him treats — you all taught him that.

He knows I love him because he knows you guys love him, too.

You all bring so much love to work every day. You fill these excellent dogs with all that love — they give it to us every minute of every day.

I don’t know how to thank you for all that. It’s just too much for me to get my mind around. My heart gets it though, and we all say thank you very much.

To the Warrior trainers,
Thank you all for being there for me and Jake. You all were rock solid, accommodating, and inspired confidence in me and those around me. You took the “Drill Instructor” role, applied it with a dose of “cub scout den mom,” and rounded it off with a perfect dose of big brother and sister. How you pull that off as gracefully as you do, with the personalities you serve, is a truly honorable and rare skill set. I am honored to know you all and enormously grateful.

To the Staff, our class instructors, those who oversee troop handling and movement, plus all the “S” troops behind the scenes: thank you for taking an incredible woman’s dream and using it to the furthest degree of goodwill possible. You make the dream a reality daily. I didn’t know her, but I know it’s how I feel when I’m with Jake, whom she previously lived for. You all are the behind-the-scenes magic that only happens when a truly gifted group decides to personify an idea. You’re a melting pot of skills, combined with your selfless dedication to a cause more significant than yourselves. How do I thank you with just words, too?

I have someone very special to care for and he takes care of me just the same.

I knew something was missing from my life. I just never understood the potential for a relationship of this kind. Jake provides something beyond my “best friend.” He’s a reflection of me, quite literally. When I’m struggling, I tend to lose focus on what’s happening and tend to spiral downward, following whatever negative trigger inspired the downward turn in the first place. I habitually allowed those emotions to get the better of me. Jake has a keen sense of my level of tension beyond what I can even recognize on my own.

Jake has been a gift to me after feeling unworthy for a long time.

When I went anywhere, I used to avoid eye contact. The looks on people’s faces are usually ones of indifference.

With Jake by my side, everyone either smiles or avoids eye contact. So, thanks to Jake, all I remember is everyone smiling at me over a whole day’s worth of interaction. That’s a good day.

I hope to speak for everyone else when I say I felt the love you gave in abundance, which made all the difference. You and your squads were the cherry on top to the whole experience.

You made it feel like home used to feel a very long time ago. What a great feeling.

You are all my heroes now. I'm grateful beyond words.

Love,

Sean & Jake

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