Greetings! One year ago, Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation selected me as a recipient for a service dog. Kodiak Sandberg is a 90lb, three-year-old, black German Shepard. Prior to receiving Kodi I was interviewed weekly, sometimes daily, for roughly 6 weeks by trainers from Black Paw Canine. It was hard at first, to “open-up” my vulnerabilities to Ben Brockway and his Black Paw Canine staff, but after a week or two of phone calls and video chats, their methods and explanations opened up a lot of sealed-cans. A few days before I received Kodi, I spent three days with Ben, Emily, Andy, Jess, and Tony. They were teaching me how to handle a dog that can read your mind. Ben and his staff run a great program out of New Albany Ohio. If any of you ever get a chance to go to Ohio, swing by Black Paw Canine HQ, and just watch them train dogs, it’s an awesome site! Ok, back to the mind-reader. Kodi and I rode together (Ben and staff followed) to Brad Keselowski's event where I would receive Kodi. I get road rage (who doesn’t?), I have teeth-marks in my steering wheel because of city traffic. Kodi and I haven’t made it out of Columbus yet and he is all over me! Like he is almost in the driver’s seat with me! He’s biting me, tugging on my shirt, licking my face, he’s trying to play! This happened a couple more times during this 3 hour drive to Brad's Event. Kodi and I pull into the parking lot and I jump out to tell Ben about Kodi all up in my grill! Ben said, “did he make you smile or laugh?” Yes. “Did he stop you from losing your mind and chewing on your own steering wheel?” yes. “Did he stop once your emotions went to him rather than traffic?” yes. Ben laughed and said “you’re welcome”. I just stood there in awe and thought to myself, that dog can read my mind.
Above: Phil "Sandy" Sandberg and his service canine, Kodi