Category Archives: Houston

Sarah and Lacey

From our trainer, Kendra, who is working with Sarah in Houston. Sarah has multiple medical conditions, including blood pressure and heart issues that cause dizziness and panic attacks

“I met with client Sarah and SDIT Lacey today. It was is a joy to work with these two! I did a evaluation on Lacey and she did wonderfully. She let me manipulate all parts of her body with no incident. When touching her teeth, she didn’t like it very much but she did let me, so I advised Sarah to work with Lacey and “brush her teeth” so to speak on a daily basis. Lacey is very bonded with Sarah and is always watching her. Lacey knows sit very well! She will sit on command. She does well heeling on and off leash, and is very treat motivated. She knows stay, leave it and off very well. After talking with Sarah about what she wants from Lacey, we have determined she will help with anxiety, she will get help if mom passes out, and will be able to bring mom her medications when mom isn’t able to get them.

I was able to train with Lacey for a bit after the evaluation and we worked on place. Mom will continue to work on all her basic commands. It was a pleasure to met this wonderful team.”

Ronnie and Roxy

A wonderful write-up from Kendra, our trainer in Houston, and her client, Ronnie, who is a Wounded Warrior with PTSD, anxiety and depression, and his SDIT, Roxy.

“I met at the mall with client Ronnie and SDIT Roxy. and as always it was a complete pleasure!!! Roxy entered the mall in a controlled manner and after we entered, we stood at the entrance to allow her to see and hear all the distractions. It was her very first time in the mall! I am amazed at the hard work and dedication that Ronnie puts forth with Roxy. At the entrance she sat and laid down. Once she was focused we continued on. We walked through the mall for an hour. We went into Game Stop and did two meet and greets. We walked on all different floors, hardwood, tile, stone, and carpet. We went into the department store and rode on the elevator for the first time, too! Roxy didn’t hesitate, was not fearful or nervous. She went on that elevator with confidence!

We walked through the bedding aisle, and she was unsure of it, so we continued to walk through there until she was more at ease. Client Ronnie also put her in a sit while we was in the bedding aisle and she did beautifully. We continued to walk the mall and even walked in the food court. We passed right next to a man holding a tray of food and she paid no attention to him; didn’t sniff at him or anything. We also sat at a table and Roxy naturally goes under the table. She was even falling asleep under there! There were TONS of distractions as the mall was very busy (more than normal), and Roxy’s focus always returned to Ronnie. Ronnie is a lot more confident having Roxy with him. We will continue with training in public and next week and will met at the toy store.”

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. “


Ronnie and Roxy

From our new wonderful trainer, Kendra, in Houston, who is working with Ronnie, who was diagnosed with PTSD and depression. He served in the Marines for 12 years and has been rated at 60% disabled for various reasons. He has panic attacks when in public or crowded confined spaces, and suffers from depression.“I met with my wonderful client Ronnie and his SDIT Roxy this morning. I did an assessment on Roxy and she did AWESOME! She let me touch all parts of her body and mouth with no problems what so ever. She already knows sit, down, stay, leave it, heel, drop it, and hugs. She is so very smart and catches on very fast! We met at a very busy dog park and she was still was able to follow commands. Wounded warrior Ronnie is excellent at training and working with her!

After the assessment, we did a training session. Roxy does heel with the occasional pull which we will continue to work on that. We greeted some dogs along the way and she said hello perfectly, And was able to come when he called to continue the walk. We passed other people, a stroller with a baby and Roxy didn’t pay no mind to them. We practiced walking and randomly stopping to place Roxy in a sit. This way she can get better at sitting on command. They will continue practicing this. He placed Roxy in a down/stay and walked about 30 feet away and called her. She did wonderfully. We talked about how to do the watch me command and the importance of it. This will be the homework. We also talked about what commands he wants Roxy to perform for him. Roxy has already started to alert him to nightmares. (What a very good girl!!) Roxy also has naturally started to do covers. I shook a mason jar full of coins next to Roxy and she didn’t budge, She was not bothered. She went through the agility course at the park and was great at it.

Her focus is on Ronnie, always looking out for him. Their bond is inseparable!!!! We went over and covered so much! It was and is a absolute joy to work with this team!!! Our next session will be in the mall.”



Caden and Cole

SO, SO PROUD of Caden and Cole, with now Service Dog, Axel!!!!! On my trip to Houston, I had the AMAZING pleasure of meeting the entire family. Mom, Kendra, is brilliant and SO good at multitasking – I was literally watching her in awe! 8 year-old Cole has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so Axel has been training with him and his mother to help stabilize his moods. As a happy “by-product”, Axel has also alerted naturally to younger son Caden’s hypoglycemia! We did the Public Access Test, and I was literally blown away by how incredible a trainer mom Kendra is. Axel performed every single command to perfection – and Kendra is so smart and intuitive that she can give commands to Axel verbally or using hand signals so quickly and efficiently while walking with Cole that I literally asked her if she had considered becoming a dog trainer. She has a lot on her plate, but again, Axel and Cole, with the constant supervision of Kendra, performed everything perfectly. Axel calms Cole when he is upset, applying deep pressure, alerts when Cole is having “episodes”, alerts to Caden’s hypoglycemia, and always has his eye out for where Cole is to ensure his safety. It was a fascinating experience and I am SO very proud of this family and their new Service Dog, Axel!!!!!

Congrats to JT and SD Maggie

A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO J.T. AND MAGGIE, IN HOUSTON, WHO PASSED THEIR P.A.T! I had the wonderful fortune of meeting 4 year-old J.T., who has autism, and his amazingly brilliant, dedicated, and kind parents in Houston to give J.T. and his now SD Maggie their final test. It was an incredible experience watching how much they have taught Maggie, how receptive she is to J.T., and how much of a difference their lives have changed as a result of being together! We went to Petsmart, and J.T. and Maggie were perfect – J.T. holds onto Maggie’s handle on her vest, and if J.T. starts to wander off, J.T.’s parents (always one of them present) give the command to hold on to Maggie, and J.T. does! Maggie herself knows all the dog commands beautifully, and is not distracted by anything. Her focus is always on J.T. If J.T. wanders off a bit, the parents just have to tell Maggie to “find the boy” and Maggie will lead them right to J.T. We also trained at Kohl’s, and it was just as wonderful. J.T. would walk next to Maggie, and if J.T. started to wander a bit, Maggie would instantly be by his side. We played some hide and seek games in the toy department of Kohl’s, and had so much fun. J.T. was enthralled by some of the toys at Kohl’s, and Maggie never left his side – no matter how long he looked! When J.T. has a bit of a meltdown, (which have decreased since having Maggie), J.T. tends to curl up in a ball on the floor – and Maggie will just step over him with her body covering him and J.T. calms down so much more. I am so proud of all the hard work this family has done, and feel absolutely confident that things will just get better and better for VERY smart J.T. and VERY smart SD Maggie! Again, congratulations!!!!!


4 year-old JT and his SDIT Maggie

From Wes, father to 4 year-old JT, who has high functioning autism, delayed verbal ability, and sensory difficulties. This family in Houston has done an amazing job training consistently with their son and his SDIT, Maggie, and will soon be taking the Public Access Test!

“Hi Laurie – As an update, we went to Space Center Houston last weekend. It was packed with families and school groups. We gave JT and Maggie about 10 minutes in an out of the way corner to get used to the sights, sounds and smells, then proceeded to tour the facility. JT held on tight to the handle on Maggie’s vest, allowing her to guide him through the crowd and overstimulating environment. They were inseparable and neither wanted to leave each other’s side! JT was able to participate in just about anything he wanted to with confidence! They climbed up and down multiple sets of stairs together and rode the tram tour to Apollo Mission Control. JT did have a couple sensory related meltdowns. One was in a very crowded walkway at the top of a flight of stairs and an elevator exit. While JT was lying on the ground, Maggie stood covering over the top of him and kept him from being stepped on. JT recovered much quicker than in the past, prior to Maggie. We were approached by one of the educators, who said she had seen many Service Dogs come through and felt Maggie was the calmest and most confident one yet!”


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)”