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Cpl. Stanley, service dog in training, leaves for his next assignment

By CATHY DYSON | The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va. | Published: June 26, 2015

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Tribune News Service) — Cpl. Stanley, the service dog in training who has been at Dixon–Smith Middle School for two years, is leaving Stafford County for his next level of training.

But Stanley, as he’s known, will make one last local hurrah. He’ll be the guest of honor at a farewell party Saturday at Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge in North Stafford.

Roger Giese, Stanley’s “puppy parent” for two years, expects quite the turnout.

“People from all over are coming to see him,” Giese said.

Giese and the English black Labrador have been practically inseparable for two years. The dog was one of nine puppies born in June 2013 at Warrior Canine Connection, a Maryland facility that trains therapy dogs for wounded veterans.

Stanley was part of the first “honor litter,” named after real people who were wounded or killed in battles throughout America’s history.

Giese worked as a computer technician at Dixon–Smith, so he brought Stanley to school with him every day. Being exposed to lots of people and situations was part of the dog’s training.

So were the daily drills and commands that Giese put him through as the two trekked throughout the school, as Giese prepared projects and installed software.

Stanley is ready to be partnered with a service member and get specialized training. Giese doesn’t know if Stanley will help someone who suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder or a brain injury. Or, the dog may become a helper to a quadriplegic.

All he knows is that Stanley — a Lab known for his friendly nature and ability to focus on tasks—is ready to serve.

“I’m tearful that he’s leaving me, but I also have tears of joy that he’s qualified to handle anything,” Giese said.

Saturday’s farewell is from 2 to 6 p.m. at Mick’s in the Aquia Towne Center. A silent auction also is planned to raise money to train more dogs through the Warrior Canine Connection.

Although Stanley is heading out of Stafford, he’s leaving a little of himself behind. He sired a litter of pups and one of his offspring, Tamer, will become Giese’s new ward.

Giese should get Tamer by mid-July, soon after Stanley departs.

They won’t be going back to Dixon–Smith, however, because Giese, who is 71, has retired yet again. He also worked in international sales, was a police officer and served in the Vietnam War.

This go-round, he plans to become an independent real estate agent, a job that he hopes will give him more time to train puppies for the Warrior Canine Connection.

When he signed up for the program, he said he hoped he had 20 more good years ahead so he could train 10 dogs.

He’s one down, nine to go.

Stanley has been saying goodbye to people in the region for weeks. It’s all chronicled on his Facebook page: WCC’s Stanley.

cdyson@freelancestar.com

©2015 The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.)
Visit The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.) at www.fredericksburg.com/flshome
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Puppies in Cpl. Stanley's "Honor Litter" romp on the lawn at the Warrior Canine Connection in Maryland in August, 2013.
MEREDITH TIBBETTS/STARS AND STRIPES

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