Surf Dog Lessons for Soldier’s Dog – Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon | Helen Woodward Animal Center

Surfing Dog Lessons for a Soldier’s Dog

Helen Woodward Animal Center Surf Lessons Train Airman’s Pup for Surfing Surprise!

On Saturday, July 28, Helen Woodward Animal Center is continuing the highly-anticipated Dog Surfing Lessons (July 28, August 11, 18 and 25), to prep beach-loving pups for the Center’s Annual “Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon.”  The September surf competition is not only the largest of its kind in the country; but this year, it also features a very special canine competitor whose owner has dedicated his life to the country. ABH Airman, Tyler Silvestri is in for a big surprise when he returns to his beloved dog Stella. Silvestri’s mother will have taught the dog to surf!

Silvestri’s mother, Jan Marshall, clearly remembers the day her son brought his puppy home.  “He told me he had picked her up because he was afraid I would be lonely when he went off to boot camp,” said Marshall, “but he couldn’t fool me.  That dog had Tyler’s heart the minute he laid his eyes on her.

Silvestri named the tiny brown and white Boxer Terrier-blend, Stella, and made no secret of his affections for her.   The soldier traveled to boot camp in Pensacola, Florida, and journeyed as far away as Hong Kong and the Persian Gulf during his Deployment last November, but when his company was given the opportunity to give individual, live-video “shout-outs” to their family members at home, Silvestri’s went to Stella.  “He said he couldn’t wait to come home and give her a big, fat, juicy steak,” said Marshall.  “I didn’t care who his shout-out went to.  I was just so thrilled to see his face.”

The shout-out gave Silvestri’s mother an idea.  “Stella makes Tyler so happy.  Why not train her to do something special?”  Marshall, who lives in Silvestri’s hometown of Glendale, California, heard about Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon and Surfing Dog Lessons through an old high school friend who volunteers at the event each year.  “Stella is practically a gymnast!” laughed Marshall.  “She can do flips!  I feel pretty certain she’ll be able to pick up surfing.”  Marshall will find out for sure when she and Stella attend July’s dog surfing lesson.

The surfing dog lessons are taught by Kahuna Bob’s Surf School and Pet Expert Rob Kuty, from San Diego Pet Training, and cost $45 per dog (one adult per dog), including the required life vests and surf boards.  Each clinic is limited to 25 dogs per class and runs about an hour in length.  Dogs who take to the waves are encouraged to register for Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 7th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon on Sept. 9, 2012.  All proceeds from the classes and the annual competition go towards the animals and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Helen Woodward Animal Center invites Southern California dogs to try their paws at hanging ten at the Helen Woodward Animal Center Dog Surfing Lessons. You may even see ABH Airman Silvestri’s dog Stella there! To Americans everywhere, the soldier, now stationed on the USS Carl Vinson in Coronado, is a dedicated hero. To his beloved canine, perfecting her surf stance in tribute, Silvestri is the world.

Stella when she was a puppy!


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