Meet Richard and service dog Jet

A man wearing khaki pants and a blue polo kneels on the ground. A yellow Labrador sits next to the man's knee. | Former Navy | Navy Veteran

Richard kneels with his service dog, Jet, at his side.

Richard and service dog Jet

Sarasota, Florida

Born in Newcastle, England, Richard still wears a rugby t-shirt and has traces of a British accent. He came to the U.S. at 13, earned a BFA from Pratt Institute, and has lived in Sarasota with his wife and two daughters since 2000. Richard learned about Southeastern Guide Dogs four years ago. “I finally got the courage to apply for the program, but it was probably one of the most anxious things I’ve ever done,” says the former Navy Seabee and civilian contract engineer.

Richard hoped to be paired with a male yellow Labrador, and his service dog, Jet, is a dream come true. “He’s a very kind soul who is sensitive and giving but also very receptive. He’s like a dog version of me. We have a lot in common and have already established a line of communication. We are one person, connected by a leash.”

Living with PTSD, orthopedic trauma, and traumatic brain injury has been hard for the former athlete. He jokes that “anxiety is my superpower!” and worried about being a good candidate for a service dog. Now his concerns are “mixed with amazing elation.” With Jet by his side, Richard believes “the sky’s the limit” and he will be able to go out in public without hypervigilance and panic attacks. “Jet provides me with grounding,” he shares. “It feels like the sun is coming out again.”

Did you know we provide guide and service dogs to those who need them free of cost? If you know someone like Richard that could use a service dog, encourage them to apply today.

Posted on November 5, 2018 | Category: Blog