Meet Our Newest Graduates: June 2022

We’re so proud of our newest FSD graduates: five veterans who came together in placement class to learn and bond with their canine partners, and in the process learned about and bonded with each other. These smart, strong, determined women and men—all of whom returned from their time in the military with physical or mental wounds—are starting new lives of greater independence, self-confidence, and happiness, thanks to their Freedom Service Dogs.

Tim & Cypress

Husband, river-rafting guide, and U.S. Army and National Guard veteran Tim lives with service-related disabilities and works at a VA facility serving meals to homeless veterans. Service dog Cypress wakes Tim from nightmares and helps to relieve other PTSD symptoms, with the goal of increasing Tim’s independence. This team is sponsored by Lisa Martin and John Ross.

Aaron & Grizzly

Aaron is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a graduate student in the field of human services, trauma, and addiction who hopes to work with fellow veterans. Service dog Grizzly will assist Aaron with the symptoms of PTSD by helping to make him more comfortable in crowds and waking him from nightmares. She will also help fulfill his love for sweet (and at times goofy) chocolate Labs. This team is sponsored by Joan Ouderkirk.

James & Zena

James is a husband, father, and U.S. Marine Corps veteran whose right hand was amputated at the middle of his forearm. Service dog Zena will help James manage his daily needs by retrieving dropped items, soda cans, and water bottles, and tugging James’s jacket on and off in a pinch. When duty calls, she will head to the mountains, accompanying him in his work as a ski patrol member in the winter and at a fly-fishing shop in the summer. This team is sponsored by Dr. Marty Pets.

Zander & Verde

Zander is a husband, father, dog dad, and U.S. Army veteran who works for the Department of Veteran Affairs. He lives with PTSD, as well as spinal arthritis and deterioration. Service dog Verde will help manage Zander’s daily needs by interrupting symptoms of PTSD, creating space around him in crowds, waking him from nightmares, and accompanying him on family outings, including sailing. This team is sponsored by the Ken Davis Foundation.

Nika & Estes

Nika is a U.S. Army veteran who served in the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. Service dog Estes helps Nika with her symptoms of PTSD by lying on her lap to provide calming physical pressure and helping her feel more comfortable in public, in social settings, and when driving. Nika is looking forward to sharing her world with Estes as they explore together and enjoy mountain hikes. This team is sponsored by The Gary and Leslie Howard Foundation.

Interested in sponsoring one of our future teams? Contact Shanda Griebel at [email protected] or 303-922-6231 ext. 240.

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