When I decided to retire from law enforcement, I knew I needed to share my experiences as a K-9 handler with others. As cliche as it sounds, dogs really are man’s best friend, and no one knows that’s true more than police K-9 handlers. They’re with you every moment of every day, you rely on them, and they rely on you. And just like your brothers and sisters in the line of duty, that dog has your back. There is such a strong bond between K-9 units and their handlers, and I knew I could help people build strong bonds with their own dogs.
So, I decided my next adventure was starting Florida K9 Unleashed. And this choice led me to another exciting opportunity: I bought an RV. I wanted to provide a service that was convenient for clients by visiting them where they lived. Plus, the main thing that drew me towards an RV was my own beloved dogs. I never imagined getting an RV, but soon enough I was packing up my Jayco Swift camper van and on my way to see clients and their dogs.
Fortunately, I have two co-pilots: a service dog named Archer and a German Shepard named Falco. The thought of traveling with both of them was both exciting and daunting. Air travel with pets can be stressful, and there are so many factors to consider – packing their food, ensuring enough space on the plane and arranging bathroom breaks. I wanted to make our adventures were comfortable and stress-free, and an RV seemed like the perfect solution.
Having my van has been a game-changer in my life, not just for travel but also for my job. Being so mobile has allowed me to connect with more people and attend events with ease and frequency. I feel incredibly lucky because my job doesn’t even feel like work. I get to travel and do what I love, and by sharing my experiences with others, I hope to inspire them to live a more meaningful life, too.
When it comes to dog training, I’ve learned that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a constantly evolving process, and different trainers may have different methods that work for them and their dogs. The key is to keep an open mind and find the right approach for each individual dog’s abilities. If a unique approach works and there’s evidence of its effectiveness, then there’s no reason to dismiss it just because it’s different from what you know.
My relationship with Falco and Archer is truly special. Falco has been my loyal K9 partner since my days on the Florida FEMA task force. We’ve been through so much together, and I cherish our unique bond. Watching him age is tough, but I feel honored to take care of him during his senior years. Archer, my service dog, came into my life after I retired from law enforcement and was struggling with PTSD and the aftermath of a serious injury. He has been a life-changer, not only providing emotional support but also helping me sleep better. He’s taught me patience and has been the source of many new adventures that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
Overall, training dogs from the comfort of my RV has enriched my life in countless ways. It has given me the freedom to explore, connect with others, and share unforgettable experiences with my two faithful companions. Our van is not just a vehicle; it’s a vessel of memories, laughter, and boundless love.
About the author: Aaron Tucker is a retired firefighter paramedic, police officer, tactical medic, and cadaver K9 handler with two decades of real-world experience. He is the founder of Florida K9 Unleashed, a dog training business that focuses on building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Wherever Aaron goes, you can always find him with his two most loyal companions: a sweet German Shepherd named Falco and spunky Belgian Malinois named Archer.