Category Archives: Coast Guard

Brain Injury Awareness Month – Caring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole FoundationCaring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation recognized Brain Injury Awareness Month by calling attention to the unique needs and resources available to those who care for service members and veterans who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). More than 320,000 service members have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a TBI, and the Foundation’s …

Source: Brain Injury Awareness Month – Caring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole FoundationCaring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation

Capone’s Success Story

The animal rescue world is challenging on the best of days. We see the broken and unwanted of the City of San Antonio on a daily basis. One of the most unforgettable of those days was 5 weeks ago, when Capone walked through our door. He was starving, with patches of hair missing, broken teeth, and his ears jagged and cropped…you won’t believe his transformation…read more at  SAPA – San Antonio Pets Alive | Capone’s Story

Assistance in the Rio Grande Valley and more

This is a message from our exceptionally brilliant and compassionate trainer, Jacqueline (Jackie). Her life’s passion is to help Veterans, and she asked us to post this for all Veterans, especially in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), if they need help.

I have been a graduate psychologist at the VA down here in the RGV. After working in 3 different VA health care systems, I have seen the great need for Veteran care and have seen both good (actually excellent) and bad ways VAs are run and treatment is provided. It is with an EXTREMELY saddened heart that I can no longer allow myself to provide a lower level of care to Veterans than what they deserve, nor be forced into functioning in a treatment setting that is providing unethical care.

I LOVE my work with Veterans and see such a huge need for this to continue, but as I leave, I also see several other amazing psychologists leaving as well due to the same challenges. I continue to see a need for Behavioral Health Care in the Rio Grande Valley, with Veterans and Civilians alike. After 11 years of schooling and 7 years providing Behavioral Health (BH) Services, I was completing my licensure requirements as a psychologist to provide the highest and most comprehensive options out there, however, despite the need for services in the RGV, I ran into several dead ends for finishing this last piece. However, I am willing to put my own final step on hold to help two communities (Veterans and anyone in the RGV) in need of BH services.

I hold a Masters Level License in the State of Texas that allows me to practice independently (but with some restrictions from what I would have had with my psychologist license and obviously at about 1/3-1/4 of the pay). I am hoping to make some things come together over the next month or two (and will probably be open to picking up random general labor work as my student loans have gone into effect and I incurred debt moving from Idaho to here), but am hoping to offer TeleHealth (similar to Skyping but in a much more secure system) and/or in home therapy/animal assisted-therapy services here in the RGV at hopefully a fraction of the cost of some other places (most likely on an income based sliding scale fee basis) since I will not be accepting insurance and I am wanting to reach a larger population of those in need.

That being said, minus the in-home piece, I am able to offer this TeleHealth service within the scope of my practice anywhere in the state of Texas. I am most wanting to reach Veterans as I know for many, wait times between treatment sessions is 2-3 months in several facilities throughout the state. However, I am also really wanting to service Civilians in the RGV and throughout Texas. I am NOT bilingual unfortunately, but have a considerable amount of understanding of the RGV culture, the Hispanic Culture, and the Texas Hispanic Culture.

For those of you who may know of people who may be able to benefit from this, please feel free to contact me. I will gladly share my extensive training and treatment experience with anyone who requests this, and am hoping to start this as an option for the community within the next two months.

Please contact me at: Jacqueline Kappelman

Don and Herman

Our trainer, Andrew, had a wonderful session with Don, a Wounded Warrior with PTSD and social anxiety who writes that he would like his Service Dog, Herman, “To be present with me in 90% of my activities. I wish to do car trips with him. He gives purpose to the things I do, including volunteer work at the hospital, church, or Police Department”. What a beautiful sentiment!

Andrew writes: “During this session, we went over the basics; “sit”, “down”, “wait”, “heel (loose)”, “don’t pull”, and some classical conditioning. This process is very effective, as Herman is already very well under control! The bond that he has with Don is joyful and happy. Herman is very attentive and very well-behaved. They are already well-practiced at walking to the coffee shop off leash!”

Congratulations to Elizabeth and SD Beatrice


From Laurie:  They passed the Public Access Test at the mall despite all the crowds! I am so proud of Elizabeth! She is WAY too humble to take credit for all the work she did training Beatrice in between sessions, but she did an amazing job and Beatrice is the PERFECT Service Dog. Most importantly – the way that Elizabeth shares Beatrice with all who ask to pet her – children and adults – is beyond beautiful. Elizabeth realizes how much joy Beatrice brings to everyone she meets – and Elizabeth shares that joy openly. Of course, when it’s time to work, Beatrice works – but the beauty of it is not only that Elizabeth has an amazing Service Dog that does her job – but that she teaches others and shows by example. I must say, the funniest part of it was going through the fancy department stores with their Gucci and Armani and perfectly coiffed sales people with a small horse and surprising them at every turn! I think Beatrice preferred the new perfume by Estee Lauder the best. TEE HEE. My husband, Joey, even tried to taunt Beatrice with a French Fry at the food court, but Beatrice showed him!

I am going to miss my dear, dear friend Elizabeth and beautiful, drooling Beatrice when they move!! Elizabeth’s new job will entail her continuing to help our Wounded Warriors – but now that she has Beatrice by her side, I think just seeing that humungous, loveable Service Dog will heal others better than any drug!!


Unbelievable kindness

Unbelievable kindness. Ken, a Wounded Warrior who has Service Dog “Mozart”, does this amazing artwork. He is donating proceeds from the sale of it to help wounded warriors get funding for Service Dog training with Service Dog Express!!! THANK YOU KEN!!!!!

Helping Veterans suffering from PTSD the oppurtunity to adopt  service dogs to assist in their rehabilitation at no cost
Helping Veterans suffering from PTSD the opportunity to adopt service dogs to assist in their rehabilitation at no cost

Manakenn Art 2014

Look at this beautiful artwork done by former client, Wounded Warrior Ken, with SD Mozart!! For each sculpture he sells, a portion of the proceeds he will donate to our non-profit, In Dog We Trust!! THANK YOU AND BLESS YOU KEN!!!!

Helping Veterans suffering from PTSD the oppurtunity to adopt  service dogs to assist in their rehabilitation at no cost
Helping Veterans suffering from PTSD the opportunity to adopt service dogs to assist in their rehabilitation at no cost

5 dogs for 5 Wounded Warriors

We at Service Dog Express have had a quite eventful and absolutely fulfilling experience the past two Saturdays! It started over a month ago, when one of our clients with his SD was attending the inpatient Wounded Warrior PTSD clinic at Laurel Ridge Psychiatric Hospital here in San Antonio. So many of the other Wounded Warriors there were astounded by this client’s SD, that we started getting phonecalls from the inpatients asking if they could obtain SDs.

Coordinating it all was extremely difficult, but over two Saturdays we were able to bring together our trainers, various fosters, rescues from In Dog We Trust, and a TON of dogs onto the unit to meet and greet all the potential clients. It was a tremendous success!! I’m sure the front lobby wasn’t too happy with the parade of hair most likely left from all the dogs we brought, but I am SO pleased to say that we matched up 5 dogs with these Wounded Warriors!!!!! It was like a grand opening shopping event!

The most amazing thing was to see how each warrior’s countenance and demeanor changed when the dogs were brought into the unit. Their sad eyes brightened, they were excited, frowns turned to smiles, as they petted and met each of the dogs. Even the staff seemed happier! So, the 5 new adopters will receive their dogs once they are released from the inpatient unit – all papers were signed – and we will train with them once they are released.

I wish I could have taken pictures, but it is against Laurel Ridge policy. Thank you to everyone who participated in these monumental days – and five new dogs now will have forever homes!!!!!


Regarding the post above about Laurel Ridge. Those of you who posted such incredibly negative postings were uninformed and unaware of how this process worked. I will not waste my time justifying your hatred, I will only present the facts so you can be a little bit more “educated” about how this process worked.

We were sent client submission forms from several of these Wounded Warriors who are in the TRANSITION unit at Laurel Ridge. The DOCTORS at Laurel Ridge who observed what a difference the SD, Sassy, had made with this one Wounded Warrior wrote PRESCRIPTIONS for these select Wounded Warriors for a Service Dog based upon what they observed in the healing process that took place between Sassy and his owner. They INVITED us to come. We did not initiate this. The warriors met the dogs on two separate occasions – which took hours and hours of work on behalf of our fosters, trainers, and the staff at Laurel Ridge. NONE of these inpatients received dogs while still inpatients. They were prescribed the dogs as part of the HEALING process when they are eventually released back into the civilian world. EVERY single dog that was chosen by a Wounded Warrior, again, with the ADVICE of their doctor or caseworker will not be receiving the dog until they are back home. Each Wounded Warrior who has chosen a dog has also been assigned a TRAINER from Service Dog Express to follow-up with them on training and helping them reintegrate into society just as we do any other Wounded Warrior who comes to us seeking the healing aid of a Service Dog. I don’t know where this term “contract” came up that many of you are referring to – the warriors simply chose a dog that they spent several hours with accompanied by a trainer to see if it were a good fit – and if they decided, again, along with their doctors or caseworkers that the match was well made, the ADOPTION papers were signed so that each warrior was properly matched with their dog. In addition, all dogs, no matter how far along in their Service Dog training they were (ALL now basic commands), were DONATED to these Wounded Warriors. No “money” was made off of this for any of us. We all did this out of the goodness of our hearts and because we, again, were INVITED by Laurel Ridge. In fact, we have been invited back AGAIN to work with some more Wounded Warriors in the female unit who will be transitioning back into civilian life because the DOCTORS and CASEWORKERS were so impressed with the high caliber of dogs we brought and how carefully we assessed each warrior and the dog they chose – again – ALL GIVEN PRESCRIPTIONS BY THEIR PHYSICIANS OR CASEWORKERS for this incredible experience to heal with a Service Dog by their sides. And I am NOT going to delete and ban all you naysayers until you have had a chance to read this – because you have ALL missed the point. What we have done at Service Dog Express by helping these Wounded Warriors is given them hope and joy – if you had been there to see the way their faces lighted up when they realized they could benefit from a Service Dog – the literal tears of joy – you would all be saying the exact OPPOSITE of what you posted and “shared”. These Service Dogs will, as always, be part of the healing process for these men and women who are now going back home, many alone, to civilian life – and their spirits have been uplifted by knowing that they will have a “Battle Buddy” by their side. Again, these dogs, who we normally charge adoption fees for because of the amount of training we have put into them, were given to these men and women for FREE. Maybe you all should be looking at the fact that more lives will be SAVED because of what we did – it was in all respects a labor of love for all of us involved – instead of focusing on the ridiculous comments that imply we did this to “make money” or to “prey on vulnerable people”. If you have issue with this, ask the doctors and caseworkers who finally thought “out of the box” and realized by actually SEEING the healing power of these dogs – and prescribed them for our amazing warriors to help them in their new lives. So, from what has been written below, it seems that everyone who posted such vulgar and uninformed posts would rather see our valiant men and women rely on drugs and get shoved out into the world back into loneliness and reliance upon drugs and other unhealthy methods to “cope” instead of knowing they will have a highly trained and continuously trained Service Dog to be by their sides. All I can say is shame on you. You care more about what you “think” Service Dog Express cares about – money, publicity, etc., than actually what we DO care about – and that is enhancing the lives of all of those who can benefit from a Service Dog. Shame on you.