A passion for how dogs can change your life leads Mississippi man on a mission


Written by: Phil Monahan


Davis Hawn with Booster (right), the dog he credits with saving him from despair, and Fidelity, a mixed-breed he found on the streets of Cuba and which he is training to be an assistance dog.

photo by Ellis Lucia / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE

A great story by Sheila Stroup in today’s New Orleans Times-Picayune describes the journey of Davis Hawn from down-and-out to a man with a mission. It was a yellow-lab puppy named Booster who helped turn Hawn’s life around after a brutal assault and robbery had left him physically and emotionally scarred. Having experienced the astonishing therapeutic effects a dog’s love can have on a person who is struggling, Hawn has focused his energies on his “passion to show other people how a dog can change your life.” Last year, he founded Project Fidelity, an organization dedicated to bringing the concept of assistance dogs to Cuba.

In March, though he had no idea how he and his 100-pound yellow Lab would be received, he packed his bags and the stuffed toys Booster likes to carry around, and they flew to Havana by way of Nassau. As soon as they arrived at Jose Marti International Airport, a veterinarian took care of the necessary paperwork, and the people who were fostering Booster had a taxi waiting.

“As soon as I met them, I knew I could trust them with my most precious asset,” Hawn says.

During the tour, Hawn asked endless questions and learned everything he could about Cuban culture, and he was charmed by the warmth and pride of the people he met. But the three weeks he and Booster traveled together were the most memorable.

“Booster was the perfect ambassador,” Hawn says. “Everywhere we went, he gathered a crowd.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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