Thursday, December 15, 2016

News and Updates

Been very busy lately.

Pete needed eyelid surgery for Entropion.  
Entropion is a genetic condition in which a portion of the eyelid is inverted or folded inward. This can cause an eyelash or hair to irritate and scratch the surface of the eye, leading to corneal ulceration or perforation. It can also cause dark-colored scar tissue to build up over the wound (pigmentary keratitis). These factors may cause a decrease or loss of vision.

Basically, his eyelids were partly curled in on the bottom, and the lashes were rubbing his eyes, which made them weepy.  The corrective surgery is pretty straight forward, and aside from him needing the cone of shame for a while, and looking REALLY sad, he's fine.

Pete was cared for by the EXCELLENT staff and Veterinarians at the Decatur Pet Health Center.  They are my go-to for all dog health needs, and always take the time to dumb-down the explanations so I can understand them. 😊  


First dog accepted for service dog training.
Our beloved Fuzzy Butt is off to enter service dog training!  In keeping with our mission to produce quality Labradors for service dogs for wounded warriors, yesterday we were paid a visit by Cheryl from Patriot Paws. She assessed Fuzzy and was very impressed with his focus, and his aptitude seemed perfect for the job.  Fuzzy was donated directly to Patriot Paws and will hopefully complete his training in a year or so and become a service dog.

Fuzzy (right) shows his focus

Formed Hero Labradors in TX
I filed our formation documents as a State NonProfit.  This document lays out the purpose of Hero Labradors and our Board.  Once I hear back from the Texas Secretary of State, I can then apply for an EIN and file with the IRS for 501(c)3 recognition.  You'd think this is an easy process, but I've needed several emails and calls to a very trusted lawyer friend who basically told me "I love the concept, but let me do the paperwork."  (Which is a nice way of saying "You have no idea what you're doing, go color while the experts deal with the laws."  I'm down with that.  Part of being a good leader is knowing when you are way out of your depth, asking for and accepting help from experts.  He also mentioned that 'Now I can tell people I've had a conversation with Chuck Ziegenfuss about dog semen."  To which I replied "Well, that pool isn't as small as you'd think!"  

That's all for this update, more to come, and more puppy pictures soon!

--Chuck

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Play, or food?

Momma (Halia, or more formally CastleCary's Halia Kona) plays with a ball while her 4-week old pups dive in for a snack.

So I'm trying to do this on Facebook, too...

So I'm trying to do this on Facebook, too...

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.