A Canby man and his beloved dog are hitting the road next week on a cross-country bicycle ride to raise money and awareness for a veterans organization dedicated to providing service canines to wounded warriors who need them. The journey will take them over three months.
It sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie, right? Well, Hollywood, if you’re interested, back off. We heard about it first.
John Tate is cofounder of Better Homes and Garden Realty Partners in Canby. That’s where his journey will begin at 9:30 a.m. April 10, as he sets off on a trip that will take him and his four-legged friend, pedal by pedal, more than 3,500 miles to a destination just south of Jacksonville, Florida.
While John does all the easy stuff — pedaling up hills, navigating traffic, riding a bicycle the long way across an extremely large country, etc. — Jax will have the much tougher job of rear security detail. He’ll spend most of the trip in a cloth bike trailer that I’m pretty sure was originally designed to hold small children. Jax has been specially trained to sit in it and is very comfortable with the arrangement, John assures me.
You may think that his dog, Jax, is tagging along because of the tie-in with the nonprofit they’re raising money for: K9s for Warriors. Obviously, if you’re promoting a canine-centric organization, you want to a have a dog with you. That’s just good marketing.
But John says it’s deeper than that.
Jax, a German Shorthaired Pointer, has accompanied John on many chukar hunting trips to eastern Oregon, so he’s familiar with the camping lifestyle and the bike trailer that will be his primary residence for the next three months. “He’s a good tentmate,” John says.
Although an avid outdoorsman and hunter, John admits he’s never done anything like this before. He’s excited for the challenge and the new experiences the open road will undoubtedly provide. There is some fear of the unknown, of course, as there would be for anybody, but there’s one big thing that helps him through it.
K9s for Warriors does incredible work. They rescue, train and match unadopted shelter dogs with veterans and service members experiencing PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma. Their goal is to empower them to return to civilian life with dignity and independence, and they’re the largest provider of service animals to disabled American veterans in the country.
The organization also provides those they serve with training, certification, seminars, legal instruction, housing and a lifetime of wrap-around services (including lifelong healthcare for their dogs) — all at no cost to the veteran or service member.
The new owners of Better Home and Gardens Realty, Debra Nolen and Danielle Bade, have announced that BHG will match any donation to K9s for Warriors that is made because of John’s trip, up to a total of $5,000. If you’d like to donate to the cause, you can do that here. All funds go directly to K9s for Warriors.