These four fantastic teams graduated from our modified spring placement class, which was made possible thanks to creative problem solving, a highly adaptable group of people, video conferencing technology, and private training while practicing safe social distancing protocol. We are so proud of the hard work these teams have put in and are thrilled to report that they are all experiencing greater independence, happiness, and hope, thanks to their custom-trained service dogs.
Jackson & Windy
Jackson is an exuberant 12-year-old young man with autism who lives with his parents and two brothers in Aurora, Colo. Jackson has been matched with Windy, a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving yellow Labrador retriever who loves to play outside with Jackson and is beloved by the entire family. In addition to providing constant companionship, Windy snuggles with Jackson and helps him stay calm in times of stress with a nudge of her nose.
Joshua & Champion
Joshua is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where he served as both Fire Protection and Cyber Systems Operations, with deployments to Iraq during his enlistment. He is still serving as a firefighter in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he lives with his wife, two daughters, and their loyal pet Lab, Charlie. Joshua was matched with Champion, a bright and youthful yellow Lab who matches Joshua’s energy and exercise requirements. Champion helps ground Joshua during “drop attacks,” the debilitating spells of vertigo that are the result of his Meniere’s disease.
Rick & Blue Jay
Rick is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield during the liberation of Kuwait. Rick lives on a ranch in Colorado with his wife and several yaks. He was matched with Blue Jay, a funny and lovable Labradoodle who accompanies Rick on his daily rancher duties. Blue Jay helps Rick with his PTSD by getting him out of the house more often, as well as supporting him in crowds.
Virginia & Rumi
Virginia is a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War who experiences the daily challenges of serious PTSD, fatigue, and pain issues limiting her mobility. FSD service dog Rumi’s arrival has brought Virginia greater freedom to go out in public by providing space around her in crowds, interruption of anxiety and distress, and pressure or tactile support for grounding. Around their home in Olympia, Wash., Rumi retrieves dropped items and tugs open drawers, helping Virginia spend her time, energy, and awesome talent creating art in her studio and dreaming up new recipes in the kitchen.