Entertainment | Education | Family
It begins with a simple Christmas gift. Keith Barnes grew up with Collies. Now it’s time to share that passion and magic with his family, making
Jack the perfect Christmas gift, but things quickly become complicated. Wife Linda volunteers the family’s mischievous Collie as a therapy dog for
returning troops where they meet Dakota Dixon, (DX to his friends). Treated as an outcast on the reservation, his life has been about trying to fit
in. His magical bond with dogs causes him to gravitate to the companionship of his canine friends, often enlisting them in pranks against his
tormentors. For Dakota, relating to his four-legged friends is easier than relating to most humans and certainly more enjoyable. He knows he
belongs somewhere else, yet he craves acceptance and the kind of respect and admiration his grandfather enjoys among his people.
On his 13th birthday, his grandfather, a WW II Marine Corps Veteran, reveals that Dakota carries an unusual gift. As he explains it, “A dog trainer
can teach commands to dogs, but a dog whisperer learns to listen and hear the very spirit of his canine partner.” This connection is bound to
Dakota’s psyche and allows him and his companions to accomplish things neither could alone. A dog whisperer is an honored destiny among his
Native American people, and may only appear once in many generations, but fulfilling his destiny will not be without sacrifice.
Serving in Afghanistan, the pranks continue to provide relief from the stresses of long deployments and land him in front of his superiors on more
than one occasion. After two years of applying, Dakota receives word that he has finally been accepted to an elite tactical K9 training school. His
dream to test his innovative concepts and develop a new breed of intelligent K9s seems within reach until his patrol is ambushed. He loses two
Marines, including his best friend and his beloved German Shepherd. As if survivor’s guilt didn’t weigh on him enough, he must now endure
months of surgery, rehab, and a medical discharge after his life-altering injuries. His biggest challenge lies ahead as he attempts to switch gears
to plan B for his life, only he doesn’t have a plan B. Enter Keith Barnes and his Collie, Jack; turned therapy dog. In a strange twist of fate, Dakota
discovers that Keith authored the martial arts book that inspired his training ideas.
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"To achieve your dreams, you have to leave your comfort zone and never return."
- Kevin Brett: "The Journey to Black Belt"