After losing his beloved wife Betty to cancer four years ago, U.S. Marine Rhea Hambright found life on the family farm to be challenging. Daily tasks were nearly impossible to do on this own. He was lonely, frustrated and for the first time in his life, didn’t know how to fix things.
A friend suggested Rhea get a Service Dog. Then everything changed.
An Instant Connection
Rhea got in touch with SDI and applied for a dog. SDI accepted him. A few months later, Rhea traveled to the SDI campus to meet several potential dog matches. The first dog he met was Beatrice. The connection was intense and instantaneous. Rhea calls it one of the greatest moments of his life.
A Brand New Life
Now, with Beatrice at his side, Rhea is back in the driver’s seat in life. Beatrice fetches bottled water from the fridge**,** helps with laundry, opens doors, picks up dropped items, retrieves medication, and helps Rhea to tug off clothing at night.
But the biggest thing Rhea has found with Beatrice? The company. Beatrice is his best friend, a constant presence, and provides joy when things are tough. She has motivated Rhea to start traveling again, visiting new places and seeing old friends, plus to make new ones when strangers approach to compliment Rhea on his beautiful Service Dog.
A Twist in the Story
Although Rhea and Beatrice have been inseparable for a year, one of the most amazing parts of their story happened at the very beginning. Rhea told us, “When I first got Beatrice, I mentioned to one of the trainers that Beatrice is a long name for a dog. She replied, ‘We don’t call her Beatrice, we call her Bea.’ My eyes welled up and I was moved very deeply. My wife had just passed and her name was Betty. Three guesses as to what I used to call her? That’s right - Bea.”