CALEXICO — Chris Jimenez, a K-9 trainer and Calexican, didn’t always envision a life dedicated to saving lives, especially not those of rhinos in Africa. Reflecting on his journey, Chris recalled his rebellious teenage years.
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“I played football, ran track, threw parties. I got into a lot of trouble, a lot of drinking and fighting. My dad said I need to leave Calexico, I joined the Army and that started everything for me.”
From airborne infantry to government contracting, Chris found himself in a world vastly different from the one he left behind in Calexico.
“It’s not something anyone saw in my cards, I used to wear Hollister, pop my collar, I was a fresita. But once I started to see the world it changed everything.”
A pivotal moment occurred when he saw a working dog in action.
“In war you see so much chaos and violence, in the midst of all that I see a dog handler play fetch. It’s so pure to see that in the middle of war. That sparked something in me,” Chris said.
He immersed himself in studying and training dogs, dedicating the next years to this newfound passion. Witnessing the harsh realities of war and poverty, Chris felt a deep responsibility not to contribute to the world’s problems.
“I wanted to help the world become a better place with a wagging tail.”
Chris ventured into search-and-rescue operations, detecting human remains, narcotics, and even anti-poaching efforts for rhinos in Africa. His approach, emphasizing punishment-free methods, set him apart.
Recognizing he needed a change, Chris returned to Calexico with Xsusha, one of the 50 dogs he rescued from the Ukraine during his time there. Upon his return he shared a powerful message: there’s more to life than the narrow confines of Calexico. Drawing from his experiences, he urged patience, advising against rash decisions that hinder future opportunities.
Chris’s vision for Calexico includes a pilot program using dogs to engage the community positively. He advocates for expanding horizons through education, exploration, and cultural events.
In essence, Chris Jimenez’s story is a testament to transformation. From a troubled teenager in Calexico to a global K-9 trainer, his journey underscores the potential for change and growth when one embraces a broader perspective on life.
This story was shared with the Calexico Chronicle by MiCalexico.