Because every piece of the puzzle matters.

helping service dogs help others

The purpose of the maCares Service Dog Support Program is to relieve the financial burden of caring for a service dog so that the recipient can focus on trying to live a full and productive life. Our program provides financial assistance for service dogs which help those with physical or neurological challenges. The covered expenses include initial and re-certification training, veterinary, medications, grooming, and daily care including food.

Meet our maCares’ supported team!

Brittany is the first nonveteran to be welcomed into our Service Dog Support Program! Brittany developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), currently referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which results in her experiencing weakness in every limb due to the pain. She is unable to feel certain sensations in her hands, like hot versus cold or sharp versus dull. She uses a wheelchair and crutches on a daily basis due to dystonia affecting her left leg.

Since July 2016, GRIFFIN has helped Brittany become more independent, as well as aided her in mobility by carrying items, retrieving dropped items, and even helping her communicate with others when she falls. GRIFFIN has also increased Brittany’s social interaction, by helping her to become more active and giving her the constant help that she needs, especially in her new environment while earning a graduate’s degree. GRIFFIN allows Brittany to focus on her life and enjoy life, by taking the focus off of the constant pain Brittany experiences daily. Brittany and GRIFFIN love to volunteer in the community, by giving to local shelters and working different events, like 5K’s at school. They also love sharing their story and how GRIFFIN has changed Brittany’s life.

Meet our faith Cares’ supported teams of service dogs and veterans!

faith Cares, a division of maCares, strives to change the life of veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or Traumatic Brain Injury and provides support for their service dogs. This program is named in memory of the late U.S. Army Sergeant Faith Hinkley, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. faith Cares is a continual sponsorship program initiated in 2013 to assist veterans by raising funds to cover the expenses for their service dogs such as initial and re-certification training, veterinary, medications, grooming, and daily care.

Most of the faith Cares’ service dogs are named after a fallen hero to help his/her legacy live on while helping and healing a wounded soldier.

Terry & FAITHSGT Terry White, PH OIF U.S. Army (Retired) served in the U.S. Army Infantry for 3.5 years and after he was injured, he served as an U.S. Army Engineer for 2.5 years. Since August 2011, FAITH has been a lifesaver to Terry and his family as she has comforted and helped each of them to be able to cope with the emotional trauma related to war. FAITH comforts Terry when the bad memories and survivor’s grief are overwhelming and his depression resurfaces. Without FAITH, Terry feels he may not still be here. FAITH also helps Terry cope with migraines, anxiety, and flash backs of being at war and seeing war injuries. FAITH and Terry actively attempt to help everyone they come into contact with- whether it is someone experiencing emotional distress, a child recovering from an accident, or visiting the VA Hospital.

FAITH is named after the late U.S. Army Sergeant Faith Hinkley who died on August 7, 2010 in Iskandariya, Iraq. Faith was part of the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The faith Cares program was created in memory of U.S. Army Sergeant Faith Hinkley where FAITH is the primary spokesperson/spokesdog.

HM1 (FMF/CAC) RET Traci S. Barrett served in the United States Navy from February 1994 to September 2015. She served as a Security Corpsman in Iraq from February 2008 to September 2008 and as a CASEVAC (Casualty Evacuation) in Afghanistan from May 2009 to April 2010. CASEVAC is like an Army Medic that flies in helicopters to transport emergency patients in dire need of evacuation from a combat zone.

Hospital Corpsman (HM) are Naval medical specialists who may also serve in a United States Marine Corps unit, which HM1 Barrett did and earned the warfare designator of enlisted Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Warfare Specialist for being a highly trained member of the Hospital Corps who specializes in all aspects of working with the United States Marine Corps operating forces. HM1 Barrett underwent advanced training in aircraft in-flight support roles, extensive training in flight operations of naval aircraft including weapons management, electronic warfare, and water survival to qualify as a Marine Combat Aircrew (CAC) member.

Traci suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury, which causes her to become dizzy and lose her balance, narcolepsy, and anxiety. KIARA is a beautiful Great Dane and Old English Mastiff mix that Traci has had since KIARA was 6 weeks old. In late 2012, 8 month old KIARA began training to be Traci’s service dog. To make sure KIARA was helping Traci in every way possible, they went through additional training in 2015 that has prepared them to enhance handling and mitigating Traci’s symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress and anxiety.

KIARA is a source of stabilization for Traci when she experiences weakness in her legs as well helps Traci be more independent and mobile when becoming unsteady on her feet. KIARA also provides a warning to Traci’s oncoming narcolepsy attack (becoming unconscious without warning). Without KIARA, Traci would not be able to drive, leave her house to go out in public, or do anything by herself. KIARA is able to alert Traci to anxiety through behavioral cues and compression. She also alerts Traci if there are people who might startle her by walking up behind her.

Traci and KIARA enjoy spending time with friends and family as well as volunteering together.

Bob Brown & Amy (2)SGT Robert Brown, U.S. Army (Retired) served in the U.S. Army Infantry during the Vietnam conflict. He spent two tours as a Tunnel Rat and was wounded twice. After 20 plus years, Bob found it difficult to leave his home. Since December 2012, AMY has helped Bob manage his stress and anxiety levels by demanding he redirect his attention to her when his stress levels start to rise. AMY will lick Bob’s face to awaken him from a nightmare. AMY also provides pressure therapy before Bob has a nightmare or his stress levels begin to rise.   AMY helps Bob with his mobility by acting as a brace for Bob to help him regain his balance. If AMY is not able to help get Bob up by herself after a fall, she will alert Bob’s wife. Without AMY, Bob feels his life would be so much worse with the PTSD, moods, stress levels, and isolation. Bob and AMY enjoy spreading awareness about the difference AMY and other service dogs make in a person’s life.

AMY’s namesake is in honor of a true American Hero, U.S. Army PFC Amy Renee Bullock-Sinkler who proudly served with the 17th Combat Sustainment Battalion 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, and died on Thursday, January 20, 2011 in the Baghlan province of Afghanistan while defending her convoy against insurgents.

LCpl Matthew Currin, U.S. Marine Corp (Retired) served as an Infantry Rifleman from January 2006 until June 2010. Since July 2015, CHAMPION has helped Matt overcome his isolation from the world, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and anger. CHAMP has helped Matt handle things better, which has affected his relationships with his wife and children. CHAMP has turned around Matt’s life for the netter and closer to normalcy. In their short amount of time together, CHAMP has helped Matt through some rough times including the recent loss of a close friend that Matt could not have gotten through without CHAMP by his side. CHAMP also helps Matt mitigate his PTSD symptoms by responding to his panic attacks and alerting him when people are approaching from behind. CHAMP retrieves items due to Matt’s physical disabilities and as well as assists Matt in standing when he needs stabilization. Matt and CHAMP enjoy golf tournaments and banquets as it really allows people to see how service dogs help others, as well as meeting other veterans.

Veteran JasonSPC Jason Gregory, U.S. Army (Retired) served as Military Intelligence while in Iraq and as a Communications Specialist. Since 2013, FLEET has helped Jason manage his anxiety, depression, awaken from nightmares, re-focus to the present instead of flashbacks, and manage his fear of going out in public. Jason enjoys being able to take his best friend, FLEET, everywhere with him. Together, they like to go on walks, play fetch with sticks, and watch the sunset on their back porch.

FLEET is named in honor of PFC James Fleet McClamrock who passed away at 22 years old on Tuesday, September 7, 2010, from wounds sustained in a shooting incident while serving his country in Iraq. Jamie was from Huntersville, NC and served in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Keith & ELLIOTTSGT Keith Harrison, U.S. Army (Retired) served as a Combat Medic in the U.S. Army & U.S. Army National Guard for 24 years. Since June 2011, ELLIOTT has improved Keith’s quality of life by helping Keith to go places he normally wouldn’t, especially indoor crowds. ELLIOTT also comforts Keith during his migraines or when he is experiencing symptoms from his PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. Keith considers ELLIOTT a lifesaver. ELLIOTT and Keith enjoy attending events that help others.

ELLIOTT’s namesake is in honor and memory of SPC Daniel “Lucas” Elliott who died at the age of 21 on July 15, 2011, in Basra Iraq on his second tour in Iraq. Lucas’ last deployment in May 2011 was with the 805th MP CO, located in Cary, NC.

In Memory of SSgt. Charles Ladd, U.S. Army served for 8 years, completing 2 combat tours in Iraq and 4 combat tours in Afghanistan. His last duty station was at Fort Bragg in the 3rd Batallion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Staff Sergeant Ladd was a Purple Heart recipient, as well as many other medals he was awarded during his tenure in the military.

Charles, who is warmly known to his maCares family as “Chuck”, and his service dog NIKKI were one of the first maCares sponsored service dog teams in 2012. At the time, NIKKI was a puppy training to be Chuck’s service dog to help him cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and effects from his Traumatic Brain Injury. NIKKI was able to help Chuck in many ways including acting as a calming influence for him, by distracting him when a panic attack was occurring, and by waking him up from nightmares. Chuck was extremely passionate about maCares & faith Cares and helped spread awareness of the maCares initiatives, including the development of the faith Cares program for veterans with service dogs. He was always the first to volunteer to help, showing his wholehearted commitment to giving back to the community.

Unfortunately, Chuck lost his long, hard-fought battle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on February 7, 2016. Chuck’s wishes to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery were able to be honored with the help of the faith Cares supporters. NIKKI has retired from being a service dog and lives with Jessica, Chuck’s wife, in North Carolina.

NIKKI’s namesake is U.S. Army SPC Nichole M. Frye, who died on February 16, 2004 in BAQUBAH, IRAQ and was assigned to Company A, 415th Civil Affairs Battalion of the Army Reserve in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Ben & FELIPESSG Lacy B. Miller, U.S. Army (Retired) served as an Air Traffic Controller in the Army for 10 years. FELIPE has given Ben the ability to integrate into the public domain and has given Ben the confidence to be a part of society. FELIPE has helped Ben by reducing his anxiety and anger, providing comfort in settings Ben would normally not be comfortable in, interrupting nightmares, and providing a warning to oncoming seizures by encouraging Ben to sit or find privacy. Ben and FELIPE like to visit schools and educate others about service dogs as well as have children feel the calming effects of having FELIPE around.

FELIPE is named in honor of Marine Cpl. Felipe C. Barbosa, an infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C., who died at 21 years old January 28, 2006 by a non-hostile vehicle accident in Fallujah, Iraq serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Barbosa had been in Iraq since September. He was a Marine from High Point, North Carolina, born in Brazil who became a U.S. citizen less than a year before his death.

Travis & DEUCESPC Travis Peele, U.S. Army served as a Tracked Vehicular Mechanic in Iraq for 4 years. Overseas, Travis performed route clearance searches for road side bombs (IEDs). His unit encountered and destroyed over 3,600 bombs. Travis was matched with DEUCE in 2011 when DEUCE was just 7 weeks old, and was able to take DEUCE home when he turned 7 months old. DEUCE helps Travis cope with the anxiety of being in crowded places, alerting when there is a spike in emotion, and interrupts nightmares by waking him up. Without DEUCE, Travis feels he would isolate himself from the world. Travis and DEUCE’s favorite way to give back is volunteering with maCares and teaching children and adults about service dog etiquette.

Brock & TANNENSFC Brock C. Strickland, U.S. Army (Retired) joined the army at 17 as an army medic. During his service, Brock spent time in Iraq as a medic and helped train Iraqi soldiers to be medics. Brock suffers from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as migraines, sleeplessness, arthritis, and constant pain. Brock and TANNEN were matched in 2015. TANNEN comforts Brock when he is depressed, experiencing nightmares or migraines, and helps him feel safe in public, especially in large crowds, by distracting Brock to redirect his attention from his anxieties. TANNEN helps keeps Brock on a schedule. Without TANNEN, Brock feels he would be sleeping until 3 every day, not leaving the house that often, and would be less likely to talk to strangers. TANNEN has changed Brock and his family by allowing Brock to strive to be the father and husband he is meant to be. Brock and TANNEN enjoy helping other veterans train with their service dogs as well as educating the public about service dogs, which makes Brock feel like he has a purpose again.

Will you lend a paw? Make a donation and/or contact us to learn more about how you can get involved!