Meet Our Pack

Jim and Samson

Jim Day and his service dog Samson reside in Bloomington, Indiana. Army veteran served with D3/1st 11th LIB. 23rd Inf. Americal Div. Vietnam 1970-71. I corp. M0S: 11 BRAVO. “Grunt”. E 3/1st 11 brigade 23rd Inf. Americal Div. ” Sniper”. Company A 501st. Aviation Brigade, 71st Assault Helicopters, “Door Gunner”on a UH-1. Jim also served his community as a police officer in Plymouth, Indiana for 20 years.

John and Cash

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John entered the service July 7, 1966 in the United States Navy. After basic training at Great Lakes, he was transferred to a school for training as a Navy corpsman. After medical school he was sent to Camp Lejune for training as a combat corpsman with Marine Corps . He spent the next 6 months stationed at the Naval Hospital in Key West, Florida. In November 1967, John was transferred to 1st/FSR/FLC Maintenance Battalion in Danang, South Vietnam. I Corps. After Vietnam, he spent the rest of his time at a Naval Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut, went to University of Wisconsin Parkside, and worked at J. I. Case before moving back to Kentucky where he retired as a supervisor of installations of indoor and outdoor bleachers. John have 2 children and five grandchildren.

Joe and Stewert

After serving in the United States Marine Corps and working for the Indiana Department of Corrections for 16 years, Joe suffered from a stroke that left the right side of his body with limited mobility. While learning to navigate his new life with a disability and with the need to stay at home more regularly, the situation was beginning to take a real toll on Joe’s self esteem. Joe was blessed to be given a service dog named Stewert. Not only is Stewert a great companion, but he helps Joe with his stability and mobility. Joe’s increased self-esteem and confidence, thanks to Stewert, has given Joe an opportunity to volunteer in his wife’s school. This has taught the students not only about living life to its fullest, but how to respect service dogs and those that have one.

Matt and Preston

Matt was born and raised in Independence, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Louisville. Matt served his country in the Marine Corps. He is married with two children. Matt had no real plan for re-acclimating to civilian life and did not realize how his tours in Iraq truly affected him. His challenges include but are not limited to anxiety, anger, and depression. Preston (Matt’s Service Dog) is a red nose 2 y/o pit bull terrier. It was recognized that Preston had some special qualities and after evaluation by a trainer he was placed in a program to learn basic obedience before returning for further service dog training.
Preston and Matt begin their training together and while it was not always easy, Preston is providing Matt with invaluable assistance, that only a service dog can provide. Together Matt and Preston are building a bridge that eases Matt’s stress.

Renee and Pearl

This hero team came together to help Renée after years of emergency services work. Pearl now works night and day; she chases away night terrors. During the day she gives hugs to co-workers who are exhibiting stress and is a gentle therapy dog for elders of a local health campus. A few times each day she gets to just be a very happy dog running through a field and swimming in a creek. An unexpected positive result of the team has been that Renee’s world now seems much smaller, and less full of dangerous strangers due to Pearl being an ambassador, introducing the team to new friends and saying “hello” to old friends.

Gloria and Lizzie

Gloria just celebrated her 71st birthday in December. She suffers from extreme depression, PTSD, anxiety, balance issues and more. Lizzie helps her daily, even when Lizzie is not wearing her vest. Before Lizzie, Gloria had a dog named Bear, a loving Rottweiller, but he passed and she still thinks about him; he was 14 when he passed. Gloria went into the Army in 1982. She wanted to go full time, but had three young children, so she joined the reserves. She was a petroleum supply specialist and also water purification- from 1982 until 1992. She was activated in 1991 for Operation Dessert Storm. She got out of the reserves and went to semi-truck driving school, and drove over the road until 2005. Gloria enjoyed the job,but was suffering from panic attacks and her vision was going due to Hystoplasmosis, therefore she couldn’t drive at night very well. She told her dispatcher she would rather give it up rather than hurting someone or herself from poor vision. The next year Gloria applied for disability. Gloria enjoys helping others or visiting the shelters and sometimes volunteering. She says, “animals are my people; they don’t complain, don’t care if you cant sing, never judge- just love.” She also enjoys gardening, sewing, fishing, and easy listening music. Lizzie has her friend Bella and three other cats in the house- they all get along very well. Gloria has three grown children, two grandsons, which are married, and a set of twin great-grandsons.

Chuck and Kylie

Chuck is a Vietnam veteran, retired Battalion Chief with the City of Bloomington Fire Department, worked with numerous youth groups, tutored, used his Magic Tricks to mesmerize children and adults alike. In 2006 he did a solo bicycle ride to Branson, Missouri to honor veterans and firefighters. In 2012, our lives changed in an instant when Chuck survived a stroke which left his left side paralyzed. His mobility has been difficult but his spirit supersedes all negatives. We were gifted Kylie in 2016 and she has been amazing with and for Chuck. Service dogs really do change lives. I don’t think we would be able to do a fourth of the things we do if we didn’t have Kylie.

Julie and Wyatt

Juls is a disabled U.S. Navy veteran. She has had Wyatt for three years. She is active in Healing Reins, Healing Arts and Healing Waters.

Larry and Reese

My name is Larry Arthur. I served 4 years in the United States Army and additional 8 years in the Indiana Army National Guard, while on active duty I was sent to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and then into Iraq and Kuwait for Operation Desert Storm. Due to my combat service, I suffer from various medical problems. My service dogs name is Reese. I have had him for approximately 2 years. I could not have imagined the impact Reese would have in my life. Reese not only provides unconditional love but support as well. When the darkness comes I know Reese is there. Having Reese has not only given me my life back but my family as well. Having Reese has allowed me to be an active member in my life.

Jim and Sully

Sully was an owner surrender who lived outside with his brother in a 4 x 4 pen. He is a graduate of Camp K9 with the Humane Society of Oldham County. Jim was becoming quite a shut-in, avoiding the general public at all costs, until Sully came to the rescue! While accompanying Jim in college, Sully learned quite a bit about Business and Computer Science, and today Sully puts this knowledge to work to help Jim as a Technology Consultant for Accenture.

Tommy and Bell

Tommy served in the Army for 2 years before joining the National Guard for 6 years.  After recently losing his mom and beloved Labrador, he found it very difficult to get out of bed in the mornings.  He didn’t feel he had anything to look forward to and he simply felt lonely.  “Paws-Ability picked the BEST dog for me.  We are a match made in Heaven!”, Tommy boasted.  Tommy is thoroughly enjoying taking her for walks and going to training with her and practicing her commands.  “She gives me a reason to wake up every morning.  She makes me so happy!”, Tommy joyfully exclaimed.

Rick and Willow

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Rick is a Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. While serving in Iraq he was hurt with a head injury, as well as a leg injury and was brought back to California where he later had a total knee replacement and partial shinbone replacement. Rick retired in February 2013. He was also an iron worker for 20 years. Rick is married and has 4 grown children who were in the military, but are no longer in the service. Rick has PTSD and has a hard time with his anxiety when going out of his home. Rick stated “it’s so easy for someone to say- just get out of the house, go somewhere, enjoy yourself”, but, truth be known, it’s much harder when you have a disability you can’t see. He is surprised how, Willow, his service dog makes it possible for him to live an easier life. If it wasn’t for a service dog, Rick said he would still be trapped in his own home. Service dogs really do change lives for the better. It did his and his family’s life.

John and Bell

Over the years Jon has rescued dozens of dogs and has provided a loving home for all of them. Jon, a Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. Shortly after that, he and his wife, Lynn, lost their last rescue dog.  ALS is a terrible fatal disease and he is now totally paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. He is unable to do anything.  When Lynn heard of this opportunity she immediately responded that they would be honored to foster two puppies who will go on to serve other veterans.  “When Bell and Major joined our family it was love at first sight. They brought a big smile to Jon’s face and joy into our household. Jon said they have given him a reason to live.”

Bert and Liberty

On March 15, US Marine, Bert, was gifted Liberty at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Bloomington, IN. Bert and Liberty began their training together in Terre Haute the same week. As they continue this process and bond together we will continue to post updates! Welcome to the pack Bert and Liberty!!

Susan and Hank

Susan joined the Army Reserves in 1989 working in ICU and emergency rooms in the civilian world and studying trauma with the military. She served in multiple military hospitals from Tripler in Hawaii to Landshut in Germany. In 2007, a unit that she was attached to deployed to Tikrit, Iraq.  After her time in Tikrit, and Ballad working ICUs and EMTs (emergency room) she came home with some ‘difficulties interacting’ with people. Eleven years later, she became close friends with a Veteran and her Service Dog. That friendship led her to Paws-Ability, and a chance for her and her best buddy Hank to develop a better quality of life. She is excited and grateful to become a part of this unique Team.

Skyler and Lyric

Skyler Dorsett, retired Army Staff Sergeant. Two deployments to Afghanistan, received Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Purple Heart while on deployment. Total time of service, 9 years. One son named Marcus.

Russ and Major

Russell T. Bridges is a retired Staff Sergeant of the Utah ARMY National Guard. His military career began in 1998 right after graduating high school and he medically retired in 2006. Shortly before his deployment in July of 2004, Russell married the love of his life, Roxanne, gained two amazing daughters and their son would be born in October of 2004. In August of 2004 Russell acquired a L5-S1 spinal vertebrae disc herniation while on active orders of deployment to Afghanistan. Russell opted for a spinal fusion, enabling him to meet up with his unit after healing and rehabilitation. During the initial and also secondary operation, errors were made which resulted in a spinal cord injury. Untimely, Russell was medically discharged and the uphill battle for medical care and benefits began. Russell and his wife had to fight tooth and nail to acquire the needed equipment amongst other needs for his new way of life. After multiple years of learning the ins and outs of the VA system and medical system to obtain the equipment and or benefits needed, Russell is proud to be in a position to assist other veterans in a similar position get what they need. Being a paralyzed veteran gives him a unique ability to relate to another paralyzed veteran and assist with concerns or issues that an able bodied individual may not understand. Russell’s passions include service animals and helping veterans. When not with his family, Russell is devoting every spare minute to helping veterans in any way possible and doing what he can with service animal organizations. 

Dwayne and Rosie

I am an Army Veteran that specialized as an Avionics Mechanic for all Army helicopters and became a Crew Member for several aircraft including the Huey UH-1, BlackHawk UH-60 and the Chinook CH47. After proudly serving our country both here and overseas, I retired as an executive with Champion Window Company. My loving wife Jennifer and I live in Southern Indiana. Now I enjoy competing and volunteering my time to teach others the sport of long range shooting. This has helped relieve some of the stress but did not help the anxiety or nightmares. I was slowly starting to close out all of my family and friends. Fortunately my wife is strong enough to make me aware of this and put me in contact with people who had been in my shoes and understood what I was going through. I’m good at helping others, but horrible at asking for help or admitting I need help. Thought I was doing well at hiding it… guess not. After witnessing what dogs have done for other Veterans and First Responders and the transformation that they had gone through, I realized I could no longer do this on my own. As fate would have it, Rosie and I met at one of the picnics for Paws-Ability. Rosie and I formed an instant bond.  TO BE CONTINUED!!!

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