Garry “Noah” Eubanks has lived many lives, from U.S. Marine sniper to train conductor to cancer survivor. A persistent theme in his life has been his profound love and affinity for dogs. Today, he devotes himself to training, certifying, breeding, and boarding dogs; as Stapleton mom Karyne Clark observes, however, this description does not fully embody Eubanks’ gift. “He’s a dog whisperer,” Clark says.
Working full-time with dogs as he does today is a true calling for Eubanks, but this dream job was decades in the making, the product of multiple hardships, tenacity, and several close calls in the U.S. Marine Corps and in oncologists’ offices.
As a child in Arkansas, his mother one day said that she was going to do laundry and simply never returned. “She was too young,” he observes, noting that he didn’t see her again until he was in high school. After she left, Eubanks lived with extended family; however, years of abuse caused him to erupt in self-defense as a teen and he landed in juvenile detention.
The courts released Eubanks to the custody of the man he now honors with the title of “father.” Though not well-educated, his new father taught him the exacting work of training hunting dogs as well as the veterinary care required to keep canines healthy. “He couldn’t fix my past; he could only help my future,” says Eubanks.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Eubanks enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He turned 18 in boot camp, and about two weeks after completing boot camp, was sent to Beirut, Lebanon. What was supposed to be a benign peacekeeping mission turned into the deadliest attack on Marines since Iwo Jima, as multiple bombings killed hundreds of U.S. Marines and French peacekeepers in 1983. In the USMC, he trained as a sniper, crash crew fireman, and EMT, but he found his vocation in the Military Police, where he was able to work regularly with dogs.
Wounded several times over his 8 years in the USMC, multiple surgeries were not the only legacy of his time in uniform; Eubanks admits that if he’d known as a teen what he knows now of the brutality of combat and its lasting impacts on the soul and psyche, he would not have enlisted. “What I went through, I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
After retiring from the USMC, Eubanks accepted a job with the Union Pacific Railroad, which brought him to Denver. He began assessing and certifying dogs for police and sheriff departments as well as for airports, to ensure that patrol dogs and others met their job qualifications. Denver Sheriff Department veteran Charles English met Eubanks through this work and the two developed a friendship. “He has a unique style of training….he does the dogs like they are his children, and just has a tremendous love and passion for dogs and people.”
A stomach cancer survivor, Eubanks was stunned when in 2012 his doctor told him he had stage IV colon cancer, encouraging him to put his affairs in order. Surviving this latest diagnosis, though, clarified for Eubanks what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He decided to pursue his dream of working with dogs full-time, and opened Semper Fi Kennels to train, breed, board, and care for dogs. Eubanks is not a vet but provides mobile veterinary services including vaccines and deworming.
Karyne Clark found Eubanks through a Facebook post; she now relies on him for her dogs’ care, reflecting on how “super kind and very gentle” he is with her dogs and how he shares insights on diet and canine dental hygiene. When Clark’s family found a rescue dog they wanted as a guard dog, Eubanks advised against the breed they chose due to her kids’ ages. He recommended a Cane Corso, which he trained to be good with kids but protective when needed.
Watching Eubanks firmly but gently command his massive Cane Corso, Harley, with a single word to return to his kennel, it’s clear from the dog’s immediate response that Eubanks is indeed the dog whisperer. To reach Eubanks and Semper Fi Kennels see: http://semperfidogs.com or call 303-908-5883.