When Jen saw how helpful service dog Marla was for our veteran & graduate Tim Jackson, she was inspired to contact SD4V because she needed that same help for herself. SD4V’s adoption team of Ann Goodheart and Linda Williams vetted owner surrender Addie and thought it would be a perfect match for Jen's lifestyle and training needs. Right they were. When they met, the connection between Jen & Addie was immediate.
Jen served our country for 6-1/2 years in the United States Marine Corp as a Helicopter Mechanic/ Maintenance Controller, with deployments that included Afghanistan. Adjusting to civilian life after service has been difficult. According to Jen, Addie has turned her life around. Before Addie, she felt isolated and stressed, to the point that she didn’t go anywhere. Without Addie, Jen said she would have continued the “cycle of not living.”
With Addie as her Service Dog, life has completely changed for the better. Gong out is not the daunting exercise it had been. Addy is trained to do 4 ADA Tasks that make all the difference when Jen gets stressed. As a result of loyal Addie and the training, Jen has seen a significant reduction in her PTSD symptoms and the need for her anxiety meds. Jen said she was most surprised with the support she received in the program. The love shown by the trainers and SD4V volunteers was a big factor in enjoying training.
Sidney began his military service in June 1986 when he joined the United States Air Force. His career spanned 21 years as a Civil Engineer and it included five deployments including the Middle East before he retired in 2007 as an E-7.
Sidney credits Tank and SD4V for his improved health, because Tank gets him out of the house. They routinely walk five miles a day, exercise that has helped Sidney recover from knee surgery and also helped to reduce his medication. Sidney was most surprised at how smoothly the training went, and he attributed that to the quality of the SD4V trainers.
Sidney’s hope for SD4V is that it expands further throughout South Carolina and perhaps become a model for other states. He spoke of his Veteran friends in other states whose lives could be much improved if offered the same program. Quoting him: “because other Veterans are dealing with demons without the help a trained dog can be.”
Meet Jacquie Myers and her Service Dog, Moe. On advice from her VA councilor that she consider getting a service dog, Jacquie and her family found the perfect dog to train in Moe at the Oconee Humane Society. Jacquie would tell you that before Moe, she was not a “dog person.” Meeting Moe changed all of that.
Jacquie served 7-1/2 years as a Corporal in the Marine Corps; overseas deployments included the Persian Gulf War.
When asked to describe the impact of having Moe as her Service Dog, Jacquie said the first word that comes to mind: Peace! Not only did she achieve a 55% reduction in her life limiting symptoms, she’s able to go out and enjoy life, feeling so much more at ease and comfortable. Because her family was encouraged to come to classes with her, Jacquie feels that the family is now closer. Moe bonded with the entire family beautifully
And a side benefit of the SD4V training was the camaraderie among the Veterans in the program. They bonded because they understood each other. Jacquie especially appreciated the training team that worked with her and Moe. She thanked the trainers for their feedback and suggestions that were always so positive & helpful. And given the needs of the Veterans, Jacquie knows how important a positive approach and encouragement can be.
Meet Barbara Melton and her Service Dog, Duchess. Barbara‘s service to her country spanned thirteen years. As a Sergeant in the Army National Guard, she was deployed to Iraq twice.
Relaxation is the word Barbara used to describe what having Duchess at her side as a trained Service Dog means to her. She can now go out in public and relax. Before Duchess, she was always looking over her shoulder. Now, Duchess does that for her, so she can relax and enjoy herself in public. Barbara said others can’t imagine the difference in her life that resulted from the training. She achieved a 34% reduction in her life limiting symptoms and has significantly reduced her anxiety medication. Barbara can see the amazing impact of Duchess and the training has had in her life.
So, what’s next for this ADA-compliant Service Dog Team? Barbara and Duchess are now ready to tackle flying to Michigan in May. She has anxiety attacks at airports and just being out in public since her service in Iraq, so this will truly be a test for them. With Duchess at her side, Barbara is ready to fly again!
A US Marine Corp Veteran, with 16 years of service, Bruce experienced multiple deployments in Desert Storm and Mogadishu, in artillery and intelligence roles, and left the Marines as a Major (O-3).
Bruce and Haley officially became an ADA compliant Service Dog Team on March 29, 2019, but Bruce said from day one they had an incredible connection and it felt like they were an instant team! Haley is a rescue from Greenville Animal Care. Upon completing the 7 month program with Haley, Bruce also achieved a 69% reduction in his life limiting symptoms, and a corresponding reduction in his medication and scheduled trips to his therapist.
Bruce says the SD4V program gave Haley lots of amazing skills to help him in time of need, and gave him the skills to keep the training going after graduation. It also gave him the opportunity to develop a new network of friendships with other Veterans he really appreciated
From the day when Haley arrived, the two of them have been inseparable. There’s no stopping them now. Bruce said having Haley has given him a new beginning. She’s given him balance in his life, and now he wants to give back by helping other Veterans.
Steve served 6 years in the US Navy as an E-5 Boiler Technician with multiple deployments in the North Atlantic. He is pictured with his lab mix Barrett, who was adopted from Greenville County Animal Care. Not only did Steve graduate with an ADA compliant service dog, he also achieved a 28% reduction in his life limiting symptoms over the course of his 7 months of training. (Measured by the PCL-5 self-assessment before and after training) He also reports he now needs no medications and is focusing on taking vitamins and living a healthy lifestyle.
Initially Steve did not have a dog, and as a way to help alleviate his own symptoms, he volunteered to be Veteran Advocate to a wheelchair bound US Marine Veteran who was in the program training his dog. It was while volunteering that he became aware of a dog named Barrett that needed a home. Upon meeting him, it was a match made in heaven! When Steve began the program training Barrett, his experience exceeded anything he could have hoped.
He says the SD4V program with Barrett has completely changed his life, and that having this amazing dog is one of the best things that ever happened to him! Not only has the program given him Barrett, but now Steve has a newfound way to connect and help other veterans going through the program. Steve encourages other Military Veterans considering the training to “Go for it!”
Left -US Army Veteran Brian Roper and his one year old Mastiff mix Tank that was adopted by SD4V for Brian.
Brian served 4 years as an E-4 Infantry Sniper with 4 deployments to Afghanistan.
Upon graduating as an ADA compliant Service Dog Team, he achieved a 50% reduction in his life limiting PTSD symptoms as measured by the PCL-5 self-assessment questionnaire. Brian is married with two preschool children
Right – US Navy Veteran Jeremy Baker and his one year old lab Chloe.
Jeremy served 20 years as an E-8 Explosive Ordinance Disposal Specialist, with 8 deployments to Europe and the Middle East.
Jeremy reported a 60% reduction in his life limiting PTSD symptoms,
and he is married with two teenage children
Joe served 4 years active duty with the US Marine Corp and 9 years with the South Carolina National Guard, and was deployed to the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
With Trigger, a 1 year-old Blue Heeler, and the completion of the Service Dog training program, Joe reports a 38% reduction in his life-limiting symptoms, (Using the PCL-5 self-assessment before and after training.)
Now that he and Trigger have graduated, the first word that comes to mind for Joe is accomplishment. “To see Trigger working with purpose and focus, and see how excited he is doing it, is everything I’d hoped for!.”
This accomplishment is all the more significant because Joe initially had concerns about whether Trigger would be trainable. But as Joe said: “The high training standards and coaching transformed both Trigger and me as his handler into an awesome team.” Clearly Trigger’s success is Joe’s success.
Joe’s appreciation for the service dog training program extends beyond the wonderful relationship he and Trigger share. Now he’s looking forward to encouraging other organizations that support veterans to incorporate service dogs into their activities.
Tom Hafemann with his 2 year-old Lab mix Jetta whom he and wife Susie adopted from the Greenville Animal Care shelter. Together, he and Susie took Jetta from being a sociable stray to a focused and reliable service buddy.
Tom is a 4 year Navy Veteran and served 2 deployments aboard the Ohio Class Ballistic Missile Submarine USS Nevada as a Sonar Technician 3rd class. Tom achieved a 5% reduction in his symptoms as a result of having Jetta and going through the program
About his and Jetta’s training accomplishments, Tom says: “I know that Jetta and I have prepared well. What’s going to help is knowing that Jetta is there for me and that it’s okay to not be okay. I can get a little anxious and reserved. But now Jetta senses my stress and gets me out of it by doing one of her 5 trained ADA Tasks, usually on her own without a command. Now it’s time to go live; we’re ready to go!”
William Kennedy with his 2 yr. old Standard Poodle 'Blue'. Blue was purchased as a family pet but circumstances required a change in plans and he's now an ADA compliant Service Dog!
William is a US Army Veteran with 8 years' service as an E-5 Combat Engineer, including one combat deployment to Iraq. He reports a 41% reduction in his symptoms (using the PCL-5 self-assessment before and after training) and now needs fewer medications.
"I can do things I couldn’t do before: go to concerts, be in crowds. Now, I can help my wife rather than rely on her to help me. Now I have Blue to help me and to rely on. He is totally in tune with me.
The camaraderie with the other vets was a big plus. I never felt alone. Lots of support from beginning to end. Top-notch program. I'd do it again in a minute!"
Jerry Murphy with 1-1/2yr old Nala. Jerry adopted Nala from the Greenville Animal Care shelter to be his future service dog.
Jerry is a US Marine Veteran. He served 3-1/2yr. with 2 combat deployments to Iraq as a Combat Correspondent. In addition to his service dog he graduated with a 54% reduction in his life limiting symptoms. (Using the PCL-5 self-assessment before and after training)
“The biggest highlight of the program for me was seeing the transformation of Nala. She went from wild to well-trained, from being extremely sociable to being extremely disciplined. After I left the service, I was always looking over my shoulder. Now, Nala does it for me. I’m normal again and it’s incredibly freeing. I’d say to any Veteran that needs a service dog - Do it! It’ll change your life. For me it took the pain of my memories away”.
US Navy Veteran Ashley Johnson with 2 yr old Apricot Standard Poodle ‘Aubrey’. Aubrey was adopted for Ashley as an owner surrender/rescue.
Ashley served 3 yrs. with one combat deployment. As a result of having Aubrey and the SD4V training, Ashley begins her new phase of life with a 67% reduction in her symptoms. (Self-assessment questionnaire PCL-5 before and after training) With her Doctor’s monitoring, she has eliminated the need for most all of her meds.
“This experience has changed my life for the better in so many ways. Aubrey loves when I reach for her vest to start our day at Clemson.
I don’t freak out from the crowds or need to skip classes. Aubrey is so alert to our surroundings and me - I always feel safe now. Thank you SD4V for giving me back my freedom.”
Left - US Army Veteran Terry Branham & Belgian Malinois ‘Hunter’. Hunter is a 4yr old rescue Terry adopted.
Terry served 28yr as a Combat Engineer with three combat deployments. Using the PCL-5 Self Assessment questionnaire before and after training, Terry experienced a 47% reduction in his life limiting symptoms and doesn’t need his ‘take as needed’ medications.
“This has been a big life changer for me and my marriage!”
Right – John Goughneour is Active US Army Reserves 2005 to present, 2 combat deployments, pictured with his Golden Lab Bruni.
Two year old Bruni was a rescue adopted for John. As a result of his dog and the training, John experienced a 53% reduction in his symptoms.
“This program delivered everything and more they said it would. I still can’t believe how far Bruni & I have come. We’re a great team. I cannot imagine my life without him.”
US Army veteran Blake Rampy and his 14 mo. old Lab/German Shepard mix Sirius.
With his young son’s help, Blake adopted Sirius from Greenville Humane Society to be
his service dog. Blake served 3 years as a Calvary Scout in an Armored Reconnaissance
Regiment with one deployment to Iraq. Upon completion of training Blake reported a 60%
reduction in his life limiting symptoms and a corresponding reduction in his Take As Needed medications. (Self-assessment questionnaire PCL-5 before and after training)
“This program made me grow and learn, and stack win upon win. It gave me something back that’s been missing – ability to trust, go out to events with my 2 young kids, and hope of restoring my marriage. If I’d known it would make this great a difference I’d have done it years ago!”
DeAndria "Andi" Hardy
US Marine Veteran DeAndria ‘Andi’ Hardy with 14 mo. old Lab mix Liberty. Liberty was
adopted for Andi from Greenville Animal Care shelter.
Andi served 5 yrs. as a Data Networking Specialist and Ammunition Tech and had
one deployment to Iraq.
As a result of her dog and this training, she experienced a 30% reduction in her life
limiting symptoms. (Self-assessment questionnaire PCL-5 before and after training)
“Liberty & I lived and trained together. We both grew a lot. She has a purpose, and
I am so happy. This program has been fantastic. It’s made a world of difference to me.”