Meet Keith and service dog Homer
Keith Poynor & service dog Homer
Keith Poynor, a lieutenant colonel with multiple combat deployments, retired after 31 years in the U.S. Army. But, it was after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago that Keith began to struggle with PTSD. Before retiring, Keith served as the adaptive sports director at U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, where he was first exposed to service dogs and their benefits. At a friend’s urging, he and his wife attended an open house at Southeastern Guide Dogs. “We were blown away by the facility and the program,” he says. “We could tell this was probably the best service dog school in the country.”
He was proud to serve as an Army Ranger, and he’s just as proud to serve other veterans now. Keith volunteers at his local American Legion and as a senior mentor with the Hillsborough County Veterans’ Treatment Court.
Keith’s new service dog, a gentle, loving yellow Labrador named Homer, exceeded his expectations. “I asked the trainers how they matched the dogs with us because Homer is as laid-back as I am,” Keith marveled. Homer helps Keith with balance issues stemming from multiple sclerosis, and keeps him calm and grounded. “Homer is a real gift,” he says. Homer will enjoy spending time with Keith’s family, including his wife, Stephanie, and their children, Jack and Jaynie.
The South West Pinellas Puppy Raisers Team Vortex sponsored Homer with the proceeds of their Walkathon fundraising. Homer is named in honor of the ancient, visually impaired Greek poet, and also in honor of the team’s love of baseball.