Skip to comments.America Supports You: Hunting Dog Trained for Wounded Soldier (WOOF! WOOF!)
Posted on 06/27/2008 4:35:29 PM PDT by SandRat
| WILLIAMSBURG, Va., June 27, 2008 On Aug. 19, 2006, the life of Army Capt. James Barclay IV changed forever.
Barclays life changed again June 24, but this time for the better.
Marc Illman, owner of The Pet Resort at Greensprings here, reunited Barclay with Bryant, a chocolate Labrador retriever specially trained for hunting. Illman spent the last three months training the dog while Barclay underwent treatment for his injuries.
Bryant and Barclays story began shortly after Barclay started his recovery at the Wounded Warrior Center at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. A long-time outdoorsman, Barclay was eager to return to hunting, his favorite pastime. He adopted Bryant in August, but soon found that his injuries prevented him from properly caring for the pooch.
I had him for about three weeks, he said. Due to the surgeries, I wasnt going to able to do what I wanted to do with him, and spend as much time as I should with him, so I sent him to my dads house.
In March, Barclays father, Army Brig. Gen. James Barclay III, former director of U.S. Joint Forces Commands Joint Center for Operational Analysis, brought Bryant and another pet to Illman for boarding. When Illman found out about the situation, he volunteered to help train Bryant free of charge.
Im thrilled to do this, and I hope the dog works out for him and his family, Illman said. These young men in the armed services really dont have a choice. Theyre where theyre told to go, when theyre told to go there, and no matter what your political ideals are, theyre committed to serve the armed services, and its important they know that when they come home, as opposed to other wars weve had, that they have some support.
Bryants training began with basic obedience training and socialization. Illman then moved on to more hunting and outdoor-specific training such as running through deep undergrowth and proper reaction to gunfire. He specifically trained the pup to hunt both water fowl and upland birds such as quail and pheasant. Illman said Bryant took easily to the training.
What makes him really special is that, sometimes you have a dog thats great around people [and] becomes a great house dog. We call them couch potatoes, Illman said. But he also has the ability to switch that off and become a great field-trial hunting dog.
The elder Barclay, who recently left JFCom to become commanding general at Fort Rucker, Ala., said hes grateful not only for Illmans help, but also for everyone who reaches out to wounded servicemembers in need.
Its great to have Americans who support our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and he is prime example of that kind of support that is willing to give and do things for these kids, the general said. Weve got great Americans out there that show their support in different ways for our kids. I think its wonderful, and folks like that need recognition.
As Barclay reunited with his old friend, the two recognized each other right away and were inseparable from the moment they were reunited.
It really means a lot to see that people here support me and the soldiers out here, Barclay said. Hopefully, [Bryant will] be my right-hand man.
In addition to Bryant, Barclay received a free one-year supply of dog food and a weekend hunting trip at a resort in Montana.
With Bryant in tow, Barclay will head back to San Antonio to continue his recovery. He said he hopes to be better in time for the bird-hunting season in the fall.
Once I get back, Ill start working with him right away to try and create that bond you need in a hunting dog, Barclay said.
(Army Spc. Andrew Orillion serves in the U.S. Joint Forces Command Public Affairs Office.)
Editor's Note: To find out about more individuals, groups and organizations that are helping support the troops, visit www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil. America Supports You directly connects military members to the support of the America people and offers a tool to the general public in their quest to find meaningful ways to support the military community.
America Supports You
In geek speak that’s w00t! w00t!
wonderful story!!! Needs a “Kleenex alert”!
the beauty of this is that Bryant will also give so much love and support and uncondtional day and night caring to Barclay at a time the young man needs that special emotional bond. Barclay will be able to talk out a lot of emotions to the doggie which will help him heal mentally also!
I was thinking the same thing. As I looked at the high res photo the screen went blurry big time. We’ve visited wounded in BAMC, some burns victims, they need all the prayers and support we can muster.
Bryant, you’re gonna make your master proud and give mega-value to his life each day. Dogs RULE.
I am a decent pup trainer. Trained 4 kids, 2 Belgian Mals perfectly, (but must admit that I failed a bit with the dachshunds, mostly on reliable recall, and peeing outside on rainy days, they were good about snow, though)
How could I help train pups for returning vets? Anyone know of a group/source?
I've had plenty of pro trainers tell me that they can be working a dog a quarter mile away across a field, and when the owner's car pulls in the driveway, it's "GANGWAY!"
I have a teeny tiny Choc who is a darling - 45 pounds of enthusiasm.
She isn't perfectly trained (because I trained her). But she has a lot of natural talent, and will get you duck or dove or partridge.
Bryant ought to be a first-class hunting companion with retrieving and upland training on him. May they have acres thick with quail and fat mallards galore.
I know plenty of good retriever trainers -- our hunting club is full of them. It's a patriotic bunch and I bet any number of them would love to get this sort of opportunity --
Our annual meeting is coming up in July.
Maybe we should bring this up, if we can find somebody who can connect the right folks together. I bet the club could sponsor the training of several pups. We have a Young Hunters program, and the UKC/HRC has a Puppy Scholarship program. Something might be done.
That would be wonderful! Go for it! Keep us posted on what transpires.