Category Archives: El Paso

Welcome to Stephanie & Black Wolf

From our wonderful trainer, Terry, in El Paso, who did an initial assessment and session with Stephanie and her Husky mix, “Black Wolf”.

“Good Day to All,

I provided an assessment for trainability and temperament for “Black Wolf”, who is 1 1/2 years old, located in El Paso, TX. A temperament test was performed on Black Wolf and he passed with no issues to record. Black Wolf has limited knowledge of basic obedience commends. From my observations, I did detect a very strong bond between Stephanie and her SDIT. The dog has a willingness to assist, eagerness to learn, and desire to please his owner. This is a fairly large dog, and the living arrangement with other dogs in an apartment gave me some concern. However, they have areas where the dogs can run and play in a safe environment, while also socializing with other dogs in the complex. I checked the dog for any skin discoloration, scars, protruding bones, teeth decay, and any other sign that might indicate a pending health risk, and none was found. I would highly recommend Stephanie and her dog Black Wolf for training in the Service Dog Express Program.

Kindest regards


Wounded Warrior Rudy and SDiT Jenny = Part II

From our trainer, Terry, in El Paso, who is working with Wounded Warrior Rudy, and his SDIT, Jenny.

“Good day to all,

Another good training session with Rudy and SDIT, Jenny. This time, we went to one of our largest shopping centers “Cielo Vista Mall”. Here, we practiced entering and exiting the elevator, avoiding noise distractions, socializing with other people as well as children, and last – food distraction! In all tests, Rudy and Jenny did very well with no problems. If you train hard, you should enjoy the fruits of your labor, so we engaged ourselves with our spouses in a little socializing as well! Shortly, Rudy and Jenny will be taking their Public Access Test! Well done, team!”

Wounded Warrior Rudy and SDiT Jenny

From our super trainer, Terry, who is in El Paso, and is working with Rudy, who is a Wounded Warrior suffering from PTSD, TBI, Depression, hyper-vigilance, sleep apnea, and nightmares, and his SDIT, “Jenny”.

Terry writes:

“We had a great outing and exposure to the mall, and all of its many distractions! Rudy and Jenny did exceptionally well on their first outing in the mall. We practiced and mastered the proper procedures of entering and exiting the mall, as it has double doors, and requires some skill level to get in and out successfully. We visited a couple of stores; some crowed with people, some crowed with merchandise, some empty with people, merchandise, and some with confined space for maneuvering. Rudy and Jenny performed exceptionally well in all situations presented!! We also made use of the elevator, and again, both parties performed so well! What a wonderful outing!”

Nick and Hershel

From our trainer Terry, in El Paso, who is working with Nick, who suffers from extreme anxiety, and his SDIT, American Staffordshire Terrier, “Hershel”.

Terry writes:

A good example of Nick and Hershel performing the Controlled Load and Unloading of a vehicle. Nick and Hershel also performed quite well in Controlled Entry Through the Building. Nick & Hershel are a fun team to work with – I always look forward to their training sessions!

Melissa and SDiT Bjorn

From our wonderful trainer, Terry, in El Paso, who is training with Melissa and her SDIT, Bjorn! Melissa suffers from have major depression, anxiety, ADD, and OCD. Her anxiety has many triggers; the biggest two lately have been extreme amounts of stress and claustrophobia. She also has naturally low blood pressure, and when she gets sick, it tends to drop even lower and she has been known to lose her balance or pass out. She has appointments at the end of the month with a Rheumatologist. Her PCP thinks there is a likely chance that she has Lupus and RA.

Terry writes:

This is a great picture of Melissa and Bjorn successfully completing “controlled load into vehicle”. Additional training covered; proper leash control, “sits on command”, “noise distraction”, “off lead heeling”, and “controlled unload out of vehicle”. All in all, things went exceptionally well, especially for the first session of hands-on-training. Melissa has only had this dog for two weeks, but you can definitely tell during the session that she has put a lot of work into training, that Bjorn already had training despite being a rescue, and that Melissa and Bjorn absolutely love each other. From all indications, she will continue to provide this passion as long as she has this dog. Melissa and Bjorn are a wonderful fit, and will do well throughout the program.”

Elizabeth and her “Bro”

From our wonderful trainer, Terry, in New Mexico. He is training with Elizabeth, who suffers from anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia, and her SDIT, “Bro”. Terry is doing a wonderful job of methodically working on each command required for the Public Access Test. So far, they have mastered Six Foot Recall on Lead, Downs on Command, and Sits on Command. Terry writes:

This latest session was wonderful. Elizabeth is completely committed to the training, and she and “Bro” have an exceptional bond. Today, they mastered “Off-lead” walking!!

They are progressing beautifully, and it is a pleasure to work with them.

Ed and Edison

From our wonderful trainer, Terry, who lives in El Paso. He is working with handler Edward, who suffers from PTSD and TBI, and his SDIT, Edison!

Terry writes:

“Today, I conducted Service Dog Training covering these following fields; “Sit Command”, “Down Command”, “Controlled Load and Unload into and out of Vehicle”, and “Socialization” in crowded and non-crowded areas. Both handler Edward and his Service Dog in Training, Edison, performed very well in the all the areas mentioned! Edison seemed very poised and confident in all public areas visited. Edward has the proper verbal commands down very well, as well as having good leash control when working. These two are working hard, and it shows!”

Warmest regards


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

Ed and SDiT Edison the Great Dane

A wonderful write-up from our trainer, Terry, in El Paso, who is working with Edward, who suffers from PTSD and TBI, and his Great Dane, SDIT, Edison!!  Terry writes:

“Good Day Edward & Edison!

I would like to thank you for our Saturday Dog Training Session.

 Leash Control: Was very good when you, Edward, gave your SDIT a command. You were in a great position for this execution, and you both did the action in unison.

Canine Drive: Edison has a strong desire to please you, Edward, the initiative to do great things, and stamina to make all of that happen. You also possess similar desires and motivation, coupled with the ability to control and maneuver him through his daily duties as a Service Dog.

You did well on the following tasks listed; Heeling through the building, Six foot recall on lead, Sits on command, Downs on command, and noise distraction.

I can tell that you and Edison have been doing a lot of work together. Please keep up the good work.  Please continue to work on the proper commands for each test areas.

This next session will include the following commands listed below.

  • Off lead
  • Approaching a building
  • Socialization with other dogs
  • Passive, active, and hand commands. All dogs should honor your commands verbally and with hand gestures.
  • Controlled unit and Load unit vehicle

Edward and Edison – I look forward to our next session! See you then!



Abby is a 2 year old deaf Dalmatian, who Michelle (also our trainer in New Mexico) has trained as her Service Dog using hand signals to perfection. Abby absolutely LOVES when that vest goes on and they go to work! Michelle has mobility and severe pain issues, and Abby’s bond with Michelle is so close that Abby can sense every time Michelle is in pain. She offers Michelle light mobility, and helps to calm her when her pain reaches unbearable proportions by alerting and snuggling. Abby can tell when Michelle is getting weak or sick even before Michelle realizes it.

Michelle drove all the way from New Mexico to have her dog properly evaluated by me for the Public Access Test. We did every single command in the test, and Abby was perfect. She went under at the restaurant, loaded and unloaded safely, can sit, down, sit/stay, down/stay, walk with dropped leash and stay in a perfect heel, is not fazed by visual distractions, and perfectly navigated through Target by a shopping cart, just in a heel, was able to have me take the leash while Michelle moved 20 feet away, and did meet and greets with children, male and female adults – everything. And she does it all with hand signals and leash work. Abby THRIVES at this – the attention she drew from shoppers was overwhelming – and she loved every minute of it!

Toward the end of the session, Michelle started looking pale. Abby immediately changed her focus to Michelle and I noticed Michelle’s color. Indeed, shortly after that, Michelle began developing a severe migraine. At that point, Abby was by her side, focused on Michelle, applying deep pressure and comforting her. Abby was the one who let us know her handler had had enough! (the test had already been passed).

Michelle has done an absolutely amazing job training Abby. She could have easily given up because training a deaf dog is obviously much harder than training a dog that can hear – but Michelle has worked tirelessly with Abby – never pushing her past her limits. Abby is gentle, takes treats delicately, and clearly defies any negative stereotypes about Dalmatians and their ability to be Service Dogs. You should see the joy on Abby’s face when that vest comes out – and the joy she feels is palpable when others ask to pet her. She even automatically goes into a “down” when a little child wants to pet her.

Abby and my Service Dog, Bonnie, loved being reunited. They met over a year ago. Michelle and her boyfriend Nate had a wonderful visit. I am so proud of the two of them!!

Again, congratulations to Michelle and dear, sweet Abby!  Laurie