Meet our 2023 graduates
Join us in welcoming the newest graduating teams to our Freedom Service Dogs family! These hardworking, enthusiastic clients bonded with their service dogs as they learned dog-handling and training skills, as well as custom cues to meet their unique needs. Read on to meet the teams!
Atarah & Muenster
Atarah is a married mother of six (two children, four dogs) who lives with multiple sclerosis and enjoys volunteering at her son’s school and making arts and crafts. Successor service dog Muenster is part of a pack that includes retired FSD service dog Oak, Duke the Great Dane, and 15-year-old Sheba. Muenster is picking up where Oak left off by retrieving dropped items, opening doors, and accompanying Atarah on trips to the local pool and family vacations.
Charles & Gobi
Charles is a husband, father of two children, and U.S. Army veteran who served as a signal support systems specialist from 1993 to 2000. He graduated with successor dog Gobi (aka Gobi-Wan Kenobi). Standard poodle Gobi has been trained to interrupt PTSD symptoms, awaken Charles from nightmares, and create space around his veteran to help relieve anxiety, enabling Charles to feel more comfortable in public places and especially at his children’s events.
John & Lasso
John is a husband and U.S. Army veteran who served from 1988 to 2008 and was deployed in Operation Desert Storm, the Kuwait Liberation, and the Global War on Terrorism campaigns as a crewmember on the Bradley Linebacker, a combat air-defense vehicle. Service dog Lasso interrupts John’s symptoms of PTSD with gentle kisses, awakens him from nightmares, and creates space around him in public, bringing John greater independence and comfort outside of his home.
Ashley & Revna
Ashley is a young woman living with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and putting her own signature style of infectious, bright energy into everything she does. Service dog Revna is a new beginning and first service dog for Ashley, who cannot wait for some of the doors she thought closed to open up for her again. In addition to the freedom and confidence she feels from having Revna by her side, Ashley looks forward to exploring New York City’s parks, thrift shops, and coffee houses together, and maybe even sharing her spoken word poetry at an open mic night.
Rachel & Ivey
U.S. Army veteran Rachel graduated with her service dog Ivey. Using her custom-trained skills, Ivey helps Rachel mitigate the symptoms of PTSD by creating space around her in public and providing deep pressure therapy. Rachel recently completed active duty, serving four years as an intelligence analyst. She enjoys writing poetry and just became a published author.
Zach & Katana
Zach is a kind and active young adult who enjoys video games and the outdoors. Katana, a dainty and sweet golden retriever, will be helping Zach with handling stress in public, providing deep pressure therapy, and snuggling while he plays video games at home. Zach is looking forward to having Katana by his side during his daily activities, including volunteering.
Dianne & Rebel
Dianne, a dedicated school social worker, has found an exceptional partner in professional therapy dog Rebel. Through skills like resting, covering laps, nudging, and providing comforting leans, Rebel helps Dianne’s students process emotions, build confidence, and develop relationship skills. When off the clock, this dynamic duo finds joy in seaside living and boating adventures. Rebel’s role as the successor to Pirate, Dianne’s previous professional therapy dog from FSD, carries on a legacy of compassion and care, as Pirate enjoys a well-deserved retirement.
Amelia & Prima
Amelia is a bright, engaging, and motivated college student who was matched with Prima. As Amelia’s new best bud, Prima will be accompanying her to college classes and events, providing comforting and grounding tasks like “rest” and “nudge” in stressful times. Amelia and Prima are ready to take on the world together, including adventures to places like Disneyland!
Nick & Reed
Nick is a U.S. Army veteran whose military career spans over two decades, including tours in Iraq and Ukraine. Living with PTSD and back issues in his retirement, Nick finds increased comfort and independence with the help of his service dog, Reed. Reed assists Nick with retrieving dropped items and creating space around him in public areas.
Kristin & Boogie
After an accident left her with a traumatic brain injury, Kristin found a new level of independence upon being matched with her service dog Boogie. Boogie is trained to help Kristin with everyday tasks like opening doors, retrieving items, and walking. Kristin and her husband are also dedicated volunteer puppy raisers and have already raised two pups for FSD!
Lillian & Bey
Lilian is a high school student who finds strength and independence through their loyal service dog, Bey. They live with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and Bey has been custom-trained to assist them by retrieving essential items like their phone, medication, crutches, and wallet. Beyond academics, Lilian’s creative spirit shines as they spend many hours designing and sewing impressive costumes.
Leo & Sprout
U.S. Army veteran Leo served in the Criminal Investigation Division and provided security for Vice President Dick Cheney. His journey continues with the support of his second service dog, Sprout, who helps him navigate life with PTSD, knee, and shoulder challenges. Sprout has been trained to assist Leo by creating space in crowds, nudging him to bring him back into the present moment, and retrieving items, enabling him to lead a more independent life. After retiring from the military, Leo continues to serve others as part of a coalition to build homes for veterans and others experiencing homelessness.
Angela & Melody
Angela, who lives with mobility challenges due to a spinal cord injury, was partnered with her service dog Melody. Melody provides assistance with walking and standing up after falls, giving Angela more independence. Melody has also been trained to locate Angela’s husband within their home and retrieve dropped items like her cane, keys, phone, or wallet. She will greatly enhance Angela’s quality of life and allow her to participate in all the activities she loves on her rural farm, including caring for horses and goats!
Thomas & Valor
Thomas is a U.S. Navy veteran with a career spanning over two decades, including deployments to Iraq and the Global War on Terror. His faithful— and aptly named—service dog Valor is a constant source of support, aiding him with his PTSD, mobility issues, and hearing challenges. Valor is trained to retrieve items, create space in crowded environments, and nudge Thomas to bring him back to the present moment.
Tamra & Fern
Tamra was matched with her service dog Fern who helps her mitigate challenges she faces as a result of an autoimmune condition. Fern assists Tamra with tasks like retrieving dropped items, opening doors, and waking her from nightmares. Tamra finds joy in volunteering with seniors at her community center and is working toward her certification as an end-of-life doula.
Wolfy & Moss
Wolfy is a passionate, soft-spoken, and caring young adult who loves dogs, especially their new service dog partner Moss! Moss, a tall yellow Lab, will provide comfort and interruptions in the form of lap resting and gentle nudges when Wolfy is experiencing stress at school and in public. Wolfy is looking forward to Moss being their best bud, accompanying them on new adventures, and spending quality cuddle time at home.
Interested in sponsoring one of our future teams? Contact Shanda Griebel at [email protected] or 303-922-6231 ext. 240.