Gatsby, Home Base’s Behavioral Health Facility Dog, is a Yellow Lab/Retriever mix born on September 11, 2015. Gatsby primarily works within the Intensive Clinical Program (ICP), where he actively supports the Veterans and Family Members who come through the two-week program. In addition to his role within the ICP, Gatsby attends community events with the Home Base Veteran Outreach Team, including Adventure Series events.
Though he was born in California, Gatsby was flown across the country at just eight weeks old to be raised by “Puppy Raisers,” John and Maggie Tomlin of Midlothian, Virginia. Gatsby was known as the “life of the party” amongst his littermates. Happy, sweet, and energetic, Gatsby spent his first 20 months of life with the Tomlins. As Puppy Raisers, the Tomlins were responsible for bringing Gatsby to obedience classes, providing him with socialization opportunities, and – of course – giving him lots of love. From the start, Gatsby proved to be easy to train, extremely focused, and eager to please!
Gatsby then moved to Medford, New York, where he attended his next phase of training at Canine Companions for Independence Northeast Training Center. While in training to be a Facility Dog, he learned over 40 commands. He was trained to provide unconditional love and attention to the patients he would eventually be interacting with. While in training, Gatsby proved to be a quick study and was known as an “A+” dog for his quick mastery of new commands. After six months of training, Gatsby was almost ready for his first “job!”
In October 2017, Veteran Outreach Coordinator, Ryan Casavant spent two weeks on the Canine Companions Campus in Long Island, New York, learning all about handling a Facility Dog. Ryan was “matched” with Gatsby, and it proved to be a perfect fit. They spent their time in Long Island getting to know each other and preparing to work – as a team – with Veterans and their Families once back at Home Base.
Gatsby graduated from Canine Companions on November 3rd, 2017. His Puppy Raisers were able to attend the ceremony and “pass the leash” off to Ryan. The team headed back to Boston, where Gatsby was given a few weeks to acclimate before officially joining the team as the Home Base Behavioral Health Facility Dog.
Beginning in early December, Gatsby began reporting for duty each day for work with Home Base ICP patients. When he is not working, he lives with Ryan and his family outside of Boston. He enjoys playing in the snow with Ryan’s other dog, Chance, and is already beloved by the entire Home Base team! Click below to learn more about Gatsby, Canine Companions, and how you can keep up with Gatsby’s work here at Home Base.