Meet Kim and service dog Cash
As Kim Ripoli ascended the ranks of the U.S. Navy, she became “engrained in the warrior ethos,” providing leadership as a Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman with the Fleet Marine Force. Throughout three combat tours, six deployments, a stint at the Pentagon, and numerous decorations, medals, and awards, Kim maintained fierce professionalism. Retiring after 26 years in 2012, she became the Associate Director of Veteran’s Affairs for Rhode Island before retiring again.
Despite the outward bravado, Kim’s family noticed behavior changes stemming from PTSD. She became excessively reclusive, avoiding public places or crowds. “You need to get a dog,” they said, and her healthcare provider agreed.
“Being senior in rank, you don’t want to appear weak,” she shares. “I should have gotten a dog years ago but I didn’t want people to know.” Kim has been matched with her new service dog, a black goldador named Cash, a “soulful dog with the most empathetic eyes I’ve ever seen.” Kim has been “blown away” by her experience with Cash. After avoiding any mall for nearly a decade, the pair successfully navigated the mall, department stores, and restaurants during training. She is trusting Cash to restore a sense of calm as she emerges from reclusiveness and attends law school at Roger Williams University.