Sunday, November 27 was a bittersweet day for Jackie Konold and Trooper. Jackie is a puppy trainer at Rebuilding Warriors, Jeff Anderson’s nonprofit that provides service K9s to honorably discharged veterans. Trooper, who has been with Jackie since December 2015, was presented to US Army Veteran Brandon Dickson last Sunday.
Brandon began his military career in January 2000. Over the course of the next ten years and three tours in Iraq, he earned a Bronze Star with Valor, two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and Army commendation medals. He was honorably discharged in October 2010. He had a termwith the Arkansas National Guard August 2011 – May 2013, at the end of which he was medically discharged for PTSD.
Trooper was once a stray, dumped off with his sister at the border of Plano, Parker and Allen. He has a bright, curious personality, without a mean bone in his body. After a year working with Jackie, rebuilding trust, he will now a highly trained and socialized companion for his veteran.
Brandon and Trooper met before news cameras at Plano VFW Post 4380 (see the video below). “I don’t think he likes me,” Brandon jokes as Trooper immediately climbs over his lap to cuddle as best he can at his size. A large crowd attended to support Brandon and Trooper. Jackie spoke about the mission of Rebuilding Warriors and her time with Trooper, as did Rebuilding Warriors Founder Jeff Anderson.
“These dogs become great confidence builders aiding these men and women as they return to society,” says Jeff on his website. “The unconditional love given and received by these dogs will teach these warriors to ignore their own self-imposed limitations.” Dogs can be taught to “sit” “stay” and “speak,” but they can’t be taught to identify moments of stress and agitation in their veterans, nor can they be taught how to respond. It’s something they naturally recognize and respond to out of love. Dogs like Trooper serve an absolutely vital role in the lives and health of their veterans.
Trooper was featured in Plano Profile‘s December 2016 issue. We wish him and his veteran all the best in their new life together!