To inspire and build an active group of members who wish to serve their community by spreading the power of appreciation by welcoming home all our Military Heroes past and present!
What we do:
Welcome Home Military Heroes organizes Welcome Homes for all our Military Heroes past and present, Memorial Services and other ‘missions’ for our Military Heroes across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. We work hand and hand with the Patriot Guard Riders, all local American Legion Posts, local Air Force and National Guard/ Reserve bases and other Military organizations. Make sure to check out our Story and Missions:
“No Duty Is More Urgent, Than That of Returning Thanks”
— James Allen
Dover’s Story (Click to Read)
To say that Dover had a rough beginning is to put it mildly. Born to a backyard breeder in Santa Maria, Ca. this pup came into the world on Sept 22, 2008 with 4 other siblings. His birth coincided w/ the financial collapse of many institutions so the thought of paying $800 for a St Bernard pup was not high on any ones list.
Five months later, there was news that there were four surviving pups and the reality of the situation was Clear: You’re not going to make money off this batch of puppies.!! Central Coast SPCA was contacted and logistics were set up .
On a warm sunny Feb morning, the owner drove 4 frightened, shivering St Bernard puppies in crates(2 to a crate)in the back of a pick up truck to the Orcutt Vet Hospital. The pups were covered w/ fecal material and drool. Our President, Jeannine Wade gave the command…” Roll up your sleeves guys, this is going to take some work” Five hours later bathed, given shots and dewormed the pups sat quietly in their kennels waiting patiently for their new foster homes. None of the pups had ever seen the inside of a house. An old car had been their only shelter. Big, gangly and awkward, they all went off to foster homes and eventually their forever homes.
Dover unfortunately did not find his forever home to be loving and kind.
An urgent call to Jeannine confirmed our worst fear. Seven months after his adoption Dover had been surrendered by his new owners and collapsed on the vet floor weighing only 55 pounds, . (Normal weight would of been 120-150). His owner turned and walked away never asking about him again.
Dr. Brenda called to ask a huge favor. She knew it was Thanksgiving week-end but could someone watch Dover since he would be left in a kennel all through the week-end. His emergency surgery had revealed major starvation as well as the remains of a string mop and shards of a plastic and metal dish. In a New York minute our plans changed. No turkey for us. We are watching the big guy that captured my heart that Feb day we rescued him.
Long and painful surgeries seemed to loom around every corner for Dover. His fourth and final surgery in March of 2010 was done by Dr. Kramer and an excellent team of Veterinarians at Ventura Medical Surgical Group. While Dover tried his hardest to recover, the SPCA team held garage sales, Candles for Canines and any other event to help cover cost for this innocent big lug we had come to know and love.
On April 12, 2010, we hugged our medical team w/ tears streaming down their face and loaded Dover up in the Van not knowing whether he would survive the next 24 hours.
To our amazement, Dover seemed to be on a slow steady recovery surrounded by his foster family and countless friends he had made in his short lifetime here. Shots, drainage tubes and the changing of band aids were a part of his life. In-spite of all his pain and suffering he seemed to be determined to live.
As Dover began to thrive for the first time we heard his most awesome bark as he started to chase sparrows from the yard. He then romped w/ regular playmates at the dog park. He started to sit, come, lie down and give five just like a real dog!! He looked forward to every meal. He slept near his foster mom every nite. At times lifting his head to check and see if everyone was okay.
After connecting w/ a military support group the time seemed right to involve Dover with Troop Greeting. His first meeting of Sgt. Chacon who had been deployed for 7 months in Afghanistan was a hit.! Dover soon learned to know what his black service vest and red, white and blue bandanna meant. He would sit in the back of the van, head up and proud as a peacock. That’s right he would seem to nod at the neighbors…………. I’m going to work!!! Yup, I’m going to work.
Dover is now an official mascot for the Central Coast Welcome Home troop greeters. He has completed 25 days of intensive training to be a therapy/companion dog. He has trained w/ the troops, wounded warriors and several cancer patients at local doctor’s office.
I am often asked “Why didn’t you just put him down?” The answer came from a very close friend of mine. Never, never never, never give up. I often think this is what our soldiers and marines must be saying as they face the enemy. Never, never never give up.!
(story written and approved by Jo Hartman and Welcome Home Military Heroes)