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 person can focus on living a full life. Our program provides financial assistance for service dogs which help those with physical, neurological, and/or medical challenges. The covered expenses may include re-certification training, veterinary, medications, grooming, and daily care including food.
Meet our maCares’ supported teams!
Syre & RAGNAR
Syre is an 18-year-old boy that was born with a developmental disability. While he learns, perceives, and interprets the world differently than his peers, Syre has always valued hard work and academic success. Syre struggles with panic attacks, anxiety, and can easily become mentally overwhelmed in public spaces. In order to pursue a college degree and gain more independence, Syre needed the help of a service dog.
Syre was matched with RAGNAR in 2019 and the duo has been inseparable ever since. RAGNAR makes life less challenging for Syre by calming his anxiety, alerting Syre when he is becoming overwhelmed, and assisting him in public situations that could induce a panic attack. RAGNAR also helps to keep Syre in appropriate designated areas, preventing him from becoming lost. After being matched with RAGNAR, Syre was also able to decrease his medication for his ticks.
With RAGNAR by his side, Syre is currently working hard to achieve his Associate’s Degree from Fayetteville Technical Community College. He is enrolled in their Gaming Tech Program and one day hopes to create Japanimation, which is Japanese animated cartoons!
Mariea & TIKI
Mariea & TIKI are the second guide dog team to be welcomed in the maCares Service/Guide Dog Support Program! Mariea was born prematurely and received an excess of oxygen which lead to rapid growth of the blood vessel in her eyes, causing her retina to detach. Around 4-months-old Mariea lost vision in her left eye but maintained useable vision in her right eye until 2006. At 21-years-old she received her first guide dog and began to live life more independently and with more confidence.
Mariea teamed up with TIKI in 2016 and she helps Mariea with a variety of tasks that make navigating her everyday life much easier. Most notably TIKI works to locate chairs, doors and counters in new places, protects Mariea from falls by slowing her pace when approaching uneven ground, and helps her to safely cross the street. Mariea is much more comfortable and confident exploring the world around her when she has TIKI by her side.
“With the help of maCares I am able to purchase the supplements for TIKI that would typically be hard to afford. Vet bills are high, even for routine annual visits, maCares assists with this and that helps to ensure TIKI and I stay in the best shape possible!” – Mariea
Lacey & DINTY
Lacey & DINTY are the first guide dog team to be welcomed into the maCares Service/Guide Dog Support Program! Lacey has had issues with her eyes since she was 18 months old that include cone-shaped corneas which cause fluid to leak through and cause corneal tears; involuntary, repetitive movement of the eyes; and total color blindness. After struggling through graduate school with her mobility cane, Lacey took a leap of faith and decided to apply for her first guide dog.
Since August 2019, DINTY has helped Lacey navigate the world around her with more independence and confidence. DINTY has also increased Lacey’s social interaction, as he allows her to travel more and become invested in the various activities that she is passionate about. Lacey enjoys spending her time advocating for other visually impaired individuals through her position as the Secretary for the NC Council for the Blind. Lacey is also involved in the American Council for the Blind and travels to Washington D.C. each year to attend their conference seminars. In addition to advocating for the visually impaired, Lacey also helped start a non-profit called Youth LEAD NC which seeks to empower youth with disabilities!
“I am so thankful for the support that we receive from maCares. Without them I would be lost. Thank you to all supporters and friends of maCares for your support as well.” – Lacey
Brittany & GRIFFIN
Brittany is the first nonveteran to be welcomed into the maCares 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 while she was working to earn her 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.
“GRIFFIN has increased my overall function and quality of life and maCares has decreased the financial burden of caring for my service dog. Although maCares provides so much for my services dog, they provided me with a second family and an amazing support system.” – Brittany
Dustin & TAHOE
Dustin is the first initial former first responder to be welcomed into the maCares Service Dog Support Program! Dustin served as a Virginia State Trooper for over 10 years. In August 2015, he responded to an incredibly gruesome and graphic call, which changed his life. Since the life changing call, he has been diagnosed with PTSD, experiences panic attacks, heightened anxiety, fear, trouble sleeping, night terrors, anxiousness from being in crowds, constant headaches, muscle aches, and tension. TAHOE matched with Dustin in February 2017. TAHOE wakes Dustin up before his nightmares get too severe, helps with his anxiety and depression, alerts him when someone is approaching from behind, has improved his family life, and helps him to interact more with people.
Dustin and his beautiful wife have 2 wonderful daughters. Dustin shared that receiving assistance through the maCares & faith Cares Service Dog Support Program is a huge relief after trying to figure out how to keep up with the demands of expenses on a reduced income, as Dustin is unable to return working as a State Trooper, and is pursuing an IT degree.
Dustin & TAHOE enjoy volunteering and spreading awareness about how service dogs help others. He enjoys fishing and sports, mostly baseball and football. TAHOE is eager to work on his skills and also loves playing ball with Dustin.
“maCares is much more than just an organization that helps me to take care of my service dog. maCares and everyone there has become an amazing extension of my family. It has been a true blessing to have become a part of this organization.” – Dustin
Harrison & PARKER
Harrison is a 6 year old boy, who has a twin sister and an older brother. After being born at 35 weeks, Harrison’s twin sister was able to go home, but Harrison had to stay in the NICU for breathing and feeding issues. Harrison was delayed in his developmental milestones and has been receiving physical and occupational therapy. At 4 years old, Harrison was diagnosed with a genetic condition, most likely under the umbrella of mitochondrial disease. He experiences extreme fatigue and lack of energy to even eat, muscle weakness at a cellular level, pain in legs and back, and sleep disturbances. However, on the outside he looks like a healthy little boy. No one would know his struggles except when he can’t sustain activity.
PARKER, a medical alert service dog, is that answer. PARKER is a Briard named after “Peter Parker” aka Spider-Man, which Harrison loves – every superhero needs a sidekick! These 2 were matched in July 2017. After completing training, PARKER went home with Harrison in May 2018. PARKER allows Harrison to be a part of the world, including socializing with other children.
PARKER helps other children focus on them as a team instead of seeing what Harrison can’t do. PARKER also helps Harrison ambulate, gives balance support, forward momentum, helps with his pain and calming him by giving him deep pressure therapy, encourages him to eat during mealtimes, disrupts behaviors so he can conserve his energy (he has limited energy stores due to his progressive disease), and alerting when he needs help.
The deep pressure therapy and other methods PARKER provides helps decrease the amounts of medications he needs (pain, sleep, etc). Currently, Harrison & PARKER are working on retrieval, pushing buttons, and tasks to help more as Harrison’s disease progresses. PARKER allows Harrison to have more independence. Without PARKER, Harrison is pretty isolated from friends, school, and normal activities for his age group.
Harrison and PARKER enjoy being involved in “The Miracle League” (an adaptive baseball team).
Harrison loves his siblings, dogs, superheroes, dogs, and taking pictures with his camera. Harrison says he’d like to be a daddy when he grows up.
“I love maCares because they take care of me and PARKER, they make me happy and they love me.” – Harrison
Lynn & BIG B
Lynn was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes almost 15 years ago. She experiences drastic blood glucose levels and finds it difficult to stay on top of constantly checking her sugar levels while at the same time raising her daughter, working, and pursuing a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Lynn was matched with Big B, a Diabetic medical alert service dog, in June 2017. Big B is the primary mechanism by which Lynn can detect rapidly changing blood glucose. Since Big B is with her at home and school, Lynn has noticed a huge difference in her health and life. Big B alerts her throughout each day. With Big B’s help to stay on top of monitoring her levels and reminding her to take her medicine, Lynn’s cognitive function as well as her performance in school has improved. He also helps Lynn to be more grounded and present for her daughter.
Without Big B, Lynn thinks she would likely have continued to feel overwhelmed and be in denial of her imminent health issues, which would have resulted in life threatening diabetic complications in the future.
Lynn looks forward to getting out to do volunteer work to benefit the community. She is becoming involved again in one of her life long passions of social justice work at her daughter’s nonprofit school. During her clinic internship this summer, she plans to start providing free acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to people in several nonprofit programs in the community.
Maggie & SUGAR
Maggie is the first youth to be welcome into the maCares Service Dog Support Program! Maggie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes) when she was 3. For the next several years, Maggie was hospitalized anywhere from 1-3 times per year due to blood sugar complications and slipping into Ketoacidosis (a serious diabetes complication where the body produces excess blood acids). As a fragile diabetic, Maggie is susceptible to drastic fluctuations in her blood sugar levels. Her sugar level has to be checked every two hours, including in the middle of the night, and before eating.
In January 2015, 10 year old Maggie was matched with an American Lab, a Diabetic Alert Dog. Maggie named her SUGAR. During SUGAR’s initial meeting with Maggie, she made a gesture with her paw to her trainer, indicating that she sensed Maggie’s blood sugar level was high. They tested Maggie’s blood sugar and discovered SUGAR was correct. SUGAR helps Maggie every day and has saved her life multiple times. One time SUGAR detected Maggie’s low blood sugar while SUGAR was at home and Maggie was at school! Having dealt with diabetes for over 9 years, Maggie has become insulin insensitive, which means she no longer feels the fluctuations. SUGAR is able to alert Maggie before the drastic fluctuations occur.
SUGAR has been instrumental in helping to manage Maggie’s blood sugar levels, which results in a better quality of life later for Maggie. Now that SUGAR has completed 2 years of training with Maggie, she is able to attend school with Maggie.
Maggie loves to sing, dance, attend concerts, and play board games. She is very active in her church youth group and loves to volunteer, especially for mission trips. She also enjoys volunteering to speak to various groups and events about how SUGAR is life changing and also about proper service dog etiquette. Maggie would like to be a Country Music Singer when she grows up and with SUGAR by her side; we have no doubt she will go far!
“Being a part of the maCares family, has not only allowed me and SUGAR to feel more cared for, but has given me many opportunities to grow as a person and to help others. maCares has been a place for my family to come to for support, love, and encouragement.” – Maggie
Meet our faith Cares’ supported teams of service dogs and veterans!
faith Cares, a veteran-exclusive level of our Service Dog Support program, 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 potentially including 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 & FAITH
SGT 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 spokesdog.
“maCares allows us to focus on the healing process since the war and they take care of the veterinarian, food, grooming, and toys that we would have to shoulder for FAITH. maCares has opened my eyes up to a support system in our community that I never realized was there before.” – Terry
“Before maCares, our family struggled every day. FAITH was amazing for Terry, but there was still something missing. When maCares entered our lives, we found joy watching those we helped. maCares sparked a miracle in what it did for my family. For that, I am forever grateful. maCares’ love and support has cleared a path for true love to grow in our family” – Jill, Terry’s wife
Brock & TANNEN
SFC 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.
“Thanks to maCares they have helped take some of the financial stressors that come along with owning a working dog. Without maCares and their care and support, team life would be much harder. maCares, keeps me engaged with the community and is always giving back to others in need.” – Brock
Greg & TOMMY
Lieutenant Commander Charles Greg Williams was in the U.S. Navy for 28 years, where he served in Norfolk, Operation Desert Storm, and Afghanistan as an electronics technician before retiring as an intelligence and information assurance officer. Two of the tours he served as Commanding Officer and one tour he served as Executive Officer. During his time in the military, Greg developed Post Traumatic Stress.
Greg was matched with TOMMY (a Black Labrador named after singer Tom Jones) in November of 2018, forming a special bond surprisingly quickly. TOMMY helps Greg in the following ways: alerts to and lowers anxiety escalations, assists in crowds and stressful environments, interrupts nightmares to allow better sleep, provides deep pressure therapy to help calm, assists with the completion of work tasks, and interrupts stress-caused tics.
Greg and TOMMY like to educate others on the benefits of service dogs. Greg enjoys staying active by fishing, hunting, biking, exercising, and camping. He also enjoys reading, computer gaming and repair/IT Networking.
Jason & FLEET
SPC 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.
John & MERCER
SCPO John Fleming, U.S. Navy (Retired) joined the Navy on his 17th birthday and served for 23 years in many different areas of conflict during 3 tours. Upon discharge, John was diagnosed with leg and nerve issues and Post Traumatic Stress.
MERCER was matched with John in 2015 and has tremendously improved the quality of life for John. MERCER assists John when he is experiencing nerve issues or symptoms from his heart condition. MERCER reduces John’s anxiety, stress, anger, and depression. He has awakened John during nightmares and flashbacks, calming him. MERCER alerts John to people approaching from behind and when his anxiety levels increase, MERCER helps John regain control. All of MERCER’s help gives John the confidence and assistance to interact with others, lessening his feelings of being out of place and his loneliness.
MERCER has given John added motivation to get out and enjoy a new life – for him, his family, and his friends. With MERCER’s help, John volunteers teaching ESL English, which is something John says he would have never been able to do before. John and MERCER also like to give back by volunteering at the homeless shelter to feed the hungry. John enjoys church activities and singing in the choir, fishing, walking trails, and sporting events.
MERCER is named after Mercer University in Macon, Georgia because he was born during the NCAA Tournament and they were part of the Sweet 16 his litter was named after.
“maCares has, more than anything, given me a sense of family. They provide the love, strength, and support I have needed to help me with all the things MERCER needs and deserves.” – John
Keith & SOOKIE
SGT Keith Harrison, U.S. Army (Retired) served as a Combat Medic in the U.S. Army & U.S. Army National Guard for 24 years. During his two tours, he served with the 1/120th Infantry and 30th Heavy Separate Brigade for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF II). Keith served as a Frontline Combat Medic during his first combat tour in Iraq. He was responsible for the health of about 45 men to do whatever was needed for them. He provided medical attention from minor health ailments to major accidents occurring while on mission, including keeping the men stabilized to be sent to the large hospital to continue receiving medical attention so they could make it home to their families. He also would help the Iraqi children and civilians. On the second tour, Keith served as Rear Detachment by taking care of soldiers’ families.
An explosion from an IED gave Keith a concussion that caused routine excruciating headaches. Later, damage to his brain was found and he was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The worsening migraines kept Keith secluded, where he gave up on life (afraid to do anything due to effects). PTSD and TBI affected his entire life and relationships. Today, Botox helps with the migraine pain. In 2011, Keith was matched with ELLIOTT who helped with anxiety while in crowds, entering buildings, and going into the unknown. Sadly, ELLIOTT died of cancer in August 2018.
A few months after losing his beloved service dog, ELLIOTT, Keith began the journey of searching for his next service dog. In March 2019, he was matched with SOOKIE, a yellow Labrador. SOOKIE improves Keith’s quality of life by helping to go places he normally wouldn’t, especially indoor crowds. SOOKIE also comforts Keith during his migraines or when he is experiencing symptoms from his PTSD.
“Because of my injuries from the war and my PTSD, I lost some of my family members. maCares means family to me and has taken care of me and my service dog. maCares most of all means family to me.” – Keith
Manny & TANK
CPL Manuel Rivera served in the United States Marine Corp for 10 years in a range of positions including Embark Logistics, Hazmat, Ground Safety, and Marine Air-Ground Task Force Planner (MAGTFP). During his tour, he was involved with Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) as Field Military Police.
Manny was matched with TANK in 2012 to aid with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a seizure disorder. TANK provides Manny the security to live a full life safely while experiencing seizures. TANK alerts Manny, as well as Manny’s wife, when a seizure is approaching so Manny can get to a safe area and roll to his side, keeping him alive. TANK also helps lower anxiety and stress levels, interrupting nightmares, and assisting with stability.
Manny and TANK do everything together. They like to volunteer to spreading awareness of proper service dog etiquette and training. Without TANK, Manny says he would be lost.
“maCares shows they care. They helped me with food for my dog and with this help, I have been able to buy better food for my dog and it has improved his health in general. During a hurricane, they made sure my family and I were safe and they were willing to help. Just knowing that they were worried was a great feeling. Thank you maCares.” – Manny
Mike & BO
SSGT Michael Scott served as an Airborne Air Assault Jumpmaster and Parachute Rigger in the Army for 24 years. During his 2 tours, he was stationed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) to protect children as a Section Sergeant Security. Mike also participated in the 50th Anniversary of D-Day drop into Normandy.
BO was matched with Mike in December of 2016 and is providing Mike with the confidence to acclimate into society. BO has helped Mike by reducing his stress levels, anxiety, negative thoughts originating from survivor’s guilt and moral injury, sleeplessness, retrieval of dropped items that Mike is unable to recover due to mobility limitations, and alerting to sounds Mike is unable to hear due to his bilateral hearing loss. Mike and BO like to give back by making connections with other veterans. Mike enjoys camping, fishing, building models, drawing, and family time.
BO is named in honor of a fallen hero who is remembered for his ability to lead and entertain those around him with music and laughter, but also for sacrificing his own needs to help those less fortunate. BO is a tribute to how the fallen hero lived his life: service to others first, in hopes that those in need will have a better life.
“maCares has unconditionally accepted me and my family as part of theirs. maCares is a part of my recovery.” – Mike
“Thank you so much for all that you do for us. Mike is a completely different person now that he has BO and we are so thankful for all of the support maCares gives us!” – Lisa, Mike’s wife
Bob & AMY
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 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.
“Without the help of maCares, it would be so much harder. They help with the food, vet, grooming, and recertifying expenses. maCares is not just a sponsor, but a family that has so much heart for all the service dog teams. I don’t know what I’d do without maCares.” – Bob
Travis & DEUCE
SPC 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.
Service Dogs in Training!
Ben & RED
Join us in welcoming our newest faith Cares sponsored service dog RED! RED joins faith Cares sponsored veteran Ben Miller after the sudden passing of his first service dog FELIPE in 2019. RED is an energetic 1-year old half American Standard and half English Crème Golden Retriever.
Ben & RED teamed up in May 2020 and bonded right away. It was not long before they got right to work with self-training! Ben is integrating standard training commands such as sit, down, come, and stay with training for his medical disabilities. Ben has already taught RED how to recognize and alert him when his right hand begins to tick. When RED notices the tick, he begins to lick and gently bite at Ben’s hand to alert Ben that it could be the onset of a seizure.
In order to socialize RED, this team spends a lot of time in public spaces and around children. It is important to Ben that RED gets comfortable in public because Ben is very active in his local community and enjoys his volunteer work at a local elementary school. RED is catching on quickly and eager to learn all the new things Ben is integrating into training!
Through conditioning RED as a service dog to suit his own personal needs, reinforcing positive behaviors and continually integrating the learned commands in day-to-day life, Ben hopes to have all of RED’s Public Access Training complete by the start of the new year! maCares is so excited to see what the future holds for this team!
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 was 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.
ELLIOTT was SGT. Keith Harrison’s first service dog and Keith considered ELLIOTT a lifesaver. ELLIOTT’s name 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.
ELLIOTT and Keith enjoyed attending events that helped others. Suddenly in August 2018, ELLIOTT showed signs that something was not right. The veterinarian determined ELLIOTT had developed a rapidly growing invasive type of cancer that has no cure. With heavy hearts, Keith and the maCares family had to say goodbye to ELLIOTT.
FELIPE was SSG Lacy B. Miller’s first service dog and gave Ben the ability to integrate into the public domain, as well as the confidence to be a part of society. FELIPE’s name is 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.
Ben and FELIPE loved visiting schools and educating others about service dogs as well as having children feel the calming effects of having FELIPE around. Suddenly in August 2019, FELIPE showed signs of illness. FELIPE had also developed a rapidly growing invasive type of cancer of the spleen that has no cure. With grieving hearts, Ben and the maCares family had to say goodbye to FELIPE in October 2019.
KIARA was HM1 Traci S. Barrett’s first service dog and allowed Traci to be independent while suffering with Traumatic Brain Injury, narcolepsy, and anxiety. KIARA was a beautiful Great Dane and Old English Mastiff mix. Traci welcomed KIARA home at 6 weeks old and in late 2012, 8-month-old KIARA began training to become Traci’s service dog.
Traci and KIARA enjoyed spending their time with family and friends as well as volunteering together in their local community. Suddenly in June 2020, KIARA showed signs of illness and what was believed to be Addison’s Disease. With aching hearts, Traci and the maCares family had to say goodbye to KIARA.
Will you lend a paw? Make a donation and/or contact us to learn more about how you can get involved!
helping service dogs help others