Testimonials [Archive]

“Gus”

I cannot thank you and TADSAW enough. It already has made so much of a difference. Thank you for allowing me to train Gus even with him being a little chihuahua. He came into this not even having one single command or even any social skills (my fault for not integrating him into the dog parks and such) and in just 5 weeks, 10 sessions, 1 practice PATT (Public Access Temperament Test) and the PATT for a total of 6 weeks/12 sessions my Gus went from my companion to my third leg in a tripod. He makes me stable and able to live my life more normally.

“Shay”

I am still in training with my dog Shay, but so far having her with me has made a huge difference. I still have anxiety in public, but not as much. I am able to start work this Wednesday, she is there when I’m sad, and just her presence makes me feel safe. We have come so far in just a month. Even my friends have noticed the change in me, I cant wait till we start the service dog training. She’s one command away from her good citizens certification.

“Kizar”

Fantastic Story in From Leah Patterson, TADSAW Trainer; Tennessee

This dog has changed this man is so many ways i can’t even know where to begin.

Eric was coming to training a few weeks ago and was side swiped head on. When his mirror busted off it hit his window and all the debris hit him in the face. It sent him into a panic attack flashback and Kizar not affected by the accident crawled right on his lap between him and the steering wheel kissing his face bringing him back to the real world.

He has thanked me every single week for finding his perfect battle buddy. Kizar does everything from waking him from nightmares, reminding him to take his meds, finding his truck in a crowded parking lot and helping him exit a crowd of people or during a panic attack.

“With a dog by their sides the warriors don’t have to rush, push, or try to force things forward.  It doesn’t work. Not anymore.  Hurrying, or impatience, will not speed up the process, or their journey.  The answer, our warriors with PTSD need to fully immerse themselves into, is the moment.  What better way to do so than with a dog who is the epitome of exemplifying being absorbed in the moment.  Thunder comes, storms come, and lightning flashes.  And it is frightening.  But storms don’t last forever and with their dog by their side the damage can be minimal.  And perhaps, just perhaps, when our warriors have exhausted everything, it is at that precise moment that it is up to their dogs.”

Patsy Swendson / Co Founder / Director Emeritus

“Too”

Since beginning the program, I knew that Too and I would ultimately be in public places and needed to handle this task proficiently. So I found her a little boy’s rain slicker in a resale store. I used a red sharpie to mark down her back. S. I. T. (Service Dog In Training under the letters).

We have gently asked our surrounding community if it is okay to come into their establishments so we may train in the public arena. We have only been denied one time. We have been in Wal-Marts, Petsmarts, Lowes, Home Depots, HEBs, Walgreens, CVS, a variety of second hand stores, many restaurants, Whole Foods, Central Market, and many other public places. Too is doing her teacher and her human mom PROUD!!! She has never caused a problem in public. She minds her business and her manners. In a recent trip to HEB with our trainer, Dianne, we were told by her; “That’s impressive!” when Too walked very closely to the cold cut section while never even turning to look at the meats that were at her nose level.

I don’t know if Too is an exceptional dog or if it is that we have an exceptional trainer. All I know is that I am so comforted and supported when I can have my wonderful “Battle Buddy” with me. It is especially helpful when we are allowed to be together in the VA.

I am a Desert Storm veteran. I have been struggling with PTSD for over 20 years now. I kept thinking every new year that eventually the PTSD would magically get better. No such luck! Six years ago, I attended a Vets Journey Home weekend as a participant. That was the beginning turning point in my life. I quit dying one day at a time and began living them one day at a time.

I was diagnosed with a brain aneurism just after submitting my completed application package to TADSAW. I was sure my hospitalization and recuperation period would knock us out of the program. Much to my surprise and glee, TADSAW saved our place in line. Too and I began training as soon as I had healed enough from what I call my “upstairs repairs”.

Today, I had the honor to tell a veteran at the VA about the TADSAW program. He and his wife were curious and brave enough to ask me about Too. They wrote the website information down and were going to go online and check out TADSAW as soon they returned home to Killeen.

I cannot begin to express my sincere gratitude enough to the TADSAW program. I am already feeling positive results from being able to spend more time with Too. She is so excited on “work” days. When I dress her, she takes on a very professional “dogatude”. When I take her slicker and lead off she returns to a household dogatude. She is such a blessing to me!!! I am working hard at our training. I can hardly wait until “graduation day”. I know she will look SO glamorous in her TADSAW Service Dog vest!!!

Thank all of you SO VERY VERY MUCH!!!

As Always, And Ever Grateful,
Lee LeTeff, Desert Storm Vet and Warrior in Training

“As a combat vet 3 times in Afghanistan I would like to say thank you for what you do for us, I know the struggle and I am grateful to know that folks like you have our back. A small back story if you don’t mind of myself, I first deployed in 2010-2011, 2012-2013 and again in 2014 my wife was the first to pick up on my changes and how I don’t interact with our children even my new born who is 3 months old now, so she decided to have our dog evaluated to be my service dog. Without folks like you and the support of our family I wouldn’t be here today. So from the bottom of my heart and soul thank you!”

“Argos”

“This last weekend I went with my friends and family to a street festival spanning several blocks and took just as many to find a parking spot. My daughter had an accident and we had to walk back to the car without the rest of the group. My dog Argos is still in training through TADSAW and Total Canine Care in Clarksville TN. I had Argos in one hand and my daughter in the other. I talked to Argos and knew we would be OK. It was having my Argos by my side that kept me from complete panic and mental breakdown. He got me through what would have been a terrifying event. I know you get a lot of stories, I just wanted to share mine. We had a victory! Together as a team me and Argos. We found the car through some scary places.
So thank you again, it means so very much to me what you do.”

B.

“Chelsea”

Chelsea and I are team 0016. I don’t know how to tell you how much having her with me has meant to me. Last month I was able to go to a movie for the first time in about 25 years. Having her with me makes life easier and I feel more able to go out in the world instead of just staying at home and avoiding people all the time.

Thank you.

WC

“Moses”

Thank you so much for everything you have done to help me! He has changed my life for the better; even my parents, my Auntie, Uncle, and my friends can see that I am so much more happier than I was before and it is because of Moses! 🙂 I have taken Moses to so many places, to include the mall, the lake, a running trail, Red Lobster, Applebee’s, Barnes and Nobles, the library, and other shops to keep him socially interacting while at the same time I too am socially interacting instead of being a hermit crab in my room and in a little bit Moses and I are going to church for the first time together! I have told a lot of people about TADSAW when they tell me how well-behaved he is to try to spread the word about the life-changing affects TADSAW has had on my life.

I miss being there in Texas with all of you; there is something very special about being surrounded by a support system as you, Bart, and Carolyn who did so much to help me even before you guys ever met me, and for that I appreciate all the work you all do everyday to help Veterans like me. It is because of you guys that I now have a loyal, faithful Buddy who will never leave me side! Thank you so much!
Very Respectfully,

C. and Moses

When I returned from Iraq, I was broken and life wasn’t the same. The experience forever changed my life, some for the good, some for the bad. One thing I knew though, I wanted a dog. I found my dog in a Craigslist ad and off to a small Texas town I went to pick her up. I could tell she was a special dog more so than any other dog I had every owned before. The effects of my time in war were starting to take its toll on me however. While watching TV one evening with this lump of brown fur in my lap. I saw a program on NATGEO about an Iraqi War vet that had a service dog and I wanted part of that. I searched the Internet for a program that would allow me to use my dog as my companion. I found TADSAW and contacted the director. Soon I found myself training side-by-side with this wonderful beast. After several months of training and a whole lot of love, I find myself with a constant companion I can take anywhere and is my source of strength. She helps me face life, has my back, wakes me when the nightmares come, comforts me when I just don’t feel right and makes me get off my couch and interact with the world. If I hadn’t found TADSAW I would hate to think how my life might have turned out. Not only has this lump of brown fur helped me, she has helped my family. I just can’t thank TADSAW enough for letting me get my life back.

Andrew C Pastusic Sr.; SFC, US Army
Electronic Warfare/Counter IED
Al Kut Iraq 08-09

“Asia”

After being deployed twice, once to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, I have not been the same person I used to be. There seemed to have been something missing and yet at the same time I gained some unpleasant things like PTSD, depression, loneliness, vigilance, etc.

Since I have had Asia, my service dog, she has given me back my spark. She’s my companion. I have her to talk to about anything and she will be there and listen with her tail wagging.

When I feel alone, she’s there to lay by me, comfort me and keep me warm. She has made me become more social with other people and it’s a good feeling to have someone ask about her. She’s special, she’s my friend. It doesn’t matter how tough of a day I’ve had, once I get home and see her, her goofiness makes me laugh and makes me forget all about it.

Benjamin B.

“Kingsley”

In every way that I could think of at this moment of how Kingsley helps me. He is laying next to me as I type these very words to you. How every single day without fail, he wakes up with me…licking my hand and whole body wagging along with that tail of his. He is forever grateful to me, as I am forever grateful to him. He fills my darkest moments with smiles and soft nudges. He has been to the darkest of places and never left my side. Kingsley’s love has never faltered or failed even when he knows he has done wrong. He never misses a beat…never misses a moment. Kingsley is the best thing that has happened to me. I have had PTSD for such a long time. I began to accept that this would be my way of life…but Kingsley had a different idea in mind. This ever faithful companion has showed me life again and that nothing has to be done on your own. He is a true friend, who is always there ready to take a walk, or just sit on the couch. Either way…this dog will be happy…happy to have changed my life.

Michael

“Katie”

I deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005 and again in 2007. I am married and have two boys that noticed the difference when I returned home. Since returning from Iraq I have had anxiety & sleep problems. The concern for my health grew and I noticed that my German shepherd “Katie” would keep me calm and focused. We have had Katie since she was a puppy and she is now 7 years old. Katie helping me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) helps me keep my family & life together.

I was talking with a fellow Marine about PTSD and he mentioned the Penny’s From Heaven Foundation and their therapy dogs. They also had a new program Train a Dog – Save a Warrior. I was excited to hear about these programs and I enrolled Katie in both. The program has worked out for us & Katie is now CGC, ATT, & therapy dog certified. Through these programs I have been able to spend more time with my service dog.

For others out there suffering with an invisible disability like PTSD there is a solution. I would recommend a dog to warriors to help in their treatment. I still take meds and go to therapy but having Katie as a service dog has helped me through some tough times. My dog lets me know that I am going to be OK when my anxiety builds up and when she wakes me from nightmares. Katie & I make a great team.

Thank you Penny’s From Heaven Foundation
GySgt Henry Idar

“Luther”

Thank you all who made this possible! It has been a life changing event for me in so many ways! It is hard to express it all. “Luther” is such a wonderful blessing and the support of trainer LaDonna and her husband Dan is so wonderful and caring. It makes me feel so much at peace and in caring, trusting hands, surrounded by friends that are taking care of me. God bless all of you involved.

Sam Summey
Desert Storm