Warrior Service Dogs will train a veterans own dog to become their service dog or select a dog from a shelter and train it for the veterans specific needs.
The organization is currently holding training sessions free to any veteran at Carrier Park in Asheville.
Take 240 East to Exit 1C, Amboy Road, to the left of the picnic area. Monday through Friday from 4PM to 7PM they meet for the sessions. If you already have a dog, please contact Warrior Service Dogs or bring the dog with you. If you do not own a dog, the organization would enjoy scouting local shelters to help you to find the right dog. The organization says, "No need is too small; no disability is too big. We welcome any challenge and will passionately give back to our fellow veterans from all generations."
Shane Cox, President and Co-Founder
Shane served in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman with the 3rd Battalion 8th Marines Kilo Company and 8th Marine Regiment between July of 2001 and July of 2005. During that period of time, Shane was deployed four times; twice to Iraq and one tour each in Afghanistan and Haiti. Shane now wants to provide veterans with the same support and assistance he receives from his own service dog Draven - his dog of nine years. Shane returned to school and received full certification in Dog Training and Behavior Modification. He has trained therapy dogs, service dogs, rescue dogs and a number of others. Shane lives in Asheville with his fiancee, Lauren.
Mike Ferguson, Co-Founder and Fundraising Event Director
Mike served in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman from September of 2000 through September of 2004. He was selected to be part of the 1st Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) for his deployment to Iraq. Mike returned to Iraq a second time with 1st Battalion 5th Marine Regiment Bravo Company Weapons Platoon. As co-founder of Warrior Service Dogs, Mike has seen for himself the healing effects a service dog can have on a veteran.
Laura Harris, Treasurer
Even though Laura was never in the military herself, she completely supports and is proud to know the veterans of the organization. Laura grew up in Texas and Oklahoma and originally moved to the east coast to train horses. She eventually decided accounting held a better future, one with health insurance and retirement benefits, so she is now working towards her CPA and CFE credentials. Laura and her husband Tom met through their love of horses in the year 2008 and were married on Veterans Day in the year 2011. It was through Tom that Laura was introduced to the founders of Warrior Service Dogs. With Tom's in-training service dog Kiowa, they have the perfect Persephone.
Tom Harris, Secretary
Tom was a medic with the US Army's 1/505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He did two tours, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. Tom retired from the Army in August of 2010 and met the other members of Warrior Service Dogs. He has now become the Secretary for the Organization. Tom was originally planning on having his dog, Persephone, become his service dog, but in a chance encounter at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue with Laura he met Kiowa, a pit bull/lab mix. After Tom was in the play area with Kiowa, he knew without a doubt that she was going to be his service dog. He took her home that very night and has had an amazing time working with Kiowa on her path toward certification.
Shane and Draven recently took a trip across several states in America. They logged their travels on the Warrior Service Dogs website, where you can read about their travels and experiences. In a short example of their story, Shane wrote about going to the VA in Tampa and encounters with others:
"Monday March 19th: Time to get to work today. Walk around VA Tampa for about an hour just observing people and how they react to just the sight of Draven. For everyone that shows fear or voices that they don't like his breed, there are five people that turn back into kids and eyes glow with the sight of him. That's the look that keeps me pushing forward, seen it at every VA so far and doubt I'll see it change in the future. Waiting to speak with the Disabled American Veterans representative to see if he can point me to who i need to talk to. While waiting I meet a veteran who also has a service animal in a stroller/pet carrier screened in. I hear her tell someone else that she has spells of passing out and that the her service animal will try and wake her up and if she doesn't wake up the animal hit a life alert button to notify the authorities."
The veterans behind Warrior Service Dogs share the same passion and enthusiasm to help those who served before us and for those who will continue to serve after us. The members of Warrior Service Dogs will supply the best trained dogs we can to our nation's warriors. As a veteran, it would please me greatly to find such an organization in Colorado. For veterans who live on the east coast, Warrior Service Dogs provides an incredible opportunity.
Warrior Service Dogs - warriorservicedogs.org