NEON from the Perseverance Litter is now a Warrior Canine Connection service dog!

Our grandpup Francie Neon/Perseverance Litter is now a Military Family Support Service Dog raised and trained through Warrior Canine Connection.

"I'm exhausted after seeing all of my favorite people today and am resting up
for graduation tomorrow!"

My Story...

Giving back to the community has always been important to us.

Since the 1st Gulf War, I have been working with my elem. School class to send letters, pictures, and packages to our service men and women. Whenever I had a former student let me know that he was going overseas, my class would ‘adopt’ him and send letters and such to put a smile on his face.

When we started our breeding program with Tracker and Skye, we had goals of donating a puppy, donating a litter, and nursing a loaner mother through birth to 8 weeks to a service organization.

 

Warrior Canine Connection service dog.

The first litter with Tracker and Skye was born in December 2013.  We wanted to donate from that litter to Warrior Canine Connection but they did not have a spot for a puppy then.  Finally though with the Perseverance litter born on June 10, 2014 a spot was open at WCC. We informed Molly that we would like to donate the Pick of the Litter to WCC. Molly gave us their criteria and we began observing our puppies. Since we know our dogs so well, WCC said we could make the pick.  But we wanted to learn and to grow with the WCC so we skyped with Danielle and Cheryl to further learn about requirements.  We invited the trainers to come to our house to meet the puppies and help with the selection process.

 

Both Nancy and I had our eye on one puppy from early on – Neon. She was different than the other puppies. Neon had an uncanny way of being present. You would look down at your feet among a litter of 10 and find Neon.  She was not the largest pup, she was not the dominant pup, she was not the submissive pup, she was just always present.  Always checking in with us.  Nancy and I were drawn to her and amazed with her quiet presence. When the pups would get into their little skirmishes, Neon would be there to check them out afterwards. Neon had a quiet connection with her siblings and would play with the pack but she seemed to make decisions to walk away when things were on the verge of becoming a problem.  Neon also connected with her big sister Sage, and her parents.  Neon would be the one you would find snuggled up with Sage, Tracker, or Skye.

At seven weeks, Jenny’s parents and friends Joe and Mary Ann Solomon came to visit.  During that visit, Jenny’s dad kept looking down at his feet and it was Neon. He said, this is going to be the service dog isn’t it?  At the 1st visit to the vet, the same thing occurred with the vet and vet tech both saying She is the service dog.

 

Interestingly, as we began to work on our puppy matching process, we asked families to give us two selections.  Neon only appeared on 1 list out of 5 families and even then, she was an add on beyond the top two. This was dejavu as Sage did the same thing with the Karma litter families. She knew she was supposed to be here with us and essentially removed herself from the running. Neon did the same thing.  It was as if she knew she wasn’t supposed to go with another family.

 

 

Cheryl & Danielle’s visit...

 

We ask all our puppy families to have 2 names for their puppies. 1 is the call name and 1 is the AKC name. We knew that Neon would need her name to be in honor of a service woman. This proved to be challenging as we did not directly know of any woman to meet the qualifications for the name. Since we had a network of people who were directly involved with Neon, our Perseverance Litter families, we asked for help. We had a number of names sent to us and that got the ball rolling.

 

We gave Molly/WCC three names and we played around with each to see how it sounded.  One fit perfectly… Francie! In order to put into practice what we asked of our puppy families, we needed to complete our research.

 

There were so many women that we could honor!  Each had her own unique, incredible story.  Nancy and I made a list of Neon’s traits to help us to find the right woman.  Our list included: sweet, caring, gentle, checking in, quiet presence, etc.  This solidified the right woman would be a nurse.  Neon exemplified the qualities of a nurse.  We began to focus on two women.  As we continued our research we were compelled by Frances Slanger’s story.  She was a Polish immigrant who escaped Jewish persecution.  Frances also had to overcome adversity due to an eye ailment.  She went to nursing school in Boston and wrote in her journal about her passion for caring for others, comforting people in need, and helping the less fortunate.  These characteristics were matching what we saw in Neon.  Frances persevered in becoming a nurse.  She persevered as she went ashore in Normandy four days after D -Day.   Another connection that we made was how Frances was able to share her thoughts and feelings with her letter to Stars and Stripes which was published after she had been killed.  Frances’ letter spoke of the men on the front line and what they were going through and not of her own struggles and fears being a woman and a Jew fighting on foreign soil.  This resonated with us as this would be the journey of a service dog.  Caring for others before herself.  We see Neon as being that way, putting others first.   As we spent the last 8 weeks with our puppies, there is a sense that you develop with each of the puppies.  We knew that Neon had a destiny beyond what we could see, just like Frances.  She had a destiny to fulfill and went forth to help others.  Our Neon, Francie, will do that too.  Just like her namesake Frances Slanger.