"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Boys and their dogs...but oh so much more than that

Kens 5 aired a story last night on the 6:00 News, about the Toughest Dog in Texas Event that was planned for today.  Here is the link to the news video.  It captured the heartwarming story of how this event came to be.


But what the news didn't tell or couldn't have known, is that today would end up the coldest, wettest day we've had in a long time, with non-stop rain in the hill country.  It could have been a recipe for disaster.  Dog handlers could have backed out. River Road could have flooded.  People could've decided to stay home, warm and dry.  But that didn't happen.  Instead Ingram ranch employees and family came out in the rain and started cooking barbeque at 4:30 am, Comal County Deputy's set up the tent and tables in the pouring rain, and people came to watch the first ever Toughest Dog in Texas Competition...in the rain.  There were 24 dogs in all, and they came from Police Departments, Sheriff's Departments, Air Force and Marines.  The farthest team came from five hours away! All in the name of Rowan's Foundation, the Rowan Jameson Windham Foundation, which helps chronically ill children and their families, especially while they spend a lot of time in the hospital, like Rowan so often does.

We were all blown away by the support from Ingram Ranch, from the community and from the many branches of law enforcement and the military.  Rowan said "this is another best day ever, I don't want it to stop."  He loved on the dogs, gave them good luck before they took off running, fed them some of his homemade dog treats, and cheered them as they came back across the finish line.  It wasn't just the dogs he was enamored of though.  Their handlers were so kind, encouraging, and inspiring for Rowan.  As you will see from the pictures, it seemed to be a two way street.  They told Rowan how proud they were of him for trying to help other kids even though he is sick so much himself, and he just watched them all in awe as they took of with their gorgeous, strong, brave dogs and led them through the course.  Each handler ran 2.3 miles with their dog through the rugged terrain of the ranch, crossing the river twice and climbing up and descending down a huge cliff .  One dog even ran the course twice! 

I took a lot of pictures, but wish I even took more.  It truly was a great day, despite the rain.  All I kept thinking about as I looked around today was this: there are so many good people in the world,  paying it forward is what it's all about, good begets good, and the circle of giving just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Rowan was blessed by Kidd's Kids, so he raises money to help other kids go Disney too.  Rowan has been blessed by so many during his life long battle, so we started a foundation to help others like him.  And now, all the K9s and their handlers are joining in to help him further that mission.  It does a heart good to see acts of kindness like this.  I pray these pictures and this story bless your day too!

Let's get this race started!

Jake and "King" were the first to run the timed course.
Then dogs took off with their handlers every 10 minutes.

Scott and "Titan" getting some good luck before they run.


Next up was "Nitro", he stopped by for a good luck kiss first too.

"Rex" went fourth, led by Deputy Duane.


Jake and "King" making their way back across the finish line.

Jake laid down, but I think "King" was ready to go again.

Rowan feeding "King" one of his homemade treats after the race.

One by one, well I guess two by two (dog and handler:)
they left and came back,
some running the course in 20 minutes or less,
in the RAIN!

There were K9s from several cities, from the Police Department, Sheriff's Department,
Air Force and Marine.  24 teams in all!

Ingram Ranch employees and family barbequed like champions,
preparing an amazing meal for everyone.

 And just look at these beautiful trophies (donated by Harley Davidson)!


  There was a terrific table of silent auction items, a raffle and door prizes.

 Did I mention the puppies, K9s in training:-) So adorable!



 A HUGE thank you to Mr. Ingram for opening up his 5000 acre ranch for this event!

 Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, the Lackland Airforce Base K9 team told us that they wanted to present Rowan with a gift.

They gave him this perfect stuffed K9 named "Hero".
Rowan later said he was making Hero's middle name Titan:)
So now it's "Hero Titan", and he just keeps hugging him.

They also presented him with this gorgeous Military Working Dog coin.
He wouldn't set it down or put it away for hours.

 The next big surprise came from Sheriff Bob Holder.

As he made Rowan a Junior Deputy.

"Junior Deputy Rowan Windham"


The guys were all so nice to Rowan.  He really looks up to them too. 
These two amazing gentlemen drove 5 hours to compete in the competition,
and promise to be back next year too.

So many of the handlers made sure to bring their dogs to meet Rowan and let him pet them.
He was in Heaven loving on all these dogs in one day.

Sam and his family (from Ingram Ranch) worked so hard to make this event super special
and made Rowan and all of us feel very welcome.
It was a long cold rainy day, and being anemic and a little under the weather,
we did have to let Rowan nap off and on as needed.

But for the most part, he watched on and cheered the men and their dogs
as they left the starting line and crossed the finish line.

This smile says it all...this was definitely "another best day ever!" in Rowan's life.
We can't say thank you enough.
Thank you to Duane and Cindy for organizing this event.
Thank you Mr. Ingram for use of your beautiful ranch.
Thank you to Sam and his family for cooking some great barbeque.
Thank you to all the teams and their dogs who ran in the race.
Thank you to all the volunteers and crew who cooked, set up, cleaned up, and ran the event.
Thank you to everyone who donated goods, services and auction items.
Thank you to Kens 5 for doing the news story about this event.
Thank you to everyone who came out, bid on items, bought raffle tickets, plates & door prize tickets.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all law enforcement and military personnel
not only for what you did today, but more importantly what you do on a daily basis! 

Here is the last picture of Rowan for the day...
asleep in the car on the way home, hugging his new dog "Hero", wearing his Junior Deputy Badge and clutching his military work dog coin.
Today was about boys and their dogs, but it was about oh so much more.
It was about humanity, and charity, and paying it forward.