Honoring our Veterans

The military may have taken some of our Veteran Pack Members on many unexpected adventures.  Even though those adventures might have come to an end, their journey continues through the undeniable bond created with their canine companions.
In honor of Veterans Day, we asked a few of our pack members to share their experiences with us (via Training the Wildrose Way group page on Facebook).

Here are their stories:

Mike Stewart

Tell us about your time in service:
Commander, Michael H. Stewart, US Navy Reserves, Retired
1985 to 2006
Agent- Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
Security Officer- Atlantic Intelligence Command
Officer in Charge (OIC)- Joint Intelligence Command Central
Operations Officer- Defense Intelligence Agency

Serving different commands with a variety of military missions for 20 years allowed fantastic leadership opportunities.  Military service provides one with a great education in organization, personnel development and commitment to mission.  All proved beneficial as life lessons and personal professional development. Interesting travel as well… Iceland, Spain, Hawaii, New Orleans, Washington, DC, N. Africa.

Share with us about your dog(s):
Deke is the Ducks Unlimited mascot and a Master Trekker, prepared to go anywhere.

Deke and Mike-3.jpg

Mike and Deke – photo by Katie Behnke

Deke and his pals are my best friends. Besides hunting upland and waterfowl, he is a great traveling companion and a perfect complement in the home.


Tom Smith

Tell us about your time in service:
Captain, Tom Smith, US Army
Infantry Officer

tom army 2

The work ethic and leadership training from the military is invaluable as a business owner. The infantry’s moto is to lead from the front which translates into the civilian world to lead by example. I was fortunate enough to attend airborne and air assault schools and after graduating the Rappel Master course served as a rappel Master in the 6th Infantry Division. Traveling the world from Alaska, Thailand, Japan, Egypt and all over the lower 48 was an experience I will never forget. 

Share with us about your dog(s):
Dixie, 11yo Hamish x Susie
Mattis, 1yo Hamish x Ginger

Dixie is retired now but she was a hunting dog, office dog, traveling companion and overall more than I could have ever dreamed of.

Mattis is a hunting dog, companion, jokester and all around perfect dog.

These dogs are my constant companions and are always up for new adventures.  You can find them at various demos and hunts throughout the year.


Danielle Drewrey

Tell us about your time in service:
US Army, 2011
Military Police

IMG_9389Entering into the US Army in January 2011, I hoped to follow in my Grandfathers foot steps and work as a Military Police Officer with aspirations to be a Dog Handler. I was proud to serve my country, but my time was cut short. At the end of 2011, after many months of intense training, an injury ended my hopes in having a career in the military.
My short time in service helped me realize that you are capable of more than you give yourself credit for.

Share with us about your dog(s):
Stella, 8 year old English Springer Spaniel
Willow, 2 year old British Lab

Stella is a glorified house dog and adventure dog. She completed the 2017 Adventure Dog Rendezvous in Jasper Arkansas and holds a Trail Rated title. She keeps my family entertained with her superb retrieving and energy.
Willow has been trained as an Adventure Dog with Gundog skills. While I’m not a hunter myself, she enjoys picking up the occasional bird for me during training sessions at Wildrose Oxford.


I love my dogs and the bond I have with them is undeniable.
Life with a dog is a good life.


 Otter Gardner

Tell us about your time in service:
Army, 18th Airborne Corp
1979 -1983
Military Police /Dog Handler
The dogs I worked were: Ti – male 4 years old, Arco – male 8 years old, Pasha – female 7 years old & Fozzie – male 3 years old. Ti being my primary dog. My work consisted of Garrison Duty (work within the base): Military Police patrol with K-9.
Combat Operations:
Airborne with K-9, Rappelling with K-9, STABO Extraction (allowed handler and dog to be extracted by a helicopter from a field locations without landing the helicopter).
“Tunnel Rat,” enter underground tunnels with my dog to clear the tunnels of enemy & hazards.

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Tell us about your dog(s):
Otter –  American Water Spaniel, 7 years old

Copper – Labrador Retriever, 11 months old

Both of my dogs work with me guiding waterfowl and upland hunts at several game preserves.
Most important, they are my loyal companions.

He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds;
My other ears that hear above the winds;
My other nose that can sense our surroundings;
He has shown me his love a thousand times over;
by the way he rests against my leg;
by the way he thumps his tail at my smile;
by the way he braves the challenges ahead.
When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.
When I am a fool, he ignores it.
When I succeed, he’s proud.
When I am in danger, he protects me.
With him, I am comfortable and safe.
He has taught me the meaning of devotion.
He is loyalty itself.
His presence by my side is protection against my fears.
His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.
He has promised to wait for me…whenever… wherever – in case I need him;
and I expect I will –
as I always have.
Military Working Dog
K-9 Ti J-169

Yvonne Pate

Tell us about your time in the service:
US Army
2005 – 2009

I Joined South Carolina Army National Guard from then transferred to Mississippi Army National Guard after that I went over to Active Duty Army and was stationed at Fort Drum, NY for my duration of contract. My job was a 42A (Human Resources Specialist).

I am a very proud veteran and loved my job in the army. I miss it a lot.

Share with us about your dog:
Sterling is 3 years old. He is a British labrador Retriever and is a big baby.  He helps me with my public anxiety, night terrors and depression.

He is a special baby. He is spoiled rotten and can be hard headed sometimes but I can usually get him back in line. He is a big lover. I have a hard time taking him out in public places because everyone wants to love on him. I feel bad when I have to tell them no, but we work great together. I love my baby boy Sterling.


Andrew McKenzie

Tell us about your time in the service:
I have been in the Airforce since 1988 and still serving (retirement next year) working my way up through the ranks before commissioning in 2002. I have served in Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. I command US and Canadian troops in Afghanistan where our role was to act as a Mobile Training Team travelling the country teaching the Afghan Army and Police.

Share with us about your dog:
My wonderful dog is a black Labrador named Ace. He is from the Beereegan Line of dogs here in Australia. He will be 5 years of age in December.

His initial role was to be my duck dog as I had always wanted to hunt alongside a great dog. Ace does this job well but his greatest attribute is his adaptability to adapt to changing circumstances. Wildrose training methods allows him to be a duck dog during the hunt then be my companion animal when we have finished. Having recently been diagnosed with PTSD, I must admit I let him get away with not staying/remaining on his bed (in place) as he has the ability to know when I am starting to feel down, he gets off his bed and comes over to me for cuddles and interaction, these are the only times he gets off his place (unless instructed). Additionally, my wife, the proverbial cat lover, is so struck with him and his training, she has placed an order for her own Chocolate female Labrador. Whilst, not being a US citizen, the Wildrose training methodology has introduced me to many like minded people all across the US. Being part of the Wildrose pack is a privilege that I hope others will take up.


Glenn Pabody

Tell us about your time in service:
I enlisted in the Army not long out of high school in 1973. Motivated in part by Johnglen militaryWayne’s portrayal of Colonel Kirby in the movie “The Green Berets” and a life spent as an “Air Force brat” traveling all over the world, I took the Special Forces enlistment option and started my training to become a Green Beret. I completed my training by late 1974 and was assigned to the 5thSpecial Forces Group at Ft. Bragg. My time on active duty varied between filling a medic position on an SF Operational Detachment which involved frequent trips abroad, working at a troop clinic on Ft. Bragg or for a period of time, assisting with medical coverage at a National Guard post in Pennsylvania assisting with Vietnamese immigrants fleeing their country to start a new life in the U.S. Following my active duty time I returned to college in 1978 and started my Physician Assistant training. On graduation in 1980 I joined the Army National Guard and began my training as an Aeromedical P.A., filling the slot of a Battalion level Flight Surgeon. My job was to care for the pilots and flight crew, ensuring they were healthy to fly and remain mission capable. I remained in Army Aviation as a flight doc till my retirement in 2001. My time in Special Forces and as an Aeromedical P.A. was at times exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating, and lonely, but always fulfilling. If my country called me, I would happily serve her again.

glen military2

“West Texas dove hunt with my Special Forces brothers.”

Share with us about your dog(s):
I have been training Labs since my teens, first starting out throwing birds at field trials in North Louisiana ,  often picking up tips from many of the pros that ran their dogs at those trials. I started running UKC Hunt tests back in the early 80’s not long after the Hunting Retriever Club was founded and enjoyed doing that for many years. After a several year break, my wife Maryetta and I bought our first Wildrose pup, Wildrose M1A1 Abrams, “Abe” and have thoroughly embraced the Wildrose method of training. Abe, (Barney x Flush), age 22 months is being trained as a gun dog, and to run UKC hunt tests and possibly work as a therapy dog one day. Wildrose M18A1 Claymore, “Clay” (Otto x Holly) age 11 weeks is going through his background training now and will eventually follow in Abe’s footsteps. Maryetta and I love being part of the Wildrose pack and the friends we’ve made in such a short period of time . See you in the field !


Shawn O’Bannon

Tell us about your time in service:
I am from Gulfport, MS, a graduate of St John High School in Gulfport and upon graduation of high school I began attending MS Gulf Coast Community College. In November of 1989, at the age of nineteen, I joined the United States Navy, at which time I attended Boot Camp in San Diego, California.  Upon graduation, I attended the Naval School of Dental Assisting in San Diego.  During the next six years, I attended the University of Mississippi studying pre-dental earning a Bachelor of Science degree, attended Graduate school in Microbiology and achieved the rank of Petty Officer Third Class as an Navy reservist. In 1995, my lifelong dream was fulfilled when I was awarded a four-year Navy scholarship while attending dental school at the University of Alabama Birmingham.  Upon reception of my scholarship, I was commissioned into the Inactive Navy reserve as an Ensign.  Upon graduation from dental school in 1999, I was commissioned as a Lieutenant on Active Duty in the Navy.  Later that year, I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan as a General Dentist attached to the 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Force Service Support Group, 3rd Dental Battalion.  Between 2001 and 2003, I served in Washington, D.C. as an administrative assistant to the Admiral of the Navy Dental Corps at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. During that time I was also a general dentist at the Washington Navy Yard and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander as well as being selected to attend orthodontic residency.  In 2003 I began attending Wilford Hall Medical Center (Tri Service Orthodontic Residency), which is located at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.  Upon graduation I received my certificate in orthodontics in 2005, and had the honor of being published in the American Journal of Orthodontics.  After eighteen years of service, I separated from the Navy and began private practice in Birmingham, Alabama.  In the beginning of 2009, I moved back home to the state of Mississippi and began practicing in Oxford Mississippi where I am an owner and Orthodontist at GO Orthodontics.

Share with us about your dog:brock and shawn
As an avid sportsman, I am proud to own Wildrose Brock.  He is a perfect example of the

Wildrose pedigree of British Labs. Brock is two and a half years old, Sired by Scottie, and Dam Ginger.  To me it is a magically and unbelievable bond between the two of us.   Not only is he a fine sporting dog, but he is also a loving companion.  Brock’s characteristics substantiate the idea that Wildrose Kennels is truly a first class sporting dog training company.





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