Sunday, February 4, 2018

How It All Began

In August 2017 Canines for Service Inc. in Wilmington, NC, provided Service Dog Forest to me (U.S. Army Veteran "Fisher"). It was apparent from the first day of training that this 2-1/2-year-old black lab/hound mix would change my life, promoting my independence and healing after serving in Iraq. Canines for Service provides quality, trained service dogs to veterans with service-connected disabilities (e.g., mobility impairment, traumatic brain injury, documented clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder), while rescuing shelter dogs in the process. They provided Forest to me, asking nothing in return other than that I love him, take care of him and use him as he was intended. For that reason, I encourage you to click on the link on the right-hand navigation bar and donate whatever you can to this wonderful organization that relies completely on grants and private donations.

Encouraged by my wife, I have also been participating in events hosted by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., Greater Charlotte Area chapter, which assists in the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active-duty military personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings. As soon as I entered the first stream with my guide, I found peace and relaxation that I had not experienced for years. For more information on Project Healing Waters, and to find a chapter in your area, please click the link to the right.

Both of these organizations (and my family) are supporting my plan to fulfill a lifelong dream beginning on March 1: to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine--and fish a little along the way, of course! This blog will document my adventures with Forest on the trail. I'll be posting journal entries and photographs (as time and energy allow) as we proceed from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the end of the Trail in Maine. Please stop back often to witness our progress, or you can click on the link to the right to have posts sent to you by email. I'll respond to comments when I can, but please be patient as my focus will be on Forest's health and happiness as we proceed. He's the greatest dog and is modeling the greatest gear below! See you on the trail. (Reminder: Forest is a service dog, so please always ask before approaching him. If he's working, he needs to stay focused.)

11 comments:

  1. Best wishes with every step. Both very wonderful organizations to be apart of. I'll be cheering you both on..

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  2. Can't wait till you hit the trail. Praying you find answers you seek and peace out there. Just know lots of folks are cheering you on buddy.

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  3. Hi Fisher, I found out about your blog from Janet Shorter. Janet was my 10th grade English teacher "back in the day" and we kept in touch through the years. I visited her in 2016 (I live in PA) and met Forest and the other dogs and saw the great work that Canines For Service does. When I read your post and saw that you like fly fishing, I wanted to let you know about our little town here called Boiling Springs. It's right along the Appalachian Trail and has lots of great places for fly fishing. Hope you have some time to check out the area, like the Children's Lake and "The Bubble". I wish you and Forest a safe trip and that you find fulfillment and peace on your adventure!
    Here are some links about Boiling Springs:

    https://www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/towns/boiling-springs/

    http://www.boilingsprings.org/

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    1. That’s cool! If it fits in the schedule, I’ll try to stop!

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  4. Hey Forest Fisher. This blog looks great. I am looking forward to receiving your updates along the way. Final countdown is only a few hours away. 3/1/2018 is within reach.

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    1. Thanks, Bear, for all of your support. It means a lot!

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  5. This is pretty awesome. Your wife is our mail carrier and she just shared your story with me. Totally cool what your doing. Its a life long dream of my husbands. Hope you get to enjoy some fishing along the way! It's defiantly a great way to relax and focus on one thing, the fish! God speed to you and Forrester as you make your way through the forest!

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    1. Thanks so much for following along. We fish when we can, but it would slow us down too much in Maine; there's fishable water everywhere up here! Forest and I sure appreciate your support!

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  6. Hello!
    My name is Brenda, and I am a senior at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. This semester I was offered a research position along side with my professor, Dr. Kelly on the Appalachian Trial. For my position, I have tracked down when the shelters were built, and find missing shelter pictures from the data my professor has from his personal data basis.
    Here is the link: http://appalachiantrailhistory.org/collections/show/9
    *This project is not yet finished, but will be happy to forward the link
    once the project is finished!
    I came across your picture file, and would love to use them for school related purposes only. I will greatly give full credit if you allow me to use your photo.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out, my email is Ibrenda13@yahoo.com
    I appreciate your time!
    Thank you!

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How It All Began

In August 2017 Canines for Service Inc. in Wilmington, NC, provided Service Dog Forest to me (U.S. Army Veteran "Fisher"). It was ...