Dogs are Raiders’ best friends

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Companionship comes in different forms, whether it’s being in a relationship, being friends, or having a pet. For many people, dogs are a great source of happiness and companionship. They provide love, comfort, and lifelong loyalty to owners who treat them as part of their family.

Hailie Fontes, a senior here at the Islands, has her hands full with three chihuahuas: Jets, Doobie, and Skippy.

“They always bark at everything and get into fights with each other because Jets gets jealous over the other two,” said Fontes when asked how the dogs act daily.

Doobie, the oldest out of the three, used to run away often and was always picked up by the pound, where Hailie and her father would have to pick him up.

“Now that he’s getting older, he’s mellowed out,” Fontes said.

While Fontes loves all her dogs, she finds the most loveable to be Jets, who is the youngest of the three and the most mischievous. “He always has his eye on my bunny and tries to mess with it,” Fontes said, “but he knows not to. And one time, he got out and chased to mailman and nibbled at his ankle.”

Not too long ago, Tyler Cammack and Bentley joined the Raider family, with Mr. Cammack as a teacher and Bentley as our resident therapy dog, who helps students calm down during a bad day, improve conversational skills, and overcome their fear of animals.

This dynamic duo started eight years ago when Mr. Cammack adopted Bentley – a mix of a Labrador and poodle – from a rescue when he was about a year old on Valentine’s Day.
Initially Mr. Cammack wanted to get a pet dog for his two daughters, who were very young at the time, but his wife disagreed.

“My wife joked around, saying, ‘If you get a dog, you need to train it to be productive, and if not, then I want a tax break from it,’” Mr. Cammack said.

To become a therapy dog, Bentley had to complete one year of obedience training. After obtaining his certificate, Bentley then had to put in hours of volunteer work to become a therapy dog.

Bentley completed his hours with Love on A Leash and is currently putting in his hours for continued education by coming here to CI with Mr. Cammack.

Over the years, the duo has received positive feedback from many families.

“When I worked at Hueneme, parents told me that they couldn’t take their child on walks in communities because if their child saw a dog, they would run into the streets,” Mr. Cammack said.

“Now those students are able to go on walks around their communities, and one student was even able to get a pet dog all because they have been exposed to Bentley and they know that not all dogs are bad.”

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