God, Violence, Passion, Dogs and Appreciation
GOD placed ignition in my heart and his path for me is clear... My obsession to know, understand, connect and learn about dogs began at an early age, but it’s not at all like a Disney fairy tale.
My father was an extremely abusive and violent alcoholic. My indoctrination into violence, chaos and dysfunction began early, while I was in utero actually. My old man had thrown my mother down a flight of stairs while she was pregnant with me and to say I was born into conflict, puts it mildly. This pattern of behavior continued into my early teens, until my father finally made the choice to face his demons and sober up. I have never had a sip of alcohol in my life and it’s not because of a health kick. I witnessed the devils potion being the fuel to destroy all and my father told me he’d break both my legs if I ever drank, and I most certainly believed him. Some of my earliest memories convinced me that people were dangerous and manipulative, so I found my peace and my escape in working with animals. Horses were my first love, soon after the dogs became my infatuation. They don’t lie and their agendas are clear, if we are listening to them in their native tongue. As bizarre as it sounds, I’m grateful for those traumatic experiences. The light is so much sweeter when you are forced to go through the darkness and I’m actually forever indebted to my father for preparing me for this fallen world.
Getting into Law Enforcement, specifically to work a dog didn’t happen by chance, but by his design. It was a deep calling to blend my passion for dogs and an obligation I felt to protect the innocent. I won’t attempt to paint a false picture about just wanting to help people, I was addicted to the streets. I had a nearly insatiable desire to hunt criminals and bring them to justice, especially with my dog. That passion has only grown since leaving law enforcement and moving to the Knoxville, TN area and training dogs full time.
GOD has put so many incredible dogs in my life but they haven’t been all sugar, some have brought the spice! They’ve all taught me things I am deeply thankful for. Being able to connect GOD’s children with his creatures gives me such an incredible intrinsic reward, in which the limitations of human language impede my expression of gratitude. It would be impossible for me to add up the vast blessings I’ve received because of dogs. The places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen and people I’ve met through dogs I will forever cherish and I will spend my days paying that forward, whenever possible.In those relationships with dogs, GOD has also brought me amazing relationships with some very special people, who’ve had an incredible impact on my life. Wendi Martinez is one of those people, along with her husband Lou. They’re amazing, blessed people, who are devoted to animals and people in their community, while they also own and run a very successful boxing and MMA gym in West Palm Beach FL. Naturally, we connected through dogs, via a mutual friend. Wendi had rescued an American Pitbull Terrier named “Lobo” from dire straits and they developed an unbreakable bond. Lobo was what most people would consider, a dangerous dog. Those rules did not apply to Wendi and her relationship with Lobo. Later in Lobos life, she became a bit senile and began to hold Lou hostage in the house. We have a laugh about it now, but I’m sure Lou didn’t think it was funny at the time, as she was a very powerful dog, with an intimidating aura.
Very early on in my friendship with Wendi, I learned that her and Lou had not had a vacation in very long time because of their commitment to their animals, especially because they were unable to find someone they trust and was qualified to handle Lobo. Wendy felt confident in my ability and entrusted me to take Lobo, which allowed them to go on vacation with peace of mind. Sadly, Lobo passed almost 2 years ago, and it’s left a void in Wendi’s heart which can’t be fulfilled.
It wasn’t long after this vacation, I needed to lean on Wendi and Lou, they reciprocated without hesitation. My marriage to my ex wife was rapidly deteriorating and I needed out of my living situation immediately. I tossed whatever necessities I could quickly grab into my gym bag, grabbed my K9 partner “Bosko” and bailed. I got into my police car and called Wendi. In an eye blink she had a solution, advising me to come by the gym, grab her gate clicker and house key, so I could crash at her place indefinitely. Wendi and Lou have been there for me on so many occasions, especially as of late due to all my legal battles in Florida, which are now all behind me. I’ve been searching for a way to express my deepest gratitude to them.
The answer hit me like a ton of bricks! Over the last year or so, I’ve been captivated by Artwork by Allie Raines . I have an immense appreciation for artists because as a child, I witnessed my brother Brad Rigney also possessing this incredible gift. The Holy Spirit is the producer of blessings and he for sure lives within Allie Raines . GOD reveals himself and his gifts, through her hands, which memorialize our beloved dogs eternally through her work. So lifelike, she seems to resurrect dogs on her canvas that have passed on, keeping them alive in this realm, not just in our thoughts and hearts. Watching her document the progression is mind blowing to me! Several weeks ago, I reached out to Allie and asked her to please work her magic for a very special person, who owned a very special dog. She produced this incredible piece that I can’t wait to hand deliver to Wendi. Not so coincidentally, because that’s how our father works, Allie is currently in FL and I will be heading down there next week. She can pass the torch to me on my way to FL from TN and I can make this very special delivery in person.
GLORY BE TO GOD.....