Most of my life I grew up never knowing the magic of having a dog. 2013 rolled around and that changed. My partner Christen and I decided to volunteer with Hero Dogs, Inc – an organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs for injured/disabled veterans. After volunteering for a while, one thing led to another and that’s when a yellow Labrador named Calvin came into our lives! Following Christen’s lead, I found myself diving headfirst into a crash course of service dog raising/training! The plan was to raise Calvin from 4 months old all the way to 16 months and then let him go off to “doggie college” at the Hero Dogs HQ for his advanced training, which would eventually lead to his placement with a veteran. Things didn’t exactly work out that way. After raising him for a year we discovered that Calvin had severe allergies. This meant he could no longer be a service dog for a veteran (because of weekly allergy shots). We were devastated. After much thought, we decided it was best for all of us to adopt him. Calvin is now an official part of our family and works as an AKC/Red Cross certified therapy dog! We take him for visits to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Armed Forces Retirement Home in DC. It has been quite the journey! The entire way, Calvin inspired me to write songs about the positive messages HE taught ME! This is how SMDW came to be. Tracks 1-11 are all written from the dog’s perspective. The last song, track 12 is a special lullaby I wrote for Calvin.