Kaleb Fontenot & Freya
Army Veteran // Companion & Protection Dog
"I left for the army at 18, and served as an infantryman for about 3 years, up until I got injured and was medically discharged. Soon after I was prescribed an abundance of medication to deal with my physical and mental problems. As could be imagined ... It didn’t end well; with years of fighting addiction and nearly losing my life, and my family.
It came to a boiling point and luckily I decided it was time to change. I got off of all the medication and went natural, moved my family off the grid, to the big island of Hawaii. Things were much better, however my mental issues and physical limitations were still present (yet not nearly as bad). I didn't want to be a burden on my family or anyone close, yet I realized I needed a "partner" ... or someone that I knew had my back and would protect my family and I; especially at moments when I felt anxious or tense in public, on hikes, or sleeping at night.
I decided that what I needed (what "we" needed), was a protection dog / family companion. However, I didn't want just any protection dog. I wanted a working line German shepherd - the breed I worked with in the military and law enforcement. And so the search began ... I didn’t even know if I could get one as a civilian, yet I was determined to find a lifelong partner from a reputable breeder. So when I found out that a working line GSD would set me back $7,000-$10,000, I realized that it may be more difficult than I imagined.
But, even that didn't stop me. I started reaching out to like minded folks; through group chats, organizations, and GSD breeders. It wasn't long before I connect with an individual that helps veterans looking for service dogs. In fact, they linked me up with a breeder on one of the other islands! Was it too good to be true, I thought??? ... It happened to be a Christian based organization, called Kingdom Shepherds (and really good folk)! After some discussion and sharing my "story", they informed me that there was a list for people, like me, and I would be added as an interested party ... See, their goal and intention is to place "non desirable" working GSD into the homes of veterans or individuals in need of a working dog and companion.
After about 2 years (of fighting and struggling with my own demons), I was praying one night; asking God, "why haven’t I been able to make this happen yet?" "Was there something I needed to do?" ... I got a phone call out of nowhere the next day (not even kidding). It was them, Kingdom Shepherds!
They told me they have a female working line GSD that was born without a tail. I asked if that (or anything else) would affect her physically, in training or life? They told me "no", and there was no hesitation. In fact, I immediately felt that she’d just be a little different, and special in her own way... like me lol! They put her on the next flight and my wife and I anxiously waited at the airport for her arrival.
There she was, an 8 week old beautiful PERFECT companion! My entire life changed at that moment. And for the next year everything was great! I paid for professional training and constantly worked with her myself. She went EVERYWHERE with me and/or my family ... and my anxiety in public, or at night, was gone! Seeing her attach to my kids as they play, as though she's always attentive and watching our back; my mind is at ease. Anything and everything I attempt to teach her, she picks up within days or weeks! ... We even did a 25 mile hike together in Volcano National Park! Something I would never have dared do before her!
"Man's best friend" never made sense until I was paired with Freya! She’s truly nothing short of my best friend. ... Recently, I've even decided that to share the adventures of Freya and Kaleb, and felt there was opportunity for me (unable to "work") to provide for my family. So, I got after it and made a TikTok to start sharing content and videos with Freya. Our plan is to show the world the unique life on the Big Island, and the adventures that are out there for a pair like us. Maybe, just hopefully, one day that can help us toward the dream home that I want for my family! One that they deserve."
Their Gear: We don't go anywhere without the Nomad Frame Harness and our Ray Allen Tactical Bungee Leash with Frog Clip! Besides looking badass, Freya also enjoys wearing her Rex Specs Goggles, and sharing her own perspective of the adventures, with the GoPro Mount (which is the only GoPro mount for a dog harness that I've found to be sturdy and stay on her while running)! We also recently bought the RAM Bomber Agitation Muzzle and look forward to growing our collection of amazing equipment! I personally can't say enough about the company or their gear. it's top notch!
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