Ben and K-9 Remi
I grew up in West Central Wisconsin with an agricultural background. Following my childhood dreams I joined a police department in Northern Wisconsin. After being in the department for two years, I decided that I needed to obtain experience elsewhere to advance my career. I moved to the Twin Cities taking a temporary leave from law enforcement and joined the Army Reserve a few years later, in January 2016. While on active duty status for training, I received an upper back and neck injury that eventually led to medical retirement in October 2021.
In September 2017, I was sent home from a mobilization due to my injuries and I started Seminary in Spring 2018. My hopes to become a Military Chaplain became crushed when the Chaplain's Office said no due to the injuries and my medical board started around the same time. Summer of 2021, I decided to start training Remi as a therapy dog to work with me in a ministry setting. While we were training, Remi started to keep track of my surroundings for me and notify me if someone was getting too close or something was happening around us that I needed to be aware of. By doing that Remi was greatly able to help reduce the duration, frequency, and extent of the pain that I encounter while trying to remain vigilant of my surroundings.
After a lot of deliberation and numerous conversations, I realized that Remi was going to be a greater asset to me as a service dog than the current route of therapy dog. So I transitioned the training to service dog in February 2022. Six months into this training, I have made a lot of advancements, although I am extremely grateful for Soldiers 6 to welcome me as part of the family and help guide me though the more specifics of training. I have both heard of and seen the amazing impact that Soldiers 6 provides and I am honored to be accepted as a recipient of it.
After a few years of working in the Twin Cities and building connections, I realized that law enforcement was just not for me anymore due to the change in culture, my physical health, and my fiance really did not want me to re-enter it. Fast forward to present, our divorce was finalized a month after I was medically retired from the Army and we equally co-parent our wonderful son, Jacob. Remi and Jacob get along just like you would expect two siblings to, best of friends yet arch enemies. Remi has definitely been an asset to me as I continue to navigate the ins and outs of life on both a physical and mental level.