WANTED: ARMY OF PEOPLE TO SEARCH FOR LOST SERVICE DOG
Faith. Family. Farming. Friends.
These aren’t just words on plaques that hang in the homes of many rural America residents. These are values that embody rural America. They’re the values that prompt friends and neighbors to gather and harvest the crops of a sick farmer. They’re the values that bond a community, whether community is defined as the people who live in one town or a group of people from a region who share similar interests like hunting or farming.
That’s why today, on Veteran’s Day, I’m making a heartfelt plea that extends to everyone in the Upper Midwest. We need everyone to be on the lookout for Latham, the black Labrador Retriever that is part of the program at Retrieving Freedom Inc. (RFI) in Waverly, Iowa.
Veteran’s Day, as you know, was established for Americans to publicly honor U.S. veterans. For the volunteers and staff at RFI, however, Veterans Day is every day. They work tirelessly to train dogs to provide veterans with a new sense of freedom. In many cases, a trained service dog makes it possible for veterans to feel safe again in public settings. Service dogs also help open doors, turn on lights and perform tasks for veterans with mobility challenges. Dogs trained by RFI also aid children with autism, as well as children and adults with diabetes.
Bailey, pictured above, was 7 1/2 weeks old when Broders brought her home. She is still all puppy at 7 1/2 months!
We first introduced you to the puppy named Latham last December when we posted, “Help Freedom Ring for Those Who Fought to Defend Ours.” Donated by Craig Christians, Territory Sales Manager for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, our namesake puppy will become part of the RFI’s breeding program. We’ve all been eagerly awaiting the day when Latham could father pups from Bailey, the Labrador pup purchased by Latham Regional Manager Jerry Broders and his wife.
Latham the Lab has a legacy to create. He has a mission and a purpose in life, but first he needs to come home! Latham went missing from his foster family’s farm near Parkersburg in Butler County, Iowa. Sadly, Latham went missing shortly after his foster mom, Jenna, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Because MS causes nerves in the body to deteriorate or become permanently damaged, it has been inaccurately reported that Latham would become Jenna’s personal service dog. “We’ve said that Latham acted like a service dog through the trying times of Jenna’s diagnosis,” says Scott Dewey, founder of Retrieving Freedom in Iowa. “That dog was literally at her bed side and providing her with comfort while she was in the hospital this fall, but I’d like to set the record straight. Latham was going to be a breeding dog that stayed with Jenna as her companion, not her service dog.”
You can just imagine how concerned Jenna – and everyone associated with the RFI organization – is about this dog! An army of concerned citizens has spent countless hours over the past 10 days searching for Latham. Local media has been aiding in the search by issuing updates and reports. A Facebook page, Finding Latham, has been created to keep everyone up-to-date on the search. Generous people have anonymously donated $10,000 as a reward for Latham’s return.
We simply need to expand our search outside of the Iowa borders. Please share this page with friends and family members. Any and all help we can get will be greatly appreciated! If anyone has a lead on an approximately 1-year-old, male Black Labrador please contact 319-493-2046. #BringLathamHome