Heartbeat’s newest therapeutic program:
K9 Healing Warriors
For those Warriors in WA state with TBI, PTSD and physical injuries, our program is set up to allow Wounded Warriors to get their lives back and be able to renegotiate the everyday challenges they face. Now they are not alone. The service dog gives the Warrior the confidence to go out into the community. He/she has his/her own buddy, who has his/her back.
After the success of our pilot study, Heartbeat is implementing this program, for Warriors in WA state, with the hopes of accommodating ten warriors and their dogs in training during the first year.
This program will work and train Warriors who already have their own young dog. The Warrior and service dog team will train together. Some of the training might include: turning lights off and on, waking Warriors from nightmares, accompanying the Warrior in public places, assisting in balance, assisting with prosthetic devices and performing calming behaviors to facilitate reorientation. Also, the hypervigilance that most Wounded Warriors feel is reduced with the service dog.
Heartbeat will work with Cascade Service Dogs in Olympia. Training is extensive and will last a minimum of one year. As with all our other therapies, Heartbeat pays for all the costs.
This program is available to any Veteran, in WA state, wounded or injured during Combat Deployment who served in GWOT to include OIF and OEF.
SF Soldier Mike and his Service Dog Leia, part of K9 Healing Warriors said “It cost me my health, family and restful nights sleep… But the future is mine… It will take no more from me.”
Wounded Warrior, Prior Army MP Finds Joy With His Service Dog Sunny Through Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors Service Dog Program, K9 Healing Warriors
After two tours one in Guantanamo Bay Cuba and the other one in Bagram Afghanistan I have been diagnosed with many ailments both physical and psychological. One of the big ones is PTSD. I get agitated and very hyper vigilant without having Sunny my Service Dog trained thru K9 Healing Warriors) around.
You would be able to notice my mood change without having Sunny next to me. I would have to say that Sunny balances me. She keeps me calm when I get upset or frustrated and keeps me grounded. she brightens up my day and everybody else’s day that she is around. The impact Sunny (as my Service Dog) has made on my everyday life has been extraordinary and to be able to travel with her everywhere has made my life much easier.
The best thing about it is sunny loves all the stuff that I do. she enjoys hiking, running, riding motorcycles, being around friends and family, and even swimming. The contribution that Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors made for me to be able to train with Sunny in the K9 Healing Warriors program and certify her as a service animal is greatly appreciated and something I will never be able to repay. I have to thank Janice, Helen, Sharon, and the Knights of Columbus for the contributions they made to Sunny and I.
A letter and pictures from a Wounded Warrior Spouse regarding Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors K9 Healing Warriors Program
Dear Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors
I am a spouse of a wounded warrior. I just wanted to reach out and explain how much this program has changed not only my husband’s life but mine as well. When I first met my husband he was a high functioning person and now he’s the complete opposite. While my husband was serving in the military he did acquire many different disabilities. My Husband shouldn’t be left alone. He is a danger to himself and others. He’s not mentally all their anymore.
He has no short term memory, no sense of day or time. He can’t make rash decisions. All of those things on top of his mental disabilities make it impossible for him to work. He tries really hard to work but he keeps getting fired due to his inability to perform.
We lost everything when he got out of the military. Heartbeat took us from being homeless living out of the car, to living in an apartment. Life isn’t easy being the sole provider. On top of working 2 jobs i have to take care of my husband and make sure he doesn’t do anything crazy. I love my husband so much, but it’s not easy. Some days we can’t even get to the front door without him freaking out. He can’t go anywhere or do anything unless I am with him. HBSWW recommended that we have our puppy become a service dog through K9 Healing Warriors.
My husband thought that was a great idea but wasn’t sure about it. He went and decided yes he could handle doing this training.
Here we are 3-4 months later and my husband can go places by himself. He is able to be more independent with his service dog. His service dog calms him down before he can start to have a freak out. The dog reminds him to take his medicine. When he is having a freak out the dog is trained to attack him with kisses and hugs… yes hugs! When going out in public his service dog is trained to block people from getting to close to my husband and to monitor him and ensure that he is safe and secure. He is so well trained in fact that he is able to sense when my husband is about to start having issues and can remove him from those situations and breaks his attention. The dog is literally trained to find the door in a store and take my husband through it to get him away from whatever it is that is triggering him.
Life is hard but Heartbeat has made life a little less stressful. I have never been so thankful. I can’t explain how much this program has helped us. Thank you so much for everything.
A grateful spouse
My husband told me that he really didn’t think the service dog program would really help. Now he depends on his dog for a lot. He said “I never Imagined a dog could save my life” . 😍 he’s doing so good! They think KAL is close to being able to test but he can’t test until he is 2! He’s not even 1 yet! He’s doing so amazing !
K9 Healing Warriors is so very grateful to Legend Shepherds (www.legendgsd.com), Breeders Candee and Fred Foss for donating show champion (see all his amazing accomplishments below) 2 Year old German Shepherd, Turner, to our program for Wounded Warriors. The picture below shows Turner with his new family, a Courageous Warrior Hero! Turner is already making a difference for this Warrior! It is now our turn to serve him!
Turner’s Show Champion Accomplishments:
- South Pacific Best Opposite Maturity
- South Pacific Best in Futurity
- American/Canadian Champion Legend’s You Aint Seen Nothin Yet, CHIC, CGC, HIC, TC
- OFA Hips, Elbows, Dentition, Heart, Thyroid and DM (Clear)
- Breeder: Candee and Fred Foss
- Legend Shepherds
- Quality – not Quanity – Health and Temperament are our #1 Focus.
K9 Healing Warriors
Wounded warriors often send words of appreciation. They’re families are grateful too. Sometimes they write letters. Sometimes they tell us in person. They let us know the huge impact our programs have on their lives.
All warriors and their families deserve our time and appreciation. Many organizations serve both wounded and non-wounded. We did at one time too. We realized that we could serve more wounded warriors if we focused completely on them.
Most of our programs are for both wounded and injured.
The military defines these terms differently. If the soldier is hurt in an accident while here at home, it’s called an injury. If the soldier is hurt while in a battle or war, it’s called wounded. That is also the term if the soldier is in a car accident while overseas.
At this time, Scuba Warriors serves wounded GWOT Warriors in WA State. IF you are a wounded warrior in another state, you are welcome to be in this program, BUT, unfortunately, we do not have funds for travel and lodging.
Heartbeat received a seed grant from Infinite Hero Foundation to start a limited Scuba Warrior expansion to our courageous wounded Marines in NC and Wounded Warrior Regiment East at Camp Lejeune. It IS the Vision of Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors® to take Scuba Warriors Nationally.
1. IF you are a dive shop or Dive Instructor that would like to be involved in Scuba Warriors in your state please contact us. IF you are a Dive Master or Dive Con certified and want to volunteer, please contact us.
2. IF you are a wounded warrior in a moderate to heavy military populated state and would like to see Scuba Warriors there, please contact us. IF you are a Command that would like to see Scuba Warriors come to you for your wounded warriors, please contact us.
3. Finally, even though our VISION is to take Scuba Warriors Nationally, we Can Not do this without YOUR HELP.
4. Please consider making a single donation or monthly donation to allow us to make Scuba Warriors Outreach a viable reality! DONATE HERE. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of these courageous Warriors that have given so much for our country!