By: Deb Davis
Paws With A Cause® is proud to have some of the nation's finest Veterans as Assistance Dog clients. Our men and women in uniform make us proud every day and we truly thank them all for their service and sacrifice.
We are always happy to hear of clients' life accomplishments and how their Assistance Dog played a role in them. Today, on Veteran's Day, we wanted to share the story of how a PAWS® Service Dog became a Veteran himself.
It all began in 2007 when Service Dog Mambo accompanied his client, Kevin Stone, to a military unit at the invitation of a Warrior Transition Battalion's First Sergeant. They had a chance meeting with the First Sergeant that lead to the invitation to provide a speech and to tour the Fort Huachuca Medical Command in Arizona. After that visit, Mambo and Kevin did more military programs for the US Paralympic Committee's Military Programs (of which Kevin was a Paralympic athlete). They visited bases of every service and everywhere they went, Mambo caught the attention of every Command. Eventually, Mambo's service, demeanor and attention to duty were noticed by the former Sergeant Major of the Army, Jack Tilly. He relayed Mambo's performance to his successor and current Sergeant Major of the Army, the highest-ranking Enlisted Non-Commissioned Officer in the Army, SMA Raymond F. Chandler III and current Chief of Staff of the Army, General Raymond T. Odierno.
Through his travels with Kevin to Army bases and Warrior Transition Units across the country, Mambo is a true 'sidekick" to Kevin's coaching our active duty wounded and retired military, as a Military Adaptive Sports coach for the Department of Defense. We're not quite sure what actually prompted Mambo to become one of the few non-combatant and civilian canines to be recognized for their service to this country, but on November 12, 2011, Mambo received a package addressed to Corporal Mambo (Canine) from the Department of the Army, Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army. Inside the envelope were presentations that included his US Army Certificate of Enlistment dated the day of his arrival for that first medical program at Fort Huachuca; retirement orders from the Adjutant General Sergeant Major; and final Certificate of Retirement signed by CSA General Odierno dated 1 January 2012. Mambo received a Coin of Excellence from the Adjutant General of the US Army ~ something that's not handed out liberally.
In his 'retirement' from the Army, Mambo continues to move forward with his Service Dog duties for Kevin and accompanies him everywhere he goes. Kevin and Mambo continue to travel, coach wounded warriors in Adaptive Sports, serve as a spokesperson for PAWS and inspire Congress and VA to create new laws that govern the Service Dogs that are partnered with our veterans and active duty wounded.
Good boy, Corporal (E4) Mambo (US Army, Ret.). Good boy!
Original artwork by Kevin Stone