BBSD SUCCESS STORIES

Story by Jeremy Moore

My name is Jeremy Moore, I am a disabled veteran, who suffers from PTSD. I was not able to go into public unless I was heavily medicated. I missed out on a lot of family events due to this. Life with PTSD is difficult on good days. The lack of sleep due to nightmares, the constant hyper-vigilance, panic attacks, and depression among other injuries takes a toll on anyone. The mind and body can only take so much. The veteran’s administration’s cure is to shove pills down your throat to silence the symptoms, but they do nothing to help with the underlying problems.

I had read about how service dogs had help change the lives of other veterans and tried to find a local organization to get a dog. I hit roadblock after roadblock. Either there was a yearlong waiting list or it cost too much. I am married and have 4 kids; my needs take a back seat to them.

Then one day my therapist at the VA told me about a local veteran who was starting his company to train service dogs. I contacted Battle Buddy Service Dogs of Kansas City, MO (BBSD) and was able to get right into the program. Mark and Julie Heimkes were a tremendous help as not only did they find me an awesome dog at the local shelter, but they started to give me my life back.

Since joining the program I was able to go to the Missouri Capitol and testify before a House Committee concerning service dogs. I took my daughter to a father daughter dance. I have been able to help my wife with shopping, take my kids to the zoo. You see my service dog, Bella, enables me to relax. Bella watches everything for me and she alerts me when someone is getting close. She will also watch my back, which is AMAZING.

Without BBSD, I probably would not be typing this letter. The mind can only take so much and there are more than 22 Veterans who commit suicide every day. I would have been one of those Veterans.

The services BBSD provides are not just helpful they are life- saving, both for the dogs and the Veterans.

Thank you for support of BBSD.

Jeremy Moore, USAF

 


Story by Kevin Owens

My name is Kevin Owens. I would like to thank you for your support and contributions to Battle Buddy Service Dogs.  Every related item and every dollar can make a difference in the life of a Veteran.

I would like to tell you about myself and then about how Battle Buddy Service Dogs has changed my life.

I am a Combat Veteran from the Gulf War.  I suffer from PTSD, severe depression and anxiety.  We as Combat Veterans call these problems that follow us through life, “Demons”.  These demons follow us and affect our life every day in some way or another and each of us differently. Some of the issues I have gone through are; I very rarely left the house. I would not go shopping, would not go to events for my children, would not go out with my family, you get the idea.  I was a home body and when I did go out it was late at night when people were sleeping so I did not have social encounters.  Because of my condition I have had 3 failed marriages, been homeless, broke, and been to the lowest point anyone could be in life.

Three years ago I sought out a German Shepard puppy. She actually picked me.  Her name is Kloe.  As we grew together I taught her some simple and basic commands and at the time did not even consider using her as a service dog.  When she was a year old I had started hearing more about different Service dog programs although most were out of State.  I applied for a couple and was made false promises.  When Kloe was just under 3 years old a friend told me about Battle Buddy Service Dogs.  He told me I could even use my own dog, I was very excited.  I made contact with BBSD and the process began.

What has BBSD done for me and my Service Dog?  Please let me tell you.  BBSD has changed my life forever.  This program is unique because we, the Veterans are trained to train our dogs.  Not only does this help us to communicate with our dog but with our trainer and socialize with other like- minded Veterans.

With this program we are able to work one on one with a trainer and also in a group environment.  Training takes place in public places at times and this is not only for the dog but for us too.  The dogs will react to our stress, anxiety, and we have to calm down to get them to calm down.  It is a win- win situation.  Since I have become part of, trained with, and graduated from Battle Buddy Service Dogs, I take my Service Dog everywhere I go.  She helps me cope with different situations, crowds, stressful experiences. I get out and about. I go shopping with my wife, to school events, out during the day. She wakes me from night terrors, helps me out of chairs, watches my back, and I can use her to maintain my personal space.

I did not intent to write a book but I wanted to make sure it was understood the good Battle Buddy Service Dogs does and with the help of donations they can continue helping Veterans with PTSD/TBI.

Thank you and God Bless,

Kevin Owens, US Army

 


Story by Mike Poland

My name is Mike Poland. I served in the Army in Vietnam in 1970-71. I have suffered from PTSD since then.

In November 2013 my wife was looking for a canine friend for her dog so we went to the local animal rescue to meet Ruby, a blue heeler. She took an instant dislike to my wife’s dog foiling that plan. While chatting with one of the ladies at the rescue, it came up that I had recently lost my Great Pyrenees to bone cancer. She said, “Then you need to meet Nemo”. My mouth said “ok”, but heart said “I am no way ready for another dog”.

She brought Nemo out, a gangly 7 month old Anatolian Shepherd. Within a couple of minutes he had melted into me and looked into my soul. Before I knew what I was saying, I told my wife I had to take him home. And so he came to live with us.

A few months later my wife observed Nemo interacting with me when I would become agitated. He would take my hand and hold it in his mouth, or melt into me until I calmed down. She suggested I look into making him my service dog. I discussed it with my VA psychiatrist and he agreed that a service dog would help me.

A friend told me about Battle Buddy Service Dogs. I soon joined the program and started training with Nemo.

It has been such a blessing for me. Nemo has passed his Canine Good Citizen test, as well as his Public Access test. He goes with me everywhere I go and has changed my life in so many ways.

 I can now go more confidently into crowded venues, and gladly join in family gatherings and parties that I would previously avoid. I am no longer so reclusive, and by him telling me when I start to get too agitated I can remove myself before I get too stressed.

I wish I would have found Battle Buddy Service Dogs years ago. It has made an unbelievable change in my life.

Thank you again for your support.

Mike Poland, US Army

 


Service Dog vs Demons

Trapped in darkness, held at bay

Demons control me night and day

There were days I wanted to die

A few times I did try

One day I found my escape

A dog that would save my fate

My service dog will be by my side

Help me escape to get outside

To fight the demons that hold me down

My Service Dog is not a cure

She helps me deal with problems I endure

My Service Dog may not defeat the evil

She will lead me away from it

Written By: Kevin Owens | God Bless all Service Animals | Thank you Battle Buddy Service Dogs, Inc.

 


Battle Buddy Service Dogs

Battle Buddy Service Dogs, Inc. operates strictly on donations. There is no cost to the veterans for the adoption, training and most veterinary care during the training period.  Battle Buddy Service Dogs, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Non Profit Tax Exempt Organization.

The average cost to provide a dog, trainer, equipment and initial veterinary bills is around $2,500. Our program staff are all volunteers. We rely solely on donations and grants to fund our operation.

We have been blessed during the past year to receive donations from PetCo Foundation, Many Wonderful Individuals, Civic Organizations: Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks Lodge 647 Atchison KS, Korean War Veterans Auxiliary, Cameron Elks Lodge 2615, Local Businesses: Synchrony Financial Veterans Network, H & R Block, Hardwood Kennels, Craig Ranch, Right Way Service, LLC, Metro Ford Independence MO, Claycomo Animal Hospital, Equi-Royals, Local School: Delta Woods Middle School, Lee’s Summit MO.

We can proudly state that your donations have saved lives, saved marriages and gave these men and women that served our country a new purpose in life.

For more information about our program please contact Julie Heimkes at:

julie@battlebuddyservicedogs.org

816.298.7113

battlebuddyservicedogs.org