WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita veteran wanted to help others and see the world, so he enlisted in the Navy.
Since his time in service, he has continued helping veterans in more ways than one.
If you’ve ever been in the DAV Thrift Store on Douglas, you more than likely know Bob Shelby, who often has his trusty companion by his side.
Shelby serves his fellow veterans in more than just the store, he’s giving many vets the companion they need, so they can go out and live life once again.
“God bless you,” Navy Veteran Bob Shelby said.
Shelby is a familiar and friendly face at the DAV Thrift Store and his best friend Nolea is with him, every step of the way.
Nolea not only puts in work at the store, she is his service dog.
“She has given me my confidence back,” Shelby said.
Nolea has gotten Shelby through some pretty tough times, he said years ago some of the happiest days of his life were spent in the Navy.
“I wanted to serve my country and like the Navy says, be all you can be,” Shelby said.
Shelby did so aboard the U.S.S. America.
“It was the greatest ship I think we’ve ever had. The America was the only iconic aircraft carrier we had, because it had carried our namesake,” Shelby said.
He remembered walking up the gangway and seeing the ship for the very first time.
“It’s a city, it’s not a ship,” Shelby said.
He said it took some time to learn how to navigate the ship.
“I think for the first two weeks I was lost, every time I moved around. It was the biggest thing I had ever been on, in my life,” Shelby said.
The Navy took him all over the world.
“I got to go over into Europe, got to go into the Phillipines, I’m been just about everywhere, been to Afghanistan, Iraq, it’s been a blessing, I miss it,” Shelby said.
He also misses the comradery.
“It’s a brotherhood, it’s a sisterhood, it’s a family,” Shelby said.
That’s why he now stays busy training dogs for his fellow veterans.
“It’s for the people that can’t afford training. It’s for the service members, who can’t afford it,” Shelby said.
He decided to start Awesome Canine Training, after he figured out how expensive it was to get a service dog.
“I want to help. I want to be that person who reaches out and says you know what, you can afford to have, you don’t have to be denied no more. You can have what you need,” Shelby said.
Shelby said training is his true passion.
“It gives us the sense of need, it gives us the sense to go back out and grab our life again,” Shelby said.
That’s why with his faithful furry friend by his side, he’s giving his comrades that same companionship.
“We’ve got each other, no matter what,” Shelby said.
Shelby says when he first looked into getting Nolea certified he was told that she would never make a good service dog, because she had been abused.
He’s been training dogs for decades and says she is the best he’s ever had.
If you are interested in contacting Awesome Canine Training, you can do so at 785-596-5690.
At the DAV Thrift Store, 85 cents of every dollar spent goes directly to veteran services in this area.
You can find the store at 1202 W. Douglas Ave. in Wichita.
You can also call the store at 316-262-4440.