Category Archives: El Paso

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

Look whose adopted beautiful Nelly!

Look whose adopted beautiful Nelly! Nelly was rescued and fostered by Cherry Jenkins of In Dog We Trust!! Jason traveled all the way from El Paso to meet Nelly! Our trainer, Michelle, in New Mexico, will be training him.

Jason is a Wounded Warrior who served for 12 years. He suffers from PTSD, TBI, frequent migraines, flashbacks, night terrors, and anxiety. Let’s hope wonderful Nelly will be his best companion to help him as a Service Dog for all his troubles!!!

Beto and his SDiT Osito

From our trainer Michelle, who is in New Mexico.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with Beto and his SDiT Osito. Beto is a Vietnam Veteran with memory loss, diabetes and agent orange.

Training went well and we worked on making sure Beto knows how to hold the leash to prevent Osito from running off when the team works together. Osito also worked on “Leave it.” He does that perfectly! While working on Sit/stay and down/stay, not so much. I have learned from watching this team that SDiT Osito needs to be at Beto’s feet in case something happens with Beto’s medical condition, as Osito is extremely bonded to Beto. SDiT Osito has also learned when Beto says “Medicine” he comes and alerts Beto to take his meds! This is awesome, as it was a concern in the beginning.

SDiT Osito does alert to Beto’s diabetes – low and high! Good work team! I believe that with the new training, Osito will be ready for testing within the next 2 visits. He is a perfect little dog, and is still getting used to his vest – he is adorable.

Great work Team…. Keep up the work and training!

Beto and Osito

Another wonderful update from our trainer Michelle, in New Mexico, who is working with Beto, a Wounded Warrior who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and has diabetes, and his SDIT, Osito!

Michelle writes:

“I met with Beto and SDiT Osito. It was a good visit. However, Beto’s short term memory is quickly fading. He was not able to remember the things we talked about regarding commands. However, he was able to remember to check his blood sugar when Osito began kissing him and alerted to high sugar levels in excess of 250; scary!!! AWESOME JOB OSITO!!!!!!

We also worked on “leave it”, and by the end of the small session OSITO would not take it unless told he could have the treat!!!!!

Beto’s wife, Maribel, was out of town taking care of family, and was unable to help with the training these last 2 weeks. She reassured me these next two weeks she will help more.

We did get SDIT Osito to start wearing his vest, which came in the mail. Maribel will be doing some alterations so that it doesn’t hurt Osito when he wears his vest. The xs is still too large, and patches are being sewn on.

I still have high hopes for this team, they just need reminders. We will work with things like sticky notes, writing pads, etc. Beto loves his Osito SO very much!”


SDiT Osito

I met with Beto today and his very amazing SDiT Beto.  Today we focused on getting his baby’s vest ordered with patches and a few training items from Petsmart.  We got training treats and leash (retractable) and worked on sit/down/stay while at petsmart.    Osito, is used to being off leash and just walking around with dad.  I reminded Beto, that he had to keep him on the leash and work on training him with the Clicker, and both positive and treats.  Beto is also going to work with his wife on treats for medicine reminders.  (thinking a little peanut butter on a spoon – Osito’s favorite).  Beto is also going to start to keep a log to see when Osito begins to lick him, which he will begin checking his sugar levels to find out if he is high or low glucos.  Great idea…..

Thank you Petsmart @ Sunland Park (El Paso) for making sure we didnt need any help and were able to find the training treats ok.  Especially after a female customer tried telling me that blue buffalo was killing dogs, I kindly told her, that I was a service dog trainer, hence my shirt, and as my dog ate blue buffalo (Grain free) that it was fine.  So I appologized to Beto for the interruption, as he was not concerned.

Beto and SDiT Osito

From our trainer, Michelle, who is in New Mexico. She is working with Beto. Beto is a 62 year-old Vietnam veteran that was affected by Agent Orange. He has been given a 100% disability rating (90% service-connected) by the VA and has several different issues, including PTSD, Diabetes Mellitus 2, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Neuropathy, Tinnitus and hearing loss (wear hearing aids) and memory loss. Because of the memory loss, he forgets to inject and take his medications (currently 27 pills daily, 4 shots daily of insulin, 1 shot weekly of Methotrexate and one infusion monthly of Actemra.) He uses a cane or walker because of the RA and neuropathy. His psychologist, Dr. Rebecca Mitchell in the Mental Health Division of the VA Clinic in El Paso, TX referred Beto to Service Dog Express, and Michelle agreed to take this wonderful, loving, upbeat gentleman and his SDIT, Osito on as a client, traveling all the way from Elephante Butte, NM, to El Paso!! Now THAT’s a dedicated trainer!

Michelle writes:

“I met with Beto and SDiT Osito for the second time. Beto and Osito are doing wonderfully. This visit, Beto’s wife was more involved with the training since Beto has a little memory loss and is having a hard time remembering when certain trainings need to occur.

Beto’s wife will help to encourage SDiT Osito to jump into Beto’s lap for medicine reminders, twice per day. In addition, Beto will try to remember to check his blood sugar at the times SDiT Osito licks on him to find out where his blood sugar levels are. The only other training Osito needs outside of specifics, because Beto has trained Osito so well, is the learn down/sit and stay until recalled. That is ok, it will come!”


Congressional Inquiry to the VA for SD costs

OK! THIS IS SERIOUS!!! What I need from as many Texas wounded warriors as possible is an email or documentation regarding any physicians, counselors, psychiatrist, etc., who have “recommended” that each of you would benefit from a Service Dog. Congressman Pete Gallego’s office is taking on this matter of the VA saying veterans can benefit from Service Dogs, but the VA refuses to pay for it. PLEASE take the time to send me the information so we can get this changed – even if you already have been through the training process, you deserve reimbursement. My direct email is [email protected]. If you are in the middle of the training process or about to begin, you deserve reimbursement. But I NEED YOUR HELP to make this work. Here is the latest email and phone call I received from Gallego’s office. Of course, I will be filling out the privacy release form for myself to go ahead with these inquiries today. This currently applies to Wounded Warriors living in Texas.


I have attached a privacy release form for you to fill out yourself. I am going to send an inquiry to the VA as to why they do not pay for the dogs that they are prescribing to Veterans. On the second page of the form make sure you write in detail who it is that writes the prescriptions as well as who makes the decision that the Vet needs a service dog. If we can get the VA to pay for the dogs, it would really help these guys out and it would probably streamline the process and standardize it as well. If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to call me. On a personal note, as a Veteran I wanted to thank you for making this your life’s work!

Kind regards,

Joseph Van Kuiken
Office of Congressman Pete P. Gallego (TX 23)”