14-year-old Scout Helps SBF

14-year-old Scout Helps SBF

Source: 12News website

Watch the news story video

With persistence, dedication and love, Hayden Larkin, a Boy Scout, has created one of the first dog agility courses in his troop.

Hayden, from Surprise, is 14 years old and is currently a Life Scout with Troop 194.

He is the brains behind the invention of the dog agility course that will help train rescued dogs for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“The whole reason for the dog agility course and how that came about was, I initially wanted to go to Alaska and help build dog shelters,” said Hayden.

He decided to put his creative energy and his heart into giving back to a local organization called a Soldier’s Best Friend.

“My mother found a mutual friend between herself and an organization called a Soldier’s Best Friend,” said Hayden. “They said they would like an agility course to be made and I said, ‘I can do that.’”

Hayden researched other agility courses and gave himself the challenge to create one.

“A-frames, dog walks, tunnels, wing jumps, weave pools — I looked it up all at home,” said Hayden. “I bet if I complied these, I could turn it into a course.”

So far, Hayden has already spent over 100 community service hours just on this course alone.

“And that doesn’t include the work still left to be done and the work that will be continued on,” said Chad Larkin, Hayden’s father and the assistant scout master for Troop 194. “Boy Scouts gives back hundreds and thousands of hours every year.”

We decided to test the agility course with one of Hayden’s pups — it didn’t go so well.

But the good news is that with more training and patience, other rescued pups will be able to change the life of a veteran.

“This organization is perfect. It’s everything I would make if I could make any organization,” said Hayden.

Hayden’s course is all made from donations. He even took a chance at tweeting President Donald Trump to see if maybe he would want to donate towards his course — no response.

Hayden’s not stopping here — he plans on extending his course. He will deliver his course to the organization at the end of December.

“I’m pretty proud to see that it is almost done, that it is officially created, that it’s here,” said Hayden.

Community in Action

Community in Action

The saying, “It takes a village” is definitely true for Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF). All of you are an important part of our SBF community, and we thank you for everything you do to support our veterans and their canine partners. As we celebrate the end of 2017 and begin a new year, we honor the many segments of our SBF community: veteran/dog teams, volunteers, fosters, shelter/rescue partners, donors, sponsors, strategic partners and supporters, Eagle Scouts, media connections, neighbors, board members, trainers and staff. Each and every one of you have had a vital part in helping Soldier’s Best Friend grow and thrive.

So far this year, 46 teams have graduated the program. Because of your support, whether it be financial or through your hard work, 195 veteran/dog teams have successfully graduated from our service/therapeutic companion dog training program since our beginning in 2011. With one more group graduating mid-December, we are on track to reach the next milestone of 200 graduate teams by the end of this year. These success stories are only possible because of you and our hard working, dedicated veteran/dog teams.

Thank you to our shelter/rescue partners who help identify dogs that may be good candidates for our training program, allowing us to adopt and place them into loving homes. Working side by side with their veteran partner, these dogs have a chance for a new life in a loving home and a very important job. We truly appreciate your commitment and partnership.

Thank you to our fosters who bring newly adopted dogs into their homes and care for them. Your work to help these dogs transition and prepare them to be paired with their veteran partner is crucial to the success of the veteran/dog team. It takes special people who are able to welcome one of these amazing animals into their home, love and care for it, and then let the dog go so he or she can become part of a forever family. Thank goodness there are incredible people like you who can.

Thank you to our donors, sponsors, event participants and grant makers who have consistently supported our veteran/dog teams financially. We wouldn’t be able to provide this life-changing program at no cost to our veterans without your support. We can’t thank you enough  for the generous gifts you entrust to us that provide the training, equipment, veterinary care and support these teams need to be successful.

Thank you to our hard working volunteers, Eagle Scouts, strategic partners and others who give of their time, talent, tangible gifts and connections to help take care of our campus, support us at events and all the millions of tasks we ask of you to help us get things done. You are all generous and amazing people.

Thank you to our friends in the media who tell our story to help spread the word about Soldier’s Best Friend and the work we do to help combat veterans and Arizona homeless dogs. It is vitally important we increase community awareness. Thank you for helping us do that.

Thank you to our board members who use their experience and leadership to guide Soldier’s Best Friend into the future. Your dedication to making informed, thoughtful decisions is critical to the health of our nonprofit.

Thank you to our trainers and staff who tirelessly commit themselves to the work of training our veteran/dog teams and making Soldier’s Best Friend the successful nonprofit it is today. You are the boots on the ground making sure we complete our mission.

And of course, thank you to our veterans. You are the reason Soldier’s Best Friend exists. Thank you for your service. Thank you for the sacrifices you and your families made to protect our freedom. Thank you for your commitment to training; for sticking with it through the challenges to achieve the final goal of having a trained service dog. Everyone in our SBF community supports you because it is our hope that having your trained service dog by your side makes it easier for you to live your life now that you are home.

Our program can have a meaningful impact on many lives: those of our returning veterans, their families and also the homeless dogs who become their canine partners. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who supports our mission. Together, we are a community that works to help veterans and Arizona homeless dogs. Together, we truly are touching two lives at once.