Graduate Testimonies

Tackling PTSD
As an organization regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we will focus on training the dog to do specific tasks that will mitigate the Veteran’s diagnosed symptoms.

50

%

Avg. Symptom Reduction

143

Graduate Teams
Lasting Impact
We encourage and welcome any and all involvement from the Veteran’s family and friends. Throughout all three phases, the Veteran will be assisted by a Veteran Advocate for support and encouragement.

TESTIMONIALS FROM

Graduate Teams

Trent & Sam

Their Story

After experiencing symptoms of PTSD after serving in the Air Force, I was struggling with a lack of desire to go out, and I recognized a change was needed. Any unknown is scary, so I was nervous about starting the program, but I was also determined and hopeful. My dog Sam, a 6 month old Sheepadoodle, was excited and easily distracted at the beginning of training, but has calmed down and performed well going through the program. For example, Sam was initially scared of the agility equipment, but during one class he climbed up on the donut, and he never looked back or was scared of anything new presented in class. That was similar to my own experience as well.

Matt & Pippi

Their Story

My name is Matt and I served in Military Intelligence for the Army from 1998-2020. I had tours in Kosovo, Iraq, and several in Afghanistan. After seeing the impact service dogs had on the lives of my friends who have them, I felt the SD4V program would help me to combat the anxiety I felt while in crowds or speaking in public, and eliminate the need for me to sit facing the door in a restaurant. Cassidy rescued the perfect dog for me, a one year old Labradoodle I named ‘Pippi’.

DeShawn & Sasha

Their Story

My name is Deshawn and I served as a Cargo Specialist in the Army from 2007-2011 and was deployed to Afghanistan/Kabul/Kuwait and Russia during my service. I learned about SD4V from the sign at the end of the road by the Training Center. Initially I was scared and nervous to begin the program, but also ready to take on a new challenge to get help for my disability. I was unsure if the program would help; however, it has been a life-changing experience, and I am proud of my accomplishments.

Clay & Lucky

Their Story

My name is Clay and I served as a Nuclear Weapons Technician in the Navy from 1960-1966. I learned about the SD4V training program from conversations with graduates Gary and Steve. In spite of my initial concern regarding the length of the training, and uncertainty about how I would be involved, I was pleasantly surprised. My 2yr old rescue Labradoodle ‘Lucky’ and I enjoyed the training, and it went quickly. I was surprised at how many different exercises and tasks Lucky and I learned. Also it was nice seeing how well all the dogs in my class got along.

Michael & Wednesday

Their Story

I served in the US Army from 2005 through 2009, stationed at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and assigned to the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe (SACEUR) communications team, 128th Signal Company.

Elissa & Pablo

Their Story

It was my VA counselor who first suggested that Service Dogs for Veterans and a dog would be helpful to me. I adopted a Chihuahua/Pekingese puppy from a breeder, named him Pablo, and just like a puppy he was all over the place.

Justin & Heimdallr

Their Story

As college courses I was taking became increasingly difficult, I realized that having a service dog was the only way I could continue, and “the SD4V program represented the opportunity to be a normal person again”.

Caleb & Anela

Their Story

Another SD4V graduate told me about the program and got me interested in joining. Now that Anela and I are a graduated Service Dog team, I am just as excited as I was when we first began training. Anela is a 1-1/2-year-old German Shepherd rescue.

Eric & Baron

Their Story

The VA had pushed medications as the answer for me, but I knew that was not what I wanted. After another Marine told me about SD4V, I got excited when I checked the website and found what could be the answer for me.

Sarah & Lucy

Their Story

When I started training at SD4V my main concern was whether my rescue dog Lucy, a 2 year old Lab Golden mix, could learn to be a Service Dog since she’d been a happy-go-lucky family pet for most of her life. That concern was eliminated when Lucy learned the focus exercises taught in classes.

Chase & Rex

Their Story

My wife and a friend encouraged me to look into getting a service dog, then my therapist referred me to SD4V. After my intake call with Cassidy, she went to work looking for a rescue dog for me. When she sent me the video of Rex, I knew I had found my future service dog!

Jamie & Duke

Their Story

At first, I found a service dog training organization in Florida because my family believed that getting a service dog would help me. But once I discovered I would need to spend a significant amount of time there, away from home, I realized my job prohibited that option.

Ashley & Koda

Their Story

Although I had originally acquired my dog Koda as a companion for my son, I recognized how much having a dog helped him. Then my husband saw a SD4V sign and encouraged me to check it out. For a couple months I experienced constant anxiety because I didn’t think Koda could do it. But getting through the first few months of training was key.

Cassidy & Poe

Their Story

After I relocated within the SD4V service area, I was allowed to apply and be accepted into the program. It was then that my husband and I knew the past struggles to obtain a Service Dog were over.

Andrew & Moses

Their Story

I’m Andrew Shaw, a US Marine Veteran of almost 8 years with a deployment to Afghanistan. My MOS was Engineer Equipment Operator. I give full credit to my wife for doing the research that led us to SD4V. We already had our dog named Moses, a 1-1/2 year-old Bernedoodle, and knowing we could do more to train him to be my Service Dog was something I was really looking forward to doing.

Ryan & Lilly

Their Story

During a presentation last year at the American Legion Post 3 in Greenville by Bill and graduate Mel Kahue, I learned about SD4V. Following that meeting, I discovered what else I needed to know through their website. www.sd4v.org What made me serious about applying was learning that the Veteran trains their own dog. I already have a 1-1/2yr old English Cocker Spaniel named Lilly I wanted to train.

Kurt & Atlas

Their Story

I met Bill when he spoke at our American Legion Post in Greenville. I learned SD4V could find the perfect rescue dog for me and receive training. After applying and being accepted, Jacquie Myers contacted me. Jacquie is a Marine Veteran, SD4V graduate herself, and an adoption specialist with SD4V.

Jason & Ace

Their Story

After I got my new German Shepherd puppy named Ace, I credit my wife Melissa for discovering SD4V. I was excited to think about how learning to train Ace myself would create a special bond that wouldn’t have been possible if someone else were to train him.

Howard & Chaplin

Their Story

I was inspired to check out the SD4V website when I saw the changes in my son who is also a Veteran and training his dog with SD4V. I then contacted Bill. At first, I was not sure about joining my 4yr old rescue lab named Chaplin, but he was so encouraging that I decided to give it a try.

Larry & Bently

Their Story

An associate at the VA told me about SD4V, but for a while, I dragged my feet about contacting Bill until I decided I needed to do something about my PTSD which was causing more problems. After finally talking with Bill and learning that I could take my dog Bentley through the program, “I ended the call feeling wanted”.

Michael & Sam

Their Story

While working with Wounded Warriors I learned about SD4V. After checking out the website, I contacted Bill who explained what the outcome of the program could be. Once I started, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how organized and professional it was. Coming out of the military where structure and organization are a given, I appreciated those aspects and found it to be exactly what I needed.

Steve & Luke

Their Story

In 2019 my rescue Lab mix ‘Barrett’ and I graduated from SD4V as a Service Dog team, and my life greatly improved. After Barrett’s recent death, my grandson saw my need for another dog and brought a one-year-old Australian Shepherd to me.

Gary & Peppy

Their Story

Recently I completed a second round of Service Dog training at SD4V with my rescue dog Peppy. I needed a refresher myself, and my buddy Steve was also going through a second time with his new dog Luke, and I wanted to be there with them.

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