Assisting a veteran

Sunday, January 5, 2014

When Operation Wolfhound in Elfrida contacted the University of Arizona Cochise County Cooperative Extension Office, where kids register for the 4-H Dog Project, to see if there were any youths interested in training a dog to help a wounded veteran, they knew just who to turn to.

Monica Mascarenas, 17, has been training dogs for five years through the 4-H Dog Project. She has trained her own border collie, rescued from the humane society, and worked with other dogs, including training one dog for an older man and several puppies to help elderly couples.

When asked, Monica was happy to be of help.

"It's great way for me to work on my dog training, as well as give back to the community and to veterans who have given to us – sacrificing for us," Monica said while working with Cyrus recently in Keiller Park.

Cyrus is a two-and-a-half-year old Alaskan Malamute, probably not full-blooded, she added, but mostly. Operation Wolfhound picked up Cyrus in California on Jan. 8,where he had been living in a foster home guarding horses. Prior to that, he had been trained for basic obedience and numerous tricks, but his owner could no longer care for him.

And, Cyrus had his sister with him all along.

"The hardest thing (to overcome) is the separation anxiety," Monica said. "He has never been separated from his sister and he whines a lot."

But Cyrus was always intended to be a wounded veteran's assistant.

Read the rest of this March 6, 2013 Arizona Range News article at the link below.

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