I like Canine Commandos because it is what got me fostering and walking dogs. When I was in fifth grade, I was excited to do Canine Commandos. But when I was told that it was going to be only for sixth graders so that other schools could do more, I didn’t know what to feel. I was sad because I had to wait another year to do Canine Commandos. I was also happy because I like to share, and up until that point, I had thought all schools did Canine Commandos. My mom noticed I was sad, so she signed my family (except for my dad) up to walk dogs at the humane society. I loved it and met a ton of dogs. I think it actually helped improve my social skills. The only problem was that my mom kept getting posts for dogs and cats to foster. One day my mom announced that we were signing up for the “Itty Bitty Kitty Committee.” After we signed up, my mom saw a post on Facebook for a cat up for foster, so she commented that we would get it. After that, we have fostered seven cats and a dog. I have and still love all of them, even if they didn’t always get along. Finally, I did adopt one of the foster cats from another litter, and I named her, Oof! (the exclamation point is part of her name) and get to keep fostering. It’s a win-win, and it’s all thanks to Canine Commandos.
Hi, my name is Riley Blum, and I train with the Canine Commandos. I recently adopted a retired Greyhound. Her name is Cashmere, and she is the sweetest thing ever. Being a Commando has taught me so much like the importance to “adopt, don’t shop.” Being a Commando also taught me that there are so many important lives waiting in shelters for forever homes. My family and I have been celebrating the passing of Amendment 13 in Florida to end Greyhound racing. Because I adopted my dog, I have gotten to experience the love of an adopted dog that completes our lives.
The first time my mom went to Canine Commandos with us, she saw a small brindle puppy. When she told my dad about the puppy, he got excited and wanted to go to the shelter. When they got there, they saw the puppy was already adopted. They looked at some other dogs and saw Lucy, but she was up for the lottery. They decided to go home. Just before they got on the highway, my dad told my mom he wanted to put his name on the lottery list for Lucy. The day of the lottery, no one else showed up, and my mom and dad got to claim her. They didn’t even tell my brother and me. I thought we were just dog-sitting her. It was a surprise!
Lucy is lots of fun and very smart, and if it hadn’t been for Canine Commandos, we probably wouldn’t have her. I love all the funny things she does, like chasing her tail and pouncing. We taught her tricks, too (some of which I learned at Canine Commandos). We taught her to sit, stay, come, fetch, and shake. Now we are trying to teach her one of the most challenging tricks that you can teach a dog which is to lay down.
I’m really glad I’m part of Canine Commandos. I get to train dogs with different personalities. We read to them and teach them to watch me, sit, down, stay, and come. The dogs have a better chance of being adopted when they are trained, and I’m glad I get to be a part of that. A lot of the dogs we have helped train have been adopted. We also do DNA tests on some of the dogs, and it tells us what type of dog or dogs it is and if it’s a carrier of any genetic diseases. I feel I am making a difference.
When I see A.S.P.C.A. ads, it makes me want to cry. Over the Christmas break, I wanted to donate to some form of canine protection service.
As a family, we decided to donate to the local shelter because I participated in the Canine Commandos through K.W.E.S.T. at Indialantic Elementary. On December 26, we made our donation and then unexpectedly met a dog who we couldn't leave behind. The Canine Commandos made this dog feel so special to me because I know how these dogs in cages must feel. Korra, who at the time was named Koko, was the last in her row of the seventeen dogs in the shelter at that time.
Out of the sixteen dogs I loved (the one who I didn't bark at my hair), Korra was the sweetest and the one who liked me best. She was brought in earlier that day by a single mother who had a two- year- old and couldn't give her dog enough attention. We got Korra on a trial period of seven days, a "slumber party," where you could return the dog if they weren't working out. We brought Korra home at 5:00 on December 27, 2016. The first thing that I noted about Korra was her soft ears and head. When we'd gotten into the car and were driving home, we noticed that she had an under-bite!
Korra and Sonny, our Jack Russel Terrier mix, took a couple of days to get used to each other, but now they are the best of friends and play together all the time.
Since the animal shelter has become a no-kill facility due to the fantastic work of Sheriff Wayne Ivey and the team, there is an incredible air of professionalism and treatment of the dogs and cats waiting for adoption.
The animals are adopted into forever homes thanks in part to the efforts and devotion of Mrs. Virginia Hamilton and her students!
My great-niece, a student of Mrs. Hamilton’s, and I have looked forward to fifth grade to qualify for the Canine Commandos. I am so impressed with the many learning opportunities this brings to the students. Advanced planning and preparation of the dog trips and treats, working together in teams to train the dogs, following instructions of the teacher and dog trainer, and seeing first hand the results of mishandling one of God’s creations.
I applaud Mrs. Hamilton, her students, and Indialantic Elementary School, for giving our future leaders this unique opportunity.
Sincerely, Mary Lou Dunsford Parent Volunteer
Bear was taken home on February 1, 2016, by the Cochran Family. Mrs. Cochran found him when her 6th graders were at Brevard Human Society clicker training dogs. She saw Bear and fell in love. On the way back to school, she texted her husband a picture of Bear to ask if the family could adopt him, and Mr. Cochran said YES!
Bear had heartworms and needed to some extra care to get well. He was fostered by our family until he was heartworm free and then adopted when he was well again. He is a great addition to our family and can usually be found cuddling in a family member’s lap.