Cane Corso Service Dog
"About Time's Independence"
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Donate for Andrew & Independence!
Donations Raised: $10,000 (4/10/2013)
We have met meet our goal of $10,000 for the expenses of Service Dog training so Independence can be trained and certified to assist Triple-Amputee Veteran Andrew Botrell. THANK YOU!
Andrew Bottrell is a triple-amputee veteran who sacrificed and lost three limbs working with SEAL Team 10 while serving in Afghanistan. Despite the loss of both legs and one arm that Andrew sacrificed while protecting us and our country, Andrew hates limitations and has worked hard (as you will see from his photos below) to keep his amputations from limiting him and what he can do. Having a service dog to assist him is going to help Andrew with a lot of independence in his life.
About Time Cane Corso has donated an incredible Cane Corso, "About Time's Independence", to Andrew to assist him as a Working Service Dog. We are asking for your help meeting our goal of raising $10,000 to help Andrew cover the expenses of Service Dog training.
Please Help Us, Show Your Support for a Veteran who sacrificed and lost three limbs while protecting you, your freedom, and our country!
Every donation, even $5, will help Andrew, and be greatly appreciated.
Bio: Andrew Bottrell,
Navy EOD Technician
Combat altered (triple-amputee) while working with SEAL Team 10 in Afghanistan.
Sustained injuries: Amputation to the right leg below the knee, amputation to the left leg above the knee, amputation through the left elbow.
"Receiving this service dog will improve my life by helping to replace my left arm. She will be trained to perform specific task to assist me in day to day life, carrying things for me, retrieving objects, assistance in opening doors, turning on and off lights, and bracing/supporting me if I need her for balance or to carry some of my weight, and giving me the confidence and the security of knowing that I will never be alone, and that she will always be there for me when I need her.
I'm someone who hates limitations, as you may be able to tell by my pictures (below). I have not let the combat alteration limit me. It's not easy, you just have to find different ways to do things. The opportunity to have a Service Dog is going to help with that a lot."
Service Dog Training: In progress currently. November 2013: Month 11.
About Time's Independence, Cane Corso Service Dog
Click Info tab (lower right) of any image for detailed photo information.
Bio: Eric Veverka, K-9 Service Dog Trainer
Marine Corps Military Police/Marine Security Guard
Personal Service Dog: 'Niko' American Staffordshire Terrier
"I served six years as a Marine Corps Military Policeman and as a Marine Security Guard. I spent a Majority of my Service time overseas including a combat deployment to Iraq in 2006/2007. A little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from my experience in combat. A short time later I began a program that assists Veterans with PTSD by pairing them with a Service Dog.
My Service Dog Niko has helped me learn to live a normal life as a civilian. Without Niko, there is no telling where I would be. In combat, you form a bond with those that serve along side you. This bond is so powerful, you would give your own life for your brothers and sisters. I share that same bond with my service dog Niko. My goal in life is to share that bond with my fellow Veterans by training Service Dogs for them to support their needs both physically and mentally.
It was shortly after I began training with Niko that I realized that dog training is my passion in life. When I came across the opportunity to give Andrew, and other Veterans, the assistance, hope, and freedom that a Service Dog can provide, I knew immediately that this was my calling in life.
Not only do I have a chance to train About Time’s Indepence as a Service Dog to be Andrew's help, support, and loving companion, but he and “Athena”, are going to feel the bond of a brother and sister. A bond that Andrew can trust completely."
Training Progress & Updates: "About Time's Independence"
Independence began her training on January 5th, 2013, the day she arrived to Eric, and she will be continuously trained every day for the next 12 to 14 months. When Independence is ready to begin working as a service dog for Andrew, she will be completely efficient in basic obedience, heel, sit, stay, recall, down, and place. In addition to her basic obedience skills, she will also be trained to perform specific task to assist Andrew in day to day life. She will be able to retrieve objects, turn on and off lights, open doors, and provide mobility and balance assistance bracing Andrew if he needs balance, support or for her to carry some of his weight. Most importantly, she will give Andrew the confidence and the security of knowing that he will never be alone, and that she will ALWAYS be there for him ready to work.
We'll keep you updated monthly with her progress and training - check back for updates and photos!
JUNE/JULY/AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 Update: Months Six - Nine
Visit Update from Andrew, (9/30/13): Richard and Laura, I would very much like to meet you if you are ever in or near San Diego. This last week of working with Independence has been amazing. She has performed better than we could have expected. It speaks volumes for the quality of dog you breed. My trainer posted the video I sent you on his Facebook page and several other service dog trainers wanted to know where she came from. Thanks again and here is the full update and some more photos.
Training Update from Erik, (9/30/13):
Hey everyone! Apologies for the update hiatus, but it’s been a crazy busy summer for all of us. Independence continues to grow and mature into a respectable young lady more and more every day. Her last weigh in was in September and she is a whopping 56 LBS! She is also almost 24 inches tall at the shoulders, and it starting to fill out more and gain more muscle mass.
In July, Andrew flew out to Cleveland, for another week of training. It was quite the significant trip because Andrew was able to take Independence out to make her very first Public Access appearance! For the first few trips out in public with Independence, we brought Niko (my SD) along with to help usher her out into public. Of course, both she and Andrew did absolutely amazing!
Not only did Independence make her first excursion into the public spotlight, but also she learned a few new commands along the way as well. She learned the “Leave it” command. After only a few short minutes, Andrew was easily able to walk Independence past kibble and high value dog treats without her even glancing at the food. She also learned the “Paws up” command, which Andrew will be using to have Independence put both paws in his lap in order to put on her various pieces of equipment, such as her collar, leash, ecollar, and Service vest.
During the month of August, Independence was learning all of her basic obedience commands all over again. This time all of the commands were done off leash while she was wearing her ecollar. While training with the ecollar, Independence was learning to obey her obedience commands from a distance. She is obeying her sits and downs and holding them even when I walk far away or if I walk out of her sight.
One of the most exciting events of training just recently occurred. At the end of September Andrew and Independence did another week of training together, but this time, there was a twist! It was the first time Independence flew as a Service Dog in Training! She did absolutely amazing. As soon as we got on the plane, she curled up into a little (no so little anymore) ball and went right to sleep.
During the September training trip, Independence also learned a lot of new and complex tasks. She made very good progress on taking an object from Andrew’s hand and carrying it around for him. She learned to go and pick up an object and bring it back to him and place that object in his hand. We are also starting add in longer and longer duration of her holding objects in her mouth. She is definitely a natural for this type of Service Dog work.
Over the next few months, I will be sharpening her retrieving skills and start to teach her other tasks, such as a light tug of a rope, and light switches. I will also be taking her out for more Public Access training. Now that she has grown up a bit and knows all of her obedience commands, she will be going almost wherever I go.
MAY 2013 Update: Month Five
Update from Andrew, (5/31/13): Laura and Richard, I'd like to start by once again thanking you for the huge gift you've given me. In conjunction with that I'd like to say the quality of dog you bred has exceeded my and the trainers hopes and expectations. She is incredibly intelligent!!
Training Update from Erik, (5/31/13):
Hey everyone! What an exciting month for Little Miss Independence! She has been growing like a weed and is developing mentally everyday. Not only is she growing in size, but she is also growing into her personality. She is growing up to be a very beautiful, courteous, and loving Cane Corso.
The highlight of the month was when Andrew and Lindsey came back for their second training visit during the second week of May. During this visit, the weather was MUCH more cooperative with us in regards to training. Last visit, in April, gave Andrew and Lindsey a taste of the Cleveland weather in teens and lake effect snow.
This May visit, we had nothing but sunshine and nice weather, and we made the absolute MOST of our two and a half days of training. Both Andrew and Independence continued to strengthen their bond as Handler and Service Dog in Training. As Independence gets older and becomes more mature, she is able to work with us for longer and longer periods.
During this visit, Andrew and Independence continued to perfect their loose leash walk. Independence learned a very important lesson when she got distracted and Andrew stepped on her toe. Thankfully she was unharmed, and she was much more spatially aware of Andrew and her own body from then on after.
Independence also made headlong stride in various other basic obedience commands. Her automatic “sit”, verbal command “sit”, and Finger Snap “sit” are nearly perfected for both Andrew and myself. Independence also did extremely well on holding a place command for extended periods of time, upwards of 30+ minutes. Some of those times, Independence held her place command while Andrew and myself were in a different room or outside while she was inside.
After our latest visit it has been back to carrying out the plan of the day. Independence is getting ready for Andrews next visit in the middle of July. By then, Independence will have earned her Training vest and will be ready to work out in public. We have a lot of work to do to be ready by then!
APRIL 2013 Update: Month Four
Visit Update from Andrew, (4/30/13): Richard and Laura, Words can not express the gratitude I have for the amazing gift you guys have given me. Independence is so incredible. I just got back from spending a few days with her and Eric, which were amazing.The progress she has made in just the short time since I last saw her is a testament to her breeding. Thank you again so much!!
V/R Andrew Bottrell
Training Update from Erik, (4/30/13):
April was a great month for little miss Independence’s training! She was on “light duty” for the first week and a half of the month while she was healing up from her spay, but after that is was game time!
I’m really pleased at the way Independences basic obedience is coming along. She has them pretty well mastered. Her “Heel” is almost naturally perfect for Andrew. She “Heels” a perfect 6 to 8 inches away from your leg and she seems to stay there as if it is natural. I’m really happy how her “Heel” has turned out because of how vital of a command it is. Independence HAS to be spatially aware of where Andrew is in relation to her and she is doing it now like she was born to it.
Most exciting of Independences training is how well she is doing with the “Sit/Wait” and the “Down/Wait” commands. Andrew can now have the piece of mind that when he gives Independence a “Wait” command, she will wait for 5 minutes, or 5 hours. She holds her “Wait” command so well, that I now can put her in a “Down/ Wait”, leave the room for over 30 minutes and she is still in her “Wait” command when I come back. She is continually pushing the envelope of her training and I could not be more pleased.
It isn’t all work and no play here at the K9 Constructions farm. For the second half of April, she started joining Niko, Casper, and myself on our daily hikes through the woods. She doesn’t join the boys in off leash exploration just yet but she heels beautifully at my side the whole time with her sniffer going 100 MPH, just taking in all the new sights and smells.
One day, Meathead and Casper were retrieving logs out of the pond, when out of left field, Independence decided she wanted to go for a swim! So she jumped right in too!!! She swam like a fish for 30 feet and when she got out she went right back to playing with the boys. It was her first time ever swimming ao she totally took me by surprise when she just jumped right in. I’m starting to think Independence might be mixed with Mermaid… or Kraken. Too early to tell yet.
Andrew and Lindsey have another visit planned in early May, so check back in for lots of awesome pictures of the great training they will be doing next month!
MARCH 2013 Update: Month Three
Visit Update from Andrew, (3/20/13): Richard and Laura, I will send more photos in the update but I thought I'd send this real quick. She's even prettier in real life!! I couldn't be happier with her. Thank you so much!
Training Update from Erik, (3/31/13):
It’s been another busy month here in Cleveland for Independence. While there isn’t very many new training updates for this month, she has been a very busy girl. Her training is coming along very nicely. She knows all of her basic obedience commands and now it’s just a matter of proofing those commands around distractions. She has also been learning how to properly greet strangers and new dogs.
The most exciting part of the month though was when Andrew came into town and finally met Independence in person. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating when Andrew and Lindsey were here for their visit, but we were able to take Independence and Niko to the mall for a good solid hour of training. It was a hugely successful training lesson on all fronts. Niko came along with us to help give Independence the confidence of dealing with being at the chaotic mall, while Andrew kept her mind occupied by doing some excellent leash work! However, the most important thing I saw during our lesson at the mall, was the beginning formation of the bond between Andrew and Independence. So far, I’m liking everything I see.
The last week of the month was pretty boring for Independence because she went in for her spay on the 25th. Until April 1st, I had her on “bed rest”, in order to keep her stitches in place, but they will be coming out after the first week of April and then she will be back to 100% percent with her training.
Now that it is starting to get a little nicer outside, once Independence is fully healed, her training is going to increase significantly. Also she is now completely up to date on all her vaccinations so I feel comfortable taking her into public places now. Also here in the next few month or so, Independence is going to be taking her Canine Good Citizens test and earning her Training Vest!
FEBRUARY 2013 Update: Month Two
Training Update from Erik, (2/28/13):
Over the past month, there have not been very many “firsts” for Independence, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been busy. At the beginning of February, I took her to get her ear crop done. Her ears have healed up amazingly and there is very little visible scarring. They came out looking great and there was no need for her ears to be taped in order to stand. They did it all on their own.
We have had a few days this month where there has been some fairly decent weather here in North East Ohio. With those nice days, and Independence getting bigger every day, I decided it was time for her to begin daily walks with the boys and I. Like everything about Independence, she did perfect. Always following the larger dogs and I, and never trying to get in front. Her biggest issue on those first few walks was her simply being afraid of the cars passing by. However, she wasn’t outride terrified, she’s too confident for that, but she was cautious of the fast moving, loud vehicles driving by the sidewalk we walk on. By her 3rd day of daily walks, she paid no mind to the passing cars as if they were just part of the background. While on these walks, I have not yet begun to teach her that she needs to be focusing on her handler while walking. On these walks she doesn’t focus of me very much, but instead her head is always on a swivel, revealing her puppy curiosity at the world around her. I wont deny her that curiosity, at this age of her life it will be good for her later on down the road.
Independence's obedience is coming along very nicely. Over the past few months, she has “Sit”, “Stay”, “Down”, and her “Recall”. She gets dosed with these commands every single day. Training sessions, besides walks, have not yet exceeded any more then 15 minutes at a time, but every time she gets a leash put on, I run her through all the exorcises she knows. She has already learned that she has two commands for “Sit”. The “sit” command will be one of her most used command while out in public, so its important that she knows this command perfectly, which she already does. She will perform a “Sit” is you give her the command “Sit” and she also responds by sitting if you snap your fingers. This will come in handy for Andrew if he is in the middle of having a conversation, but he needs Independence to “Sit”, all he will have to do is snap his fingers. On the reverse side, if he is carrying something, and can’t snap his fingers, he can still give her the command “Sit”.
She will be trained the same way with the “Heel” command, another very important command. She is already learning that “Heel” means to follow, which she does great at, but she is also learning that a short whistling means the same thing. I have been making sure that at all times, Independence follows her handler and not the other way around. In time, she will be learning that when she is walking, and with her Service Vest on, that she needs to be focused on Andrew at all times.
March is going to be a very exciting month for all of us. In the next few weeks, Andrew will be coming here to Cleveland to meet Independence for the first time! This is going to be a great bonding experience between Andrew and Independence. I send Andrew updates on Independence almost daily, and he is VERY excited to meet her! Stay tuned for the pictures to come!!!
As for Independence, her training will continue on as scheduled, and I’ll be gradually increasing her sit/stays and other obedience commands over longer periods of time and in different environments.
JANUARY 2013 Update: Month One
Training Update from Erik, (1/31/13):
Independence has been with K9 Constructions for an entire month already! And a great first month it has been. From the very beginning, I have seen nothing but positive signs from Independence. The first thing I noticed is her confidence while encountering new situations. There weren’t any signs of fear when she was introduced to the 3 knuckleheads of my pack.
Niko, who is the Alpha of my pack, was the first to accept Independence. It took about 12 hours and one small correction from Niko and she got the clue right away. Within minutes, Niko rolled on his back and engaged in very careful play. Since then, they have been thick as thieves together, and playtime is more rough and energy draining for her. Although, I always keep a watchful eye to limit the intensity of their rough housing so no one gets hurt. Casper and Meeko took a few weeks to fully warm up to Independence being part of the pack, but they followed Nikos’ example nicely.
Apart from integrating into my Pack, Independence has had a big and exciting month! Highest on the list of her recent accomplishments, was getting used to being walked on a leash. She struggled for only a few moments against the new sensation of being “walked” somewhere while on a leash, but her struggling was brief as she quickly realized it wasn’t going to work.
After learning some basic leash skills, she then learned how to tackle the dreaded staircase. Independence began by learning to climb up the stairs first, which she no problems with at all. When I began to teach her to go down the stairs, she resisted less then while learning leash skills. While at the edge of the stairs, she planted her feet and wasn’t going anywhere. It only took me 2 seconds of applying steady pressure to the leash, equal to the pressure of her resistance, and then she gave up and turned her intentions to go about tackling the stairs.
Independence also had her first Veterinarian visit a few weeks ago and she did great! The Doc said she looks great and that her temperament is excellent. She didn’t show any fear while being handled during her examination, and I am very pleased with her first experience at the Vets office. A positive first experience, with anything, is always better then a negative one.
Independence also just had her ear crop done recently as well! Let me be the first to say, this girl is going to be a drop dead stunner when she grows up! She was a perfect angel and slept the whole 4 hour trip there. She also did really well at the vets, and was even asleep when it was time for me to get her. So far, she hasn’t done any scratching but if she does she gets to wear socks on her feet for a few days!
It’s been a very exciting first month, with the next to be all the more promising. Independence seems extremely intelligent and is already beginning her basic obedience. Over the next several weeks she will be learning her basics of “Heel”, “Sit”, “Stay”, “Recall”, and “Down”. I will begin her training lightly, at first, and gradually increase her endurance over the next several months. In addition to her basic obedience, she is also going to be exposed to a lot of socialization with dogs, other people, kids, animals, etc. Month 1 was relatively easy for Independence, but from here on out, she is going to be a very busy pup!
THANK YOU to every donor who has contributed toward Andrew's new Service Dog, "Independence"!
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