Category Archives: Equipment

Hannah and Addie

From our trainer in Austin, who is working with Hannah, who is a delightful 16 year old who unfortunately suffers from anxiety, night terrors, and PTSD.  Her SDIT is Addie!


I had a session with Hannah and Addie on Sunday. Addie is a beautiful 6 month-old German Shepherd who has grown tremendously and knows her basics very well. Hannah had concerns about Addie being overly excitable when out in public. Addie gets excited when she sees other dogs and people and starts to bark and jump in the air, which of course a Service Dog cannot do.

I worked with Addie out in a public park on a 20ft long leash so we could practice recalls. I also wanted to tire Addie out. I made sure I saw people or dogs walk by, had my hand pre-loaded with treats, and treated Addie rapidly as they walked by. I would treat her for no reaction and pretty soon, she caught on and started to turn her attention back to me! This is a technique I recommend clients try out. Hannah felt a lot better after the session, knowing it can be managed.

We also worked on leave it, stays, and eye contact. Addie’s eye contact is amazing!”


Sean the Marine…Semper Fi

From our trainer, Candace, in Fort Worth, who is working with the Morrison family. They have a very unique and special situation. Sean is a Wounded Warrior with PTSD, and they adopted a 3 – legged German Shepard. They were curious if her disability would disqualify her as a Service Dog. They will be looking at getting her a prosthetic leg as she was born missing her leg at the elbow, and has enough left for a prosthetic. The veterinarian said that she would be just fine as a Service Dog! She has the perfect temperament and trainability.

As a PTSD, service-related Marine, Sean struggles with thunderstorms, loud, sudden noises, and going out in public in general. The family were told by his psychologist that a service dog would help him greatly, and after looking into it and doing hours of research, they believed this would be most beneficial for him. It has been!! What a remarkable family they are to adopt this highly intelligent dog, and to do everything necessary to ensure that being a Service Dog will be healthy and productive for both the dog and Sean. They will constantly be reviewing progress with their veterinarian.

“I would like to introduce the newest member of the Service Dog Express family: The Morrison Clan. Yep, that’s right, Sean’s SDIT was born with just 3 legs! But, according to Sean, she is everything he needs. She will look around corners for him as they go down halls. She always remains on alert wherever they are. She passed her assessment with flying colors! The next step is working on their SDIT’s endurance and basic training. So far, she responds very well to Sean, and I think they will be a remarkable team.”

Vedant’s SDiT Simba

From our trainer, Candace, in Ft. Worth. She has been juggling an internship while training, so she apologizes that there are not more pictures. But we congratulate her on passing her internship!

“Simba, the Singhania family’s son Vedant’s SDiT, (Vedant has Muscular Dystrophy) has been on a little bit of a training vacation. But, he is doing wonderfully! Today, the family worked on retrievals! We practiced with one of Vedant’s socks, so that Simba can get used to bringing back things that smell like him. I showed them how to turn the command into a game, and their SDiT just had a ball (or sock!) We also addressed his digging behavior, which he has just picked up. It seems that it might be an anxiety issue when he digs. Also, it seems that the family were accidentally reinforcing that behavior by engaging him in a game of chase once they caught him digging. We are still working on this.

Vedant got a new electric scooter, so we practiced walking Simba with the scooter. He wasn’t scared, nor did he bark at it! They need to practice walking with Simba and the scooter outside, but it was too hot at the time I was there to do this. Simba is a dark dog and just doesn’t like the sun so much. He has quite a personality! There was a lot of review that happened to go over his basic and advanced training techniques. Simba is still so young and has come such a long way. He will be a great companion for young Vedant. The Singhania family is doing great with him!”

Christopher’s Leashes

LOOK at these beautiful, durable leashes that our dear client, Wounded Warrior, Christopher, is making for those who need specialized leashes and harnesses for our clients! He will make them any way you need them – over the shoulder, around the waist, adjustable with clips, and any you can choose from any of these colors! He does it because he cares – very inexpensive. If you are interested, please send him an email at [email protected]! So creative!

Marissa and her Cane Corso Titan

A wonderful update from our dear client in Houston, Marissa, who suffers from Regional Complex Pain Disorder, and her SDIT, Cane Corso, “Titan”. They have been training with our trainer, Kendra.

“After my pain stimulator implant surgery, my partner, Daniel, brought my manual wheelchair in so it’s easier for me to walk around the house. I had been trying to use my crutches… It was causing more pain. And Titan is now associating the sound of me putting the foot rest on the recliner down to me needing his help to stand up! We have had a few times, when I first had Daniel put Titan’s vest on, that Titan wasn’t completely understanding why it was taking me so long to stand up or sit down – and he would either sit down or try to move away. But I think we’ve got it now. I pull on the gently on the handle on his vest to help pull myself forward (something we have never worked on) and he automatically leans away in order to steady both of us. Of course, Daniel is here to help just in case, but Titan is doing so well we don’t need extra help a whole lot!

When I am trying to walk around the house, Titan sometimes walks behind me and other times he sits in the middle of the living room watching me.

I was worried that me being in so much pain would make Titan want to be right on top of me and that I would end up hurting even more from worrying that he would jump on me or something. But nope. He stays near by but not in the way.

All these boys are so good to me. Daniel makes sure I have anything and everything I need. Titan helps me stand and sit and scoot forward and I pet him to keep my mind off the pain!(although he is now trying to force us to pet him.- but Ms. Kendra has given us some tips on how to correct that). And Dawson my, min pin mix? Well he’s just Dawson.  He cuddles with me when I hurt and I pet him to try to get my mind off the pain. “


Tony and his incredible Service Dog, Lucy

I had to share this beautiful photo of our dear, dear client and former trainer, Tony and his incredible Service Dog, Lucy. Tony will be moving soon and we will miss him. He has done so much for SDE and has been a model example of the perfect Service Dog handler I can imagine. He is struggling with many health issues, but Lucy is alerting more and more. Tony’s beautiful daughter sent this picture.

SUCH A Special Client

We have SUCH a special client, words cannot even express how much working with this brilliant young man has inspired everyone at SDE. Travis is an extremely intelligent older teen who is confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak nor move. He has a special machine that he can use to speak. He requires around-the-clock care by his amazing family and nurses, but the one thing he CAN do – and we know this because we first saw it when he was matched by In Dog We Trust’s wonderful SDIT, Teddy, is SMILE!!!!! And he can LAUGH!!!! The family was having a difficult time finding a Service Dog for Travis because all the dogs they met were afraid of his wheelchair and other devices. But not Teddy! In fact, the minute Teddy first saw Travis, he ran to him and literally jumped up on his lap!! Cherry, who runs In Dog We Trust, started to say “Teddy – off!”, but Travis’ parents said “No! This is what we have been looking for!” And Travis’ smile and giggles were enough to make everyone cry tears of joy. After a long session, off they went – and Cherry’s last view of her rescue, Teddy, was of Teddy lying happily at the base of Travis’ wheelchair – ready to start his new life! MIRACLES HAPPEN!

Beverly is training with Travis and his family and Teddy, although the family has done so much training themselves, there is little to be done! Here is Beverly’s last write-up.

“Meridan, Travis’ mother, Travis, and his nurses have done a great job with Teddy so far! He already knows to sit when Travis makes his chair “Beep”, and Teddy is learning to walk beside Travis’s chair in a perfect “heel” position. He’s been learning “Up” to get up on the bed when someone pats the bed, (Travis and Teddy ALWAYS sleep together), so we added the computer voice to the command. Teddy is brilliant and picks things up very quickly. Since Travis is a bit nervous about feeding Teddy treats from his hand, he places the treat into a small dish they have affixed to the side of the chair. We worked with Teddy on “leave it” so he would learn to wait until Travis puts the treat into the dish and moves his hand to get the treat. Teddy did very well learning this, and it seemed to put Travis at ease. I discussed with Meridan how to work with Teddy on being more comfortable loading and unloading from the vehicle. In addition, we practiced “Up” to get Teddy up on the bed by the computer voice command and “Off” to get him to get off the bed. We used both the computer and my hand signal. Next session, we will work with Teddy on following Travis’s hand signals while someone assists with the voice commands from the computer.”


The first picture is Teddy responding to the “beep” and keeping a watchful eye on Travis. The second picture is Teddy listening to “Travis” and awaiting his reward for being a “Good Boy”. Look at those smiles on Travis’ face!! I think Teddy is smiling, too!!!!

PS – I just had to add a comment. Looks like Travis has a thing for young ladies in bikinis!!! We could put a bikini on Teddy…..

Wounded Warrior Brian and SDIT Cassie

An update from trainer Beverly, who is working with Wounded Warrior Brian and his SDIT, Cassie!

” Part 1: Since Brian and his wife are staying at the Fisher House on base to treat his medical issues, we met at the park near SAMMC to work on basic skills. Brian had been spending a lot of time with Cassie for bonding purposes, and they have become very close! Cassie is doing well with “sit”, “down”, and “heel”. We practiced “watch me” and, while she knew what she needed to do, distractions (squirrels and the occasional runner) interrupted her focus a little more than usual. Brian and Cassie will continue to bond and work on these basic skills, especially “leave it” and “watch me”.

Part 2: We tried introducing Cassie properly to another SDIT, who also needs a bit of work on socialization skills, but they’re both young and fed off each other’s energy too much; so we will try introductions with an older, more “seasoned” dog to reassure both dogs and build their confidence, while also teaching Cassie to reign in some of her excitement. We will also be trying the Adaptil DAP collar for calming.

Brian will continue to work on Cassie’s basics and building their bond through more touch and vocal reassurance. Next session, we will work more on “down” and “stay.”

Some pretty neat people in this world, aren’t there?

I couldn’t be prouder of all of you. You’re all such compassionate, caring people – friends, not just clients. I have to make a comment, however, on one friend/client (who shall remain nameless due to her beautiful humility). This woman, brilliant and as kind as they come, had a budding career at the age of 35 as an Industrial Engineer. While overseeing the construction of a bridge, a truck lost control and ran through the site, forcing her to plunge many, many feet flat on her back into the water below, breaking her back and ending what was sure to be an extremely promising career. Although she suffers with almost daily severe migraines and pain, she has not an ounce of negative energy about her. She gets by with the supportive love of her husband, and the beautiful, deaf SDIT bulldog that she rescued because no one wanted her. She has trained this dog to know almost every command using American Sign Language, and the dog is perfect in public. Every day, their bond is getting stronger and stronger. When this client is about to get a migraine, she experiences vertigo. She has fallen in the past. Well, the other day, she called to tell me that her dog did something miraculous. The client was feeling fine, and the next thing she knew, her dog alerted her and pressed it’s body up against hers tightly – just seconds before this client experienced a severe bout of vertigo. The dog broke her fall, and saved the client from falling all the way to the ground. The dog also stood there by her side until she used the dog to brace and regain her balance, then led her to bed, where the dog stayed by her side as the migraine set in and wouldn’t leave. When the client told her husband what had happened when he arrived home, his eyes filled with tears because he now knew that he did not have to feel so worried about his wife falling while she was alone – and that she had a perfect companion who would not leave her side when she was ill.

It doesn’t surprise me that this dog loves her “mom” so very much. Not only did she rescue her from sure euthanasia, but she gives her so much love and respect every day – even believing that although she was deaf, she could learn to be a Service Dog for the mom’s specific needs. THAT is love. Well, this woman, who again shall remain nameless (but I’m sure if you read earlier posts, you will recognize her – she can’t and shouldn’t go unnoticed!) drove to our partner non-profit rescue,, run by Cherry Jenkins, a good 40 minute drive, and opened up her trunk, saying, “Come with me – I have something for you”. Inside were bags of dog food, leashes, collars, harnesses and a box of brushes. “Its all for you” she said. Cherry wrote, ” I’m still thinking I’m going to wake up in a minute and I just dreamed it!!” This dear client has also established a $100 donation to In Dog We Trust to be repeated every month.

Some pretty neat people in this world, aren’t there?

Update on Wounded Warrior DJ

An update from our trainer, Beverly, who is working with Wounded Warrior DJ, who suffers from PTSD, and SDIT, Tabitha!

“Part 1: Tabitha was able to stay seated to “greet” me without getting overly excited and jumping up for much longer than during previous sessions! We are working on her socializing skills with other dogs, as she tends to get very excited, so at our next session, we will have her meet an older, mellow dog, to build Tabitha’s confidence and teach her proper social skills. DJ is a bit hesitant to take her out with her vest due until she starts to become more comfortable with new dogs and people and stays calmer.

I also took the suggestion from Laurie at SDE to purchase the Adaptil DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) collar for Tabitha to wear at all times. Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) is a chemical developed to calm dogs suffering from separation anxiety disorder, astraphobia (fear of thunder and lightning), fear of fireworks, or those with excessive barking problems. The chemical is a synthetic analogue of a hormone produced by nursing canine mothers that promotes calm and secure behavior and in establishes a bond with the mother. It is absolutely safe, and also comes in a spray form for your dog’s bed and vest, or as a plug-in diffuser. It has come highly recommended by many veterinarians, and can be purchased at amazon – Laurie has seen it work wonders on hyperactive, nervous dogs.

Part 2: After Tabitha had worn herself out a bit, she did very well with her “down/stay” and meet and greets with new people. Her energy level, though high, certainly workable, so we will be working on teaching her “self-control” and getting her to engage more with DJ.

We also worked on “leave it” games and “touch” to help her engage in her training and focus on DJ more intently. Tabitha already has a solid “sit”, “down”, “sit/stay”, “heel”, “leave it”, and “watch me”.

We are planning for a weekend intensive session to get Tabitha to a place where DJ feels more comfortable taking her out in public more! Laurie also suggested that DJ reminds himself that the vest gives a dog a sense of security, much like the concept behind the “Thunder Shirt”, available at any pet store – so, if he does not feel comfortable taking her out yet in a vest, he could benefit from getting Tabitha a Thunder Shirt to wear to help her get used to that secure feeling.