Congratulations Class #257 – Veterans and Service Dogs

Class #257

(L to R): Derrick and service dog Kelly, Trainer Kim Hyde, Kenneth and service dog Ranger, Lester and service dog Scout, Trainer Amy Bernard, Bruce and service dog Ted, Trainer Marisa Gerlach, Karin and service dog Michael, Trainer Jessica Collins, Eric and service dog Pudge, Jeffrey and service dog Morgan, Trainer Katie Young, and Robert and service dog Peggie

We recently celebrated the graduation of Class 257. We are so proud of this group of veterans and their new service dogs. Meet the class!

  • Derrick left the Marines in 2013, recovering from an injury and dealing with the aftermath of Afghanistan. A spunky yellow goldador named Kelly will help him resume outdoor activities such as jogging and visiting the beach, things he loved before Operation Enduring Freedom stole his peace of mind.
  • Army veteran Kenneth served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and then as a Louisville police officer. PTSD held him back, and now a playful and mellow black Lab named Ranger is renewing his joy.
  • Bruce traded the Army’s 1st Ranger Battalion with deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan for quiet rural acreage with his family and their livestock. But despite the peaceful atmosphere, his memories never rested. Now the unconditional love of his service dog Ted is bringing a new smile to his spirit.
  • Navy veteran Karin felt the constant dread of anxiety after military sexual assault and resulting PTSD derailed her life. A beautiful yellow Lab named Michael (“Mikey”) and his soothing “hug” and “watch” commands are already making a difference.
  • After serving 8 years in the Navy and 12 in the Army, Eric endured combat operations, rough terrain, and serious memories. After reclusiveness held him back, a friendly laid-back black Lab named Pudge helps him venture out again.
  • Army vet Jeff was injured in a mortar attack in Iraq, and chronic pain and PTSD have caused their share of stress. Now a happy and affectionate yellow Lab named Morgan helps him resume a more active lifestyle.
  • Robert, a retired Army Special Forces officer, diplomat, senior international defense expert, and survivor of almost every U.S. overseas military operation since 1990, has found a new mission and will soon open a small distillery. To combat his stress, a sweet black Lab named Peggie offers her calming presence and constant affection.

Congratulations on all of your hard work and welcome to the Southeastern Guide Dogs family! And thank you for your service.

Posted on July 24, 2017 | Category: Blog, Graduates