Category Archives: Experience

Lucia Is Dedicated!

From our trainer in Austin, who continues to work with dear Lucia and Lily even though Lily has already passed her PAT – Lucia is just that dedicated!

“I had a session with Lucia and Lily yesterday at Petco. We worked on Lily’s fascination with the squeaky sounds! Lily LOVES toys but also gets really amped up when she hears a squeaky sounds and wants to go find it. So I came up with the idea for Lucia to desensitize Lily to the squeaky sound by finding a YouTube video of squeaky toy sound effects and work on keep Lily calm while the sound goes off.

They also worked on leave it with toys on the floor and Lily has gotten so GOOD and leaving the toys alone!

I brought my dog to the session as well to be a distraction for Lily and Lily did not mind her at all. She has this down!”


SDiT Baron, Catt, and the Presentation

Such joyful news and a testament to how much Service Dogs help us! This is from our newest trainer in VA – Catherine – with her SDIT, Baron! Catherine is a brilliant student at Virginia Tech!

“I wanted to let you guys know about something really exciting from Friday. I had a professional presentation on research I had done over the summer on Friday. In the past, this would have been a presentation that I would have been panicking over for weeks. I probably would have gotten so upset before the presentation even started that I would have to be excused and do the presentation in a quiet room with only the professor (if I could even do that).

With my SDIT Baron’s help, I was able to make it through the ENTIRE 2 hour presentation!!! I only had to step out twice, and Baron stayed by my feet or in a “cover” the whole time! I can’t believe I actually made it through my presentation and I am so proud of myself! I just wanted to thank you guys for everything because without Baron, I would still be hiding in my house ordering my groceries.

This is why I decided I wanted to be a trainer with SDE. I want other people to have this moment for themselves too!!

Thank you and much love from Baron & Catt!


Emileigh visits Disneyland!

Look at this remarkable article regarding our dear former client, Emileigh!!!!! We were training with Emileigh and her mother, Kelly, until our former trainer in Houston had to go elsewhere due to changes. But we have been following lovely Emileigh and her search for the perfect SDIT after she had a few sessions learning about SDs with us – and now she found a beautiful Labradoodle that will become her SD!!!! What a remarkable family – and we are all praying and wishing for happiness for the entire Marsh family!!!

Cypress girl gets her wish to visit Disneyland

A fun day for Wounded Warrior, Christopher

A fun day for Wounded Warrior, Christopher, who has been travelling to the VA in Kansas regularly because his treatment is better there. His SD, Maggie, is becoming a frequent flyer!! They went to a movie today – and Maggie did wonderfully! Christopher takes such immaculate care of Maggie!! But…umm…Maggie – you have to OPEN your eyes to watch the movie!!!!! So glad you were well-behaved!!

In Inuko Own Words


A beautifully written message from our dear client, Inuko, who lost her first SDIT, Trooper. She asked me to share this. We so appreciate her words. We love you dearly, Inuko!

“Dear SDE,

Let me start off by saying thank you… Thank you for giving me my life back. When I found Trooper, I was wasting away, sick, depressed, and scared. I barely slept at night and when I did, I had awful nightmares. I was miserable. And then… Trooper saved me. Suddenly, I knew I wasn’t alone, no matter where I went or who was around. When I got to places I couldn’t get back from, he chased me down and loved me until my demons were gone. They couldn’t touch me.

When Trooper died, I was terrified. I was upset and hurt. However… He had brought somebody else into my life. Orianna. He called to her and she came, and when he passed, she helped to take care of me. She means the world to me. She’s helped so much.

Incident struck again, and I’ve been graced with a third dog. Right when we realized that Orianna is too skittish to be a good SD, we talked to wonderful Cherry at the perfect time, and we were led to Gadget.

I wondered why this happened, and now I know. My spinal surgery – done before Trooper passed – failed. My disc herniated once more, worse than before, and now I’m going to have to get a spinal fusion. Because of all of my other health problems, I will most likely spend three weeks unable to walk and will have to go through extensive physical therapy. A close loved one recently passed away. I felt completely alone, terrified, hurt. I felt like I had nowhere to go. Then, one day, I curled up on the floor to cry… and both of my girls crawled over to me to lie down on me. They licked away my tears, made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and then… I slept.

I’m sure people at SDE will understand the beauty of that statement. I slept. I rested. I dreamed a happy dream and I woke up smiling. I slept! Through the pain and the fear, I managed to sleep…. and it was all because of my girls.

All three of my dogs have come into my life purely by chance, and all three of them have changed everything. I’m still sick. I am going to have to have surgery again. I will be even worse after the surgery. But you know what? It’s okay. It’s really, really okay. I’ve got my Family; people who love me eternal. I’ve got my haven; my home is finally safe and secure. I’ve got my World again… and it’s all thanks to my girls.

So dear everybody reading this, let me tell you something, okay? It gets better. It may seem like it never will. You might be scared. You might be hurting. You might be sick… I’m right there with you… and let me tell you: you’re not alone. You’re never alone. You’ve got the people at Service Dog Express, just like I do… and you have your dogs. They change lives.

They changed my life.
Thank you.

A long, overdue congratulations

A long, overdue congratulations to Wounded Warriors Anthony Pottebaum and Andrew Doyle for graduating from their Wounded Warrior Project’s TRACK program!! It was a wonderful ceremony, and a dozen or so other graduates were honored – Anthony brought his Service Dog, Tucker, and Andrew’s Service Dog, Rio, was there in spirit!!

TRACK students enter as a team, or cohort, and continue through the program together, offering the ideal environment for students at all ability levels, including those who might not have been successful in traditional academic settings in the past. TRACK students support one another during their journey and leave the program with the skills and supports necessary to continue their education and/or enter the civilian workforce.

I am so proud of each of them and Bonnie and I came to show our support. What a wonderful achievement!!! Anthony’s wife, Rowena, and her SD, Blessed were there, as well as Andrew’s wife, Danielle. Now they are off to new lives in the civilian sector!!!

Beautiful, Brilliant, Compassionate Client Elizabeth

Oh – what a WONDERFUL session I had with beautiful, brilliant compassionate client Elizabeth, an Active Duty Wounded Warrior, and her AMAZING SDIT, Beatrice!! Elizabeth gladly let me bring along one of our trainers in training, Sue, who stood aside and watched intently, took great notes, and amazing pictures! Thank you, Sue!!!

Beatrice and Elizabeth are doing AMAZINGLY!!!! Elizabeth still gets nervous when we start and as we do certain things, because, like most clients in training, they are hopeful that their dog will perform well and Elizabeth DEFINITELY needs to work on her confidence in Beatrice! This beautiful young Mastiff just blows me away with her abilities!! I have to giggle (not in a mean way) at Elizabeth because I know just how well Beatrice is going to do – but she still gets nervous. Of course, I remind her that the dog can sense when the handler is anxious or not confident, so that gets the dog a bit worried about itself – but after our session at Walmart, I know Elizabeth saw just how amazing Beatrice and she do at so many things.

We had SO much fun at the Super Walmart!!! Of course, Beatrice knows sit, down, long sit/stay, long down/stay (even when Elizabeth is out of sight now using only her voice), leave it, come, wait, controlled entry and exit into and out of cars and buildings, walking with the leash dropped and staying in a heel, and shake! The team did TONS of meet and greets because, of course, the sheer magnitude of Beatrice and her gently demeanor draw everyone’s attention! Poor Elizabeth was so gracious to everyone who asked to pet, and educated them on proper SD etiquette, speaking as well about visible and invisible injuries requiring a SD. All meet and greets with children and adult males and females were beautifully executed – Beatrice would sometimes give her paw to shake “hello”, or she would take a treat (she slobbers quite a bit due to her breed so Elizabeth always has a slobber cloth along), or she would just enjoy a loving pet.

Beatrice is entranced by the fish display!!!!! It’s adorable. She also is impervious to created distractions of any type. And I tried everything – bouncing balls, bicycles, hula hoops, balloons, loud items dropped behind her, motorized wheelchairs…I could go on and on. Needless to say, it was a delightful experience and we spent a lot of time together because it was so much fun – and then after we left, Elizabeth felt confident enough to go back in with Beatrice and actually do some shopping alone on her own!!!

I have several wonderful pictures, but also some meaningful ones, as Elizabeth’s husband was recently hospitalized (he is OK), but Beatrice was stellar at the hospital.


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.

John and his wonderful SD Sancho

Veteran John and his wonderful SD Sancho are still going strong! Sancho is getting a few grey hairs – he’s 8 – but he still listens to every one of John’s commands and is as lovable as ever! John has been taking extra care of himself because they believe he is having mini-strokes, which sometimes affect his speech and memory along with his movement – but he’s a real trooper and tries not to let it get him down! Caretaker Mary takes John and Sancho to all their appointments at the VA and with specialists, and Sancho is still as helpful and devoted as ever. John just loves Sancho to pieces!

Mary wrote about their recent outing to the Garden Center on Bandera Rd, were they got 3 plants. John loves to garden, and at our last session, he and Mary had cleaned up all the vegetable and flower beds and it was beautiful! They also went to Walmart and got some cactus and hats for the sun protection. It is important for John and Sancho to get out the house and walk and just get away from things so that John does not have to stay at home and focus on his disabilities. Amazingly, even with the inability to use one arm, John volunteers at the Guide Dogs of Texas, washing drinking bowls, helping keep things clean, and being around other dogs. His volunteer work gives him something to make him feel purposeful. John and Sancho will also continue to do therapy dog work as they have been – they are so good at it, and John has a wonderful sense of humor that is infectious for those who are in need of uplifting.

Here are some pictures of me outside with Sancho – I love to brush him with the Furminator because he sheds so much and I know it feels good for him! You can also see from the pictures how much Sancho loves John. And Sancho does REALLY well in his booties!!!