Small and Mighty

  • Published
  • By A1C Jessica Blocher
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

One special member of the Columbus Air Force Base Chapel Team has a problem with keeping his hair within regulations and can frequently be spotted sleeping on the job, however he has been permitted to continue his very important role as Monk the therapy dog. 

The 14th Flying Training Wing Chapel Team enhances unity among Airmen while prioritizing taking care of the community. 

The Chapel Corps unit is designed to provide faith opportunities, confidentiality, and personal guidance. They support the free exercise of religion for all Airmen, their families, and personnel.  

Monk assists the Chapel Team in unit engagement as well as providing comfort to Airmen and Guardians as the Chaplains facilitate guidance when Airmen need help with difficult conversations. 

“When we have someone walk in with a crisis or in need of our pastoral counseling skills, he works alongside me and can also work alongside any chaplain who wants to work with him,” said Lt Col. Kristi Hopp, 14th Flying Training Wing Head Chaplain. “His job is to offer comfort, care and joy to anyone he meets.” 

Monk’s certification and qualifications came from his training with his owner Hopp and he achieved his license as a therapy dog as well as his Public Access Test Certification. 

While this is Monk’s first time working full time on an Air Force base, he is very familiar with the requirements of the job after serving 5,000 hours as a therapy dog during Hopp’s counseling career. 

Hopp encourages other bases to consider a therapy dog as part of the unit outreach initiatives under the Chaplain Next 2.0 Strategic Plan.  The current number of unit visits has increased by 75% with Monk’s assistance. Monk has engaged with 2.2 thousand Airmen during unit engagements as well as providing therapeutic support during more than 11 counseling sessions. 

Deputy Wing Chaplain Carlos Ramosgraulau explained that Monk assists chaplains by being a comfort to everyone he encounters. He went on to explain that Monk is extremely gifted in sensing who needs him the most in a room full of people. 

“I believe the secret to training a therapy dog is that you love on them as the handler as much as possible because you want them to share that love with everyone they come in contact with,” said Hopp. “I believe if I show absolute admiration and regard to Monk, he will in turn express that to everyone around him which helps us execute our missions because he is inspiring readiness.” 

To schedule a unit visit, contact the Chapel Team by phone at 662-434-2500 or by email at to submit your request.