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& K9'S

Shawn Laughton

Shawn Laughton

K-9 Skippy

My name is Shawn Laughton. I work for the Minneapolis Fire Department and I have been a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard since 2005.

Anonymous #1

Anonymous #1


It's important that I stay anonymous, but I want to tell you how important my assistance dog is to me.

Leigh and K-9 Louie

Leigh and K-9 Louie

Security Forces Airman

My journey began on a small family farm in rural southeastern Wisconsin. My Father was my best friend and my greatest role model. He was strong, determined and gave everything of himself to his’ family.

K-9 Bindi

K-9 Bindi

K-9 Bindi

I grew up in many states since I was from a military family but always considered MN my home.

John and K-9 Kodah

John and K-9 Kodah

K- Kodah

When my husband was asked to write a bio, he looked at me and said, “I don’t like talking about myself”. In any other instance, I would encourage him to step out of his comfort zone and try, but I understand and respect his uncertainty with this. So let me introduce my husband.

Jessica and K-9 Charle

Jessica and K-9 Charle

K-9 Charlie

My name is Jessica and first and foremost I am a mom to 2 awesome boys-Braeden (18) and Chase (17). I grew up in Golden Valley where my dad and uncle were both police officers.

 Richard Puente and K-9 Bella

Richard Puente and K-9 Bella

K-9 Bella

Hello, my name is Richard Puente. I grew up in Ellsworth, WI.

Brandon and K9 Kaya

Brandon and K9 Kaya

K-9 Kaya

What I will share is that during my policing career it became very apparent to those around me that PTSD had taken over my life and impacted me daily.

Kristina Morales Larson and K9 Pax

Kristina Morales Larson and K9 Pax

K9 Pax

My name is SSG Kristina Morales Larson. I have been in the Army Reserves almost 14 years now and work full time for the Dakota Communications Center, first as a 911 Dispatcher and now as a Dispatch Supervisor.

Rylie and K9 Annie

Rylie and K9 Annie

K-9 Annie

I grew up near Blaine, MN. I joined the Army Reserves my Sophomore year of College and to this day I currently serve.

Anonymous #2

Anonymous #2

Anonymous #2

I have been a full-time license police officer in Minnesota since 1998. I became interested in Law Enforcement at a very young age.

Op and K-9 Kain

Op and K-9 Kain

K-9 Kain

Hello. My name is OP. My story starts as a troubled kid with divorced parents at a young age.

Tiffany and K-9 Lainey

Tiffany and K-9 Lainey

K-9 Lainey

My name is Tiffany, I grew up in a law enforcement family and was surrounded by law enforcement my entire life.

Shantell Hoff and K9 Hooch

Shantell Hoff and K9 Hooch

K9 Hooch

About me hmm where do I start. Its not my style to write a “book” about myself so I will try to keep it short and sweet.

Amy Schweigert  and K9 Eloise

Amy Schweigert and K9 Eloise

K-9 Eloise

As a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist, Dr. Amy Schweigert has a heart for first responders.

Dan and K-9 Buddy

Dan and K-9 Buddy

K9 Buddy

My name is Dan, I currently live in Cottage Grove with my wife and 2 kids, with one on the way.

JD and K-9 Kona

JD and K-9 Kona

K-9 Kona

My name is J.D. Ingham. I am married to my wife Brittany, and we have 2 young children.

Sailor Jerri and K9 Charlie

Sailor Jerri and K9 Charlie

K-9 Charlie

Hi! I’m Sailor Jerri. I am happily married to my husband Billy, we have 5 kids, 5 horses, a cat named Flub, and now 2 dogs.

Lee Chandler

Lee Chandler

K-9 Reba

Ok, where do you start with these kinds of things? After 26 years of naval service; 10 active, 16 reserve, 4 combat deployments and a laundry list of accomplishments, duty stations, friends both lost and still alive. How do you sum that up in a simple bio?

Greg and K-9 Raven

Greg and K-9 Raven

K-9 Raven

My name is Greg and I was a police officer for more than 25 years. It was a career I loved for a long time. I loved the comradery, the action, and helping people.

Justin Haller K-9 Max

Justin Haller K-9 Max

Corrections Officer

My name is Justin, and I grew up in the Twin Cities metro area. I am married to my high school sweetheart Jessica.

Deana Allen K-9 Nala

Deana Allen K-9 Nala

Air Force

My name is Deana Allen and I currently live in the Twin Cities area with my husband of 12 years, our 8 year old twins, 2 dogs and a horse. We have moved 5 times in the last 8 years and are really enjoying Minnesota so far.

K-9 Valkyrie

K-9 Valkyrie

K-9 Valkyrie

I was in the Army National Guard for 12 years, and out of that time I spent about 10 years on active duty orders in one way or another.

Aaron and K-9 Hulk

Aaron and K-9 Hulk

K-9 Hulk

Aaron had always had the desire to do something with his life that helped and impacted other people.

Matt and K-9 Atlas

Matt and K-9 Atlas

K-9 Atlas

My name is Matthew and I am 35 years old. I was born in Boston and moved to Minnesota when I was about 3 years old. Growing up I played basketball,football,baseball and soccer.

Bob and K-9 Shadow

Bob and K-9 Shadow

K-9 Shadow

I was born on January 22, 1949, in North Saint Paul Minnesota. I grew up on a small family farm in Bruno Minnesota. I graduated from Askov high school in 1967.

Anonymous and K9 Neytiri

Anonymous and K9 Neytiri

K9 Neytiri

I joined law enforcement in my thirties and am in my sixth year as a Peace Officer. Prior to that, I worked as a Correctional Officer. Law enforcement was not a career "choice" growing up. I was made to believe I was not physically and biologically fit for the job.

Allen and K-9 Celly

Allen and K-9 Celly

K-9 Celly

I’m Allen Thill and I’m a Major in the Air National Guard serving with the 208rd Combat Weather Flight, supporting the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at the 133rd Air Lift Wing in MN.

Tracy Worsley

Tracy Worsley

K9 Sarge

My name is Tracy Worsley. I was born and raised in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. Dad was a steelworker and Mom was a dress maker

Mike Morey K-9 Flynn

Mike Morey K-9 Flynn

K-9 Flynn

My name is Michael Morey, many call me “Mike” I was born and raised in the Twin Cities area.

Josemy and K-9 Mila

Josemy and K-9 Mila

K-9 Mila

My name is Josemy Morales or known to some as husband, Papa, Staff Sergeant, Mo or OG.

Tony and K-9 Gus

Tony and K-9 Gus

K-9 Gus

My name is Anthony (Tony) Medellin. I grew up in St. Paul Minnesota.

Robert Staycoff and K9 Rocco

Robert Staycoff and K9 Rocco

K9 Rooco

My name is Robert, I am 32 years old and have been a Police Officer for just over seven and a half years. Depression is one of those feelings that can feel impossible to overcome.

Lisa Hanover and K9 Layla

Lisa Hanover and K9 Layla

K- Layla

My name is Lisa Hanover. I was born and raised in Red Lake ON.

Anonymous K-9 Zelie

Anonymous K-9 Zelie

K-9 Zelie

I am a retired Air Force veteran and a current Corrections Officer.

Jane and K-9 George

Jane and K-9 George

K-9 George

My name is Jane Thompson, I am a 22-year veteran of the St. Paul Fire Department, a proud FEO medic and I love my job.

Anonymous #3

Anonymous #3

K-9 Ember

I would like to remain anonymous at this point in my journey through coping and healing.

The Prail's K-9 Asher

The Prail's K-9 Asher

K-9 Ahser

Asher joined the Prail family and came to his fur-ever home on January 1, 2022. They are a Law Enforcement family in the Twin Cities.

Maria Stevenson K-9 Cash

Maria Stevenson K-9 Cash


Hello, I am Maria am married to my husband of 13 years and we have 3 kids. We live on a small hobby farm in Minnesota. Here is my story…

Luke and K-9 Freya

Luke and K-9 Freya

Marine Corps / Police Officer

My name is Luke and I am a Marine Corps veteran and a Police Officer. I grew up in Minnesota in a suburb of the Twin Cities and joined the Marine Corps out of high school as a Military Police Officer.

K-9 Ajax

K-9 Ajax

K-9 Ajax

I have worked in Law Enforcement for over 15 years. There is so much that goes into this role, but I did not imagine what I would take on personally when I started in this career.

Charlie and K-9 Penny

Charlie and K-9 Penny

K-9 Penny

I have been a police officer for nine years. Over those years I have seen and done things the majority of the population will thankfully never have to.

Anonymous and K-9 Wulf

Anonymous and K-9 Wulf

K-9 Wulf

I am an Air Force Veteran and Law Enforcement Officer. I wish to remain anonymous.

Shannon and K-9 Chayenne

Shannon and K-9 Chayenne

K-9 Chayenne

I am Shannon and I was a St.Paul Police Officer. While at SPD I was a part of several units; Bike Unit, Bike rapid response team, Mobile field force, and The Mounted Unit. I volunteered for Honor Guard, The Explorer program, and Shop with Cops.

Anonymous and K9 Dyno

Anonymous and K9 Dyno

K9 Dyno

I have been a Police Officer for a little over 7 years in a metro police department. Having this job is one of the most important things I have ever accomplished in my life.

Allie Lynn

Allie Lynn

K-9 Finn

My name is Allison Kreft. I am a 34 year old mother of two married to an amazing supportive man for the past 13 years.

Kim and K-9 Bruno

Kim and K-9 Bruno

K-9 Bruno

My name is Kim, and I am a retired Inver Grove Heights Fire Department firefighter.

Samantha and K-9 Echo

Samantha and K-9 Echo

K-9 Echo

My name is Samantha, I am 26 years old and have two amazing young children

Alison and K-9 Loki

Alison and K-9 Loki

K-9 Loki

Its 3 AM and I’m awake, again. Someone recently told me I was Murphy’s Law as a human and they were right.

Ben and K-9 Remi

Ben and K-9 Remi

K-9 Remi

I grew up in West Central Wisconsin with an agricultural background. Following my childhood dreams I joined a police department in Northern Wisconsin.

Derek and K9 Casey

Derek and K9 Casey

K-9 Casey

My name is Derek Quade. I served in the Army from 2004-2014 with multiple deployments between Iraq and Afghanistan.

David and K9 Lucy

David and K9 Lucy

K-9 Lucy

My name is David Mazzola. I was born and raised in Chicago.

Anonymous K-9 Winston

Anonymous K-9 Winston

K-9 Winston

K9 Winston is helping his battle buddy in the everyday journey of life.

Dave and K-9  Schatze

Dave and K-9 Schatze

K-9 Schatze

MAJ David Schlicher received a Direct Commission in the United States Army Reserve on 15 April 2009 in the Military Police Corp.

Anonymous #4

Anonymous #4

K-9 Domino

I am an Air Force veteran and a Firefighter.

K-9 Kaya

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Sometimes, we get a recipient, and it is important to them to share their story, yet having their name and pictures out there makes them a little uncomfortable. We never want someone to not want a dog because they fear their name being out there and we would never put someone through more than they already have been through because of their sacrifices for our country. Thus we are very honored to have the privilege of introducing you to this next recipient. He has fought for our freedom and now it is time we show him he is not alone. He was gifted one the 3 new pups. He has named this beautiful little girl Kaya. Please join us in welcoming little K9 Kaya and her battle buddy to the Soldier's 6 family! May they never feel alone again. Special thank you once again to Sue. She has helped to heal 3 heroes with her beautiful donations of puppies.

Below is his bio:


I served on active duty as an infantryman in the US Army deploying to Afghanistan twice between the years of 2005 and 2011. After I got out of the military, I spent a few years battling myself, moving around, and not feeling a purpose in life.


I moved to Minnesota a few years ago after the loss of my previous dog to try and be closer to my family. I recently purchased a home and have been spending too much time alone and my family and friends have noticed me slipping into old, bad habits that were seen when I first got out of the military.

My family knew the importance my previous dog had in my life and they recommended Soldier6 to me in order to get myself back on track for good.

James and K-9 Mya

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Hi, my name is James Hamilton, and I have been in the army for 16 years and counting. I joined in 2006 when I realized college was not the right fit for me. I grew up in a military family; my dad was a major for the army for 21 years. I decided the discipline and structure were the right fit for me; thus, I embarked on my army career.


I first joined the National Guard and was part of the charlie company 834th ASB (Red Bulls). My MOS was 25 Bravo. My first deployment was in 2008-2009 to Iraq. I was nervous, not knowing what to expect entering into a war zone. This deployment, overall, was a typical deployment. I had some scary experiences, but because I never really left my base, it was better than it could have been.

I went to active duty in 2009, at Fort Bliss Texas Delta company 125th BSB attached 1-13th CAV. I then switched my MOS to 92 fox. I was deployed in 2011/2012 to Afghanistan, and unlike my last deployment, this one was rough. As a fueler in the army being deployed, I saw a lot more action and saw things no one should have to. To this day, I suffer from PTSD from this deployment. Something as innocent as a soccer ball had to be questioned and feared over there.


In January 2013, I left active duty and joined the reserves in which I still reside. I'm currently with the Great Lake Command, and I switched back to my original MOS as a 25 Bravo. I have received the soldier of the year reward, ARCOM, and army achievement medals. I am proud to be a soldier and to serve our country.


I married my wife in 2013 and welcomed a son in 2016 and a daughter in 2020. I always thought that with time, my anxiety and PTSD would fade, but that's not the case. It's hard to tell people you need help and that you're having a hard time with life dealing with things from deployment. For my civilian job, I am an over the road trucker, which leaves me to be alone at night and no one around to help me cope. My hope with this service dog is that I will have a battle buddy to help me deal with everyday life.

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Tim and K-9 Mia

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Hey there, my name is Tim Schroeder and I am a sergeant with Waseca Police Department. I have been a police officer for 24yrs, 23 of them with Waseca PD.


Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be an officer. My father was a paramedic and my grandfather a firefighter, so I knew I wanted to serve to community in my own way.


The life of an officer is not an easy one by any means. Many of us deal with the unthinkable and the lowest of the low, often finding it hard to see the good on the darkest of days. We deal with continuous trauma, which is often hard to reconcile within ourselves.


Waseca is a small, rural community and we often know those we serve and come in contact with. A few incidents from my experience stand out and will forever stick with me & have changed my life. The first that comes to mind is a deadly home invasion of a family that happened on Feb 3rd, 2007, and is an image I cannot unsee. On Jan 6th, 2019, I was shot at and witnessed one of my other three partners that night take a bullet to the head. Both of these have left me with the struggles of flashbacks, wondering if I did enough, did I fail my community & partners, survivor’s guilt and questioning my place as an officer and a person. I also feel I have placed a lot on my family to understand.


Having been a K9 officer, I know firsthand what a wonderful partner a dog makes. I am grateful to Soldiers 6 for recognizing a need for those in law enforcement to have the unconditional love of a dog to help with filling in those missing pieces. I recently suffered a mild heart attack and believe the gift of Mia will not only help heal my heart but also give me the motivation I need to keep moving in this crazy thing called life.


Thank you to all who serve and to those whom make this a possibility.

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Luis and K-9 Valens

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We welcome into our Soldiers 6 family a hero who has been through enough and wishes to remain a bit anonymous, and we absolutely respect that. He has given his all to his community, and tonight, he gets to snuggle and play with his new battle buddy, Valens. K9 Valens is special in so many ways, but his battle buddy is dedicating him to Officer Ella French(she is pictured below). Officer French killed in the line of duty this past August after a car she and her partner pulled over fired on the them. Ella tragically lost her life, and her partners will forever be changed. Special thank you to Coco's Heart Dog Rescue. We appreciate the care for our recipients and help in placing these 4 legged heroes with their new handlers.

Hello, my name is Luis and I am originally from a suburb of Chicago, Illinois called Carpentersville. I grew up there until 2007 when I moved to Minnesota to be with my now wife. My wife and I had two beautiful daughters.

It was my childhood dream of mine to become a police officer. In 2012 that dream came true and I became a police officer for one of the biggest departments in the State of Minnesota. During my service for this police department I saw a lot of events that normal civilians don’t see. I responded to shootings, stabbings, and people not breathing calls. Also I had to perform CPR on adults and on infants. The infants that I performed CPR on did not survive. This crushed me a lot seeing infants die. I also was involved in a squad accident where my partner and I were T-Boned by a drunk driver. Due to this accident I had a pulmonary embolism which is a blood clot that was found in my lungs. I was told by the doctor that if I had gone to sleep that morning after my shift my wife would have been found to be deceased because the blood clot was traveling up to my heart. And if the blood clot would have reached my heart it would have stopped it and I would have died. Due to me being new to the job I just brushed it off and continued to work. I didn’t realize that it was affecting me but it was because I wanted to be superman.

Fast forward to 2020 I was still a police officer for the same city where it all started. We all know what happened that year. I was detailed to work the unrest/riots. There we had stuff thrown at us, people shooting guns at us, shooting fireworks at us and getting verbally abused.

I finished working the riots and that was the first time I knew something was wrong with me. I was very paranoid, not wanting to stop for red lights and thought people were following me home. I knew that I had to get professional help. When I got professional help I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression. I had to medically retire from my childhood dream.

Having PTSD, anxiety and depression I feel like I can not go into any store because I always think that I am going to get ambushed or someone is going to recognize me. So I stay home for the most part and not go out.

I want a battle buddy to help me get out more and feel calmer at home and in the stores.

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Matt and K-9 Delta

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My name is Matt, I served in the army from 2011-2014. I was OEF 11-12 with the 172nd brigade, I experienced my first traumatic event when we found some older AT-4 launchers and were told to use them for training. During this time one of my friends was up to fire his and there was a rupture in the tube causing the weapon to detonate within the tube when fired. My friend was killed immediately. During the course of the next few years and after my out process I continued to use alcohol to mask the pain. I didn't want to show any weakness and did I feel I could trust anyone to be able to reach out for help. After my family who was very supportive told me and assisted in me to find the help I needed through the VA. Still having a few struggles, I have gone back to alcohol and continuing to shut down. I am currently working on getting better but then my mother found soldiers6 and told me to reach out. I feel this will be by far one of the best solutions to helping me. I strongly support this program and feel there needs to be more out there like soldiers6.

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Miguel and K-9 Raya

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My name is Miguel Guadalajara, and boy, have I had a such the life. After high school, I really did not know what I wanted to do with my life. I was not ready for college and I did not want to work at a dead-end job. So, in 1997, I joined the Marine Corps instead. What an experience I had. In my first four years I lived in California and traveled around the world, but when the nation was attacked, I knew things were about to change. In September 10, 2004, my Battalion and I were sent to Fallujah Iraq. We took part in Operation Phantom Fury, the taking of Fallujah. What an experience to say the least. I was in theater (Iraq) until April 2005. When I got back to the states, I had orders to Recruiting duty in Minnesota, this would be my second tour of recruiting duty.

In February 2009, I made the hardest decision in my life (at this time) and I left the Marine Corps and decided to start a new chapter of my life and follow my childhood dreams. So, I went to school and obtained my degree in criminal justice and passed the Minnesota post-test. Soon after, I was hired as a Police Officer on October 26, 2012.

I enjoyed my time as a police office, and loved everything about it. But my career was stopped short and again, I had to make the hardest decision in my life, to choose between my career or mental health. I choose my mental health, for the wellbeing of me and my family.

I reached out to Soldiers 6 and told them my story. I was lucky to be matched with a beautiful German Shepard named Raya. Thank you for the opportunity to have a companion through this horrible struggle I am going though.

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Aimee and K-9 Carl

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My name is Aimee. I was born in South Dakota and joined the Army out of high school. I’ve been serving for the last 20 years and am preparing for retirement. I moved to Minnesota in 2004 and after spending time away for deployments and military duty have been here.

During my service I was sexually assaulted while deployed to the Philippines. That event scarred me. I never sought help, thinking that my emotional state was due to depression which I’ve had my entire life. That event and the significant childhood trauma that had not been addressed has affected my ability to function. Adding on to that, during my deployment to Afghanistan I saw things that scared me, gave me nightmares, and brought up all the past traumas.

I have been trying to manage my pain with a variety of medications and half-assed therapy. It’s only recently, in the last two years, that I’ve been able to talk about my experiences honestly. I have major depressive disorder, I suffer from panic attacks and severe anxiety, insomnia, and was recently diagnosed with PTSD and another mental illness.

In a particularly bad moment I reached out to a good friend to express my despair and he told me about Soldiers6. He told me how the organization has helped his family and urged me to reach out. I never thought I would be able to get a service dog, I’d thought about it but felt there were others who needed them more.

So I reached out. Dana contacted me the same day and we scheduled a call with Ed the next day! They were so kind and made me feel like this was a real option for me. It’s a big step for me to admit I need help, and an even bigger deal to ask for it. I have to do something though, I want to enjoy my life and be the best mom I can be, because, frankly, I haven’t been doing either for a very long time. I’m hoping that with the support of a service dog and this wonderful organization, plus therapy, I can begin to heal.

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Dan and K-9 Maggie

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Sergeant Dan Wulff was born in Thailand, grew up in Laos, and moved to Minnesota when he was 10 years old. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, and was commissioned as an Army officer. He served in Germany and in the Army Reserve in Minnesota, attaining the rank of Captain. After completing the active duty part of his service, he joined the Minneapolis Police Department, and worked Patrol in the 4th Precinct, Gang Unit, Homicide, Juvenile Unit, and Bomb Squad.


In 2005, while serving as the Bomb Squad Commander, Dan was injured by a blast during a training exercise. He was following all of the safety protocols that were in place at the time, but the protocols were wrong. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, and the doctors said it was a miracle that he survived. Dan has been unable to work since his injury, but has focused on reaching out to other injured law enforcement officers to help them learn how to cope with their new normal.


Dan’s wife, Wendy, is his caregiver and best friend, and helped found the Minnesota Association for Injured Peace Officers. They have 3 adult sons, 2 daughters in law, and 2 grandsons. Dan and Wendy have become close friends with Maggie and her K9, Bailey. Dan saw how much Bailey helps Maggie, and even helps Dan to function better in environments where sensory overload is a factor. He is looking forward to welcoming and bonding with his own service dog from Soldiers 6.

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Gary and K-9 Glory

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Glory and Gary. Gary is a recently medically retired police officer. He worked for over 17 years for our town and 21 total years in law enforcement. When Gary took his uniform off December 23 2019 we didn’t know that he would not ever put it back on again. He was determined to get well and that is what started a whirlwind of time we had from doctors, psychologist, treatment, hospitalization, lawyers and more. I am glad he received the help he needed and is continuing to receive that help. He was saved by Grace the night it was too much and he didn’t want to live anymore, his cup overflowed. Grace brought him to a place where he could ask for help. He is now at 21 months of sobriety and he continues healing with his doctors and psychiatrist help. He has overcome many struggles in the last couple years and we are grateful for his accomplishments. Glory has an older pup brother Gunny. Gunny has been an important part of Gary’s recovery. Gary has brought Gunny pretty much where ever he goes. He has said that there are times that being accountable to his dog is part of his duty to keep pushing towards getting well. Gunny has taken on his new role as Gary’s buddy. It has been interesting watching the two interact and seeing the relationship between these two, Gunny notices Gary’s stress and Gary has picked up on Gunny’s cues. Gunny isn’t trained as a therapy or service dog but he has really fallen into the role well. With this we have realized how much benefit a service dog would be for Gary. Gunny is getting older, slowing down and can’t do as much as he used to so we are looking forward to Glory stepping into this role. Glory is loving our small hobby farm. There is plenty of room here for her to run, play and terrorize the chickens. We feel blessed to have this opportunity to have Glory as part of our family. We are so thankful for the support of Invisible Wounds Project and Soldiers 6.

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Michael and K-9 Xandra

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My name is Michael Westerfield, I was born and raised by my parents in Easton, MD and after I graduated from high school, I joined the navy. I had met the mother of my two children, who are amazing boys that are my whole world. I served 10 years in the navy before I injured my back, I had done two deployments. I have seen some amazing places in the world and along those I was a part of the Haiti Relief and was one of the first Navy ships out there.


I moved here to Minnesota due to my ex was from here to be close to her family. I had a very hard time adjusting and became very closed off. My boys were the ones who helped me see more clearly and what I needed to do, which was to give them a better life. I started to go to college to better myself and it also helped me with becoming social again. Shortly after starting college, it was hard being around the civilian side so I reached out and joined the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). They helped me to get back in to the civilian world and every step of the way. Without me joining the WWP I would have never have meet some of the amazing service members that I know can call friends, and one in, Tim Diamond, who pointed me to here for help, Soldiers 6.


I knew with everything medically and mentally going on in my life I need help and you can not always get ahold of someone. Being able to have a K-9 by my side 24/7 I know that I will have someone in my corner even in my darkest hour. Everyone needs someone to watch there 6 and that is why this program is so beneficial. Between having a K-9, my kids (when I get them), friends, and family I know I will never have to go through a dark time again. Thank you so much Soldier 6 for making this all possibly for all of us.

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Patrick and K-9 LEO

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My name is Patrick Nickle, I am a 26-year veteran of both active duty in the Marine Corps and reservist in the Army. I spent 13 years enlisted and 13 years as an officer with 3 deployments. Like many service members, I have had many friends who passed due to external injuries but more who have passed because of the demons they face after serving their country.


I have also been a Police Officer for 18 years and within the 18 years, I was on a part-time SWAT team. I have been on numerous callouts at all hours of the day and night. I started off on the entry team, cross leveled to sniper and promoted to the Commander rank. I am also a street supervisor who has had to deal with some of the worst calls imaginable which is to tell parents their loved one died in an accident, or your family member took his life.


I am no different from the next guy who has had to deal with some tragic situations whether overseas or on the streets. These situations take a toll on our mental health and before you know it, you’re contemplating life and if it is worth living. You become reckless in your actions by confronting people for simple things knowing damn well they’re not why you’re in pain.


I may or may not have gone through some of this but what I can tell you is after getting involved in a road rage incident with my young son in the car, it was time to get help. I sought out help through the VA, but they can only help so much.


Just when I thought things were turning around, I had a house fire and lost everything which included my family dog. I was devastated, depressed, and found myself in a funk. It was at this point I was contacted by Ed who offered a therapy dog which I accepted without hesitation.


My puppy, Leo, is a golden retriever/ Labrador mix. He is 9 weeks old and has been nothing shy of amazing. I have only had him a few days at this point, but Leo has been a light, he is such a loving, caring dog who looks up at you with these kind eyes. It’s almost as if he knows and is telling me, I am here now, I got you. Leo is exactly what I needed and I look forward for our future adventures together.


Patrick and K-9 LEO

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My name is Patrick Nickle, I am a 26-year veteran of both active duty in the Marine Corps and reservist in the Army. I spent 13 years enlisted and 13 years as an officer with 3 deployments. Like many service members, I have had many friends who passed due to external injuries but more who have passed because of the demons they face after serving their country.


I have also been a Police Officer for 18 years and within the 18 years, I was on a part-time SWAT team. I have been on numerous callouts at all hours of the day and night. I started off on the entry team, cross leveled to sniper and promoted to the Commander rank. I am also a street supervisor who has had to deal with some of the worst calls imaginable which is to tell parents their loved one died in an accident, or your family member took his life.


I am no different from the next guy who has had to deal with some tragic situations whether overseas or on the streets. These situations take a toll on our mental health and before you know it, you’re contemplating life and if it is worth living. You become reckless in your actions by confronting people for simple things knowing damn well they’re not why you’re in pain.


I may or may not have gone through some of this but what I can tell you is after getting involved in a road rage incident with my young son in the car, it was time to get help. I sought out help through the VA, but they can only help so much.


Just when I thought things were turning around, I had a house fire and lost everything which included my family dog. I was devastated, depressed, and found myself in a funk. It was at this point I was contacted by Ed who offered a therapy dog which I accepted without hesitation.


My puppy, Leo, is a golden retriever/ Labrador mix. He is 9 weeks old and has been nothing shy of amazing. I have only had him a few days at this point, but Leo has been a light, he is such a loving, caring dog who looks up at you with these kind eyes. It’s almost as if he knows and is telling me, I am here now, I got you. Leo is exactly what I needed and I look forward for our future adventures together.


Jeff and K-9 Dino

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My name is Jeff and I grew up in suburban Minneapolis and in February of 1997 I joined the Army. After basic training I was stationed in Germany and immediately upon my arrival I was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina. I returned to Germany after my deployment but was again deployed to the Balkan Region, this time to Kosovo. After completing that deployment I returned to Germany and finished the rest of my active duty.

After being discharged from the Army I found employment with a metro county sheriff’s office. It was a natural fit because I enjoyed the same comrdamie in law enforcement that I found in the military. Through the course of my professions I have repeatedly witnessed the worse actions humanity can inflict upon one another and themselves. I now see that constant exposure to that kind of trauma slowly changed me from an easygoing, happy go-lucky guy into being angry, resentful, suspicious of everyone, and prone to dramatic mood swings. After the civil unrest settled down in the summer of 2020 I began mental health counseling again and shortly afterwards I knew I could no long stay employed as a deputy sheriff. After a lot of talk with my wife we made the decision for me to step away from my career in law enforcement.

After leaving law enforcement I have continued my mental health counseling but I still deal with anxiety, depression, and wild mood swings. I look forward to starting this new opportunity with Soldiers 6. I am hopeful that working with a service dog will help lower my anxiety and depression and also help me to get back to enjoying activities that I haven’t in quite some time.

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Trey and K-9 Gunner

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Hi, my name is Jimmy. I prefer to be called Trey as I am the third born Jimmy. I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. My dad was stationed there during that time. My Dad continued in the Army and we moved from state to state. I lived in North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Washington and North Dakota.

When I was 17, I decided that I wanted to join the Army and follow in the footsteps of my Dad. I went to basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. I went to Airborne school after basic training and then was first stationed at Hohenfels, Germany. I was assigned to A co 1-4 INF. I spent 3 years in Germany while serving two deployments to Afghanistan. After my deployments I was sent back to the U.S. and was then stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I was assigned to A co 1-505 PIR. I did one deployment with A co 1-505 PIR to Afghanistan again.

Soon after my deployments I started showing signs of PTSD from my deployments, so it was determined by the Army that started going to therapy. I went through some extensive therapy in the Army. It was then determined that I continue with medical discharge from the Army due to my PTSD. I was discharged in February of 2013.

After discharge, I moved to Minnesota. My wife is from Minnesota, so I moved up to there to be with her, so we could continue to grow our family. We have six amazing kids together. Shortly after the move, I started going to the V.A. for therapy. It was beneficial, but found I needed a change in therapists. Within the past year, I started seeing a different therapist who has helped me in so many ways with my PTSD. She suggested that I look into service dogs to help me with my PTSD, so I started looking around to see what the possibilities were. After an appointment, I was talking to a buddy of mine who gave me the name of Soldier’s 6. He encouraged me to look into this specific organization. I am so glad to have found this organization and my Battle Buddy.

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Ben and K-9 Sunny

Hi. My name is Benny Lego. I was a police officer for the City of St. Paul for 14.5 years. I worked security at MOA for 8 years before that. My experiences at the MOA were significant enough to prepare me for my career in law enforcement. Approximately 23 years in law enforcement and related fields.

I was a patrol officer, serving the city’s eastern district for the majority of my time there. I was able to work all districts but the east side was the best for me.

Until it wasn’t. Detachment, isolation at work. Fears of death, and certain imprisonment for doing my job hindered my ability to do my job. Not wanting to share my agonizing struggle with my family, i kept it hidden inside. Almost daily panic attacks starting in 2016 until my last day at work adversely affected my work habits, and performance. I sought the help of our department EAP Sergeant and began seeing a therapist. This helped some and bought me time to improve my severe anxiety and severe depression. But these things became too difficult to overcome.

Now i have a very difficult time leaving the house. Going to stores. And even going into my own kitchen. All of these things and more cause me to have panic attacks.

We were informed of the possibility of having a service dog. At first i thought no way. I didn’t need one. But encouragement from my beautiful and dedicated wife, and my slow recovery convinced me to consider. I spoke with Ed from Soldier’s 6 and we had a very deep and heart to heart talk. I was convinced afterward this would be a huge help for me.

With the help from Soldier’s 6, i got Sunny. He’s currently a 4 month old Cavapoo (King Charles Cavalier/Poodle mix). He has fit right in to our home. I will be enrolling in the service dog training recommended by Soldier’s 6 after some time getting Sunny acclimated to our home.

I’m not done with my journey. I have a long way to go. Soldier’s 6 has become part of it and I am looking forward to this opportunity to help improve my condition and become a contributing member of society once again.

Stay Safe.

Benny Lego

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Tim and K-9 Gunny

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I served in the Marines from July 1989 to July 2011. Through this period I have served from Camp Lejeune to Camp Pendleton to Washington DC. My three combat deployments came at the end of my career. I started out as a truck driver and proceeded on to get training in Logistics. It was one hell of a ride, but all good things must come to an end. I have several deployments all over the world. I have three tours in Iraq at the end of my time in the military.

Since I have retired I have suffered from PTSD AND Depression. It is for these reasons I these reasons I think I would benefit from a service dog.


Timothy J. Diamond

Retired GySgt (E7) USMC


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Lorrie and K-9 Daisy

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My name is Lorrie. I am 58 and I grew up in Sioux Falls SD. I am married to the love of my life William Branum. I grew up raising and riding horses and working along side my dad on his construction jobs. I participated in all types of sports as well. I guess you could say I worked and played hard.

At 19 I married my first husband and moved to Grand Forks AFB (he joined the Air Force). After 2 kids and 4 years in Grand Forks, he switched services to the Marine Corps. Of to California for 4 years. Then Hawaii and another child. After 12 years of active duty he decided to go Reserve and we returned home to Sioux Falls. There I enrolled in an EMT class and thus began the greatest career of my life.

I began my EMS career in 1997. Became a paramedic in 1999. At that time I was told that since I was 1 of only 3 women medics in Sioux Falls I was going to have to work harder to prove myself. I took the challenge. I grew up learning to work hard and suck it up when it came to struggles and keep going. I applied that to my EMS career.

We divorced shortly after and I became a single mom of 3. I spent the first few years working for Rural/Metro in Sioux Falls and flying Fixed wing for both hospitals(Avera Mckennon and Sioux Sanford). I also flew rotor wing for Avera Mckennon (the first female flight medic to fly for them as a medic. Others were medics but became RN's and flew). I loved flying!!! I loved the motto of" do it bigger, better, stronger, smarter and faster than the guys"...and I earned the respect of not only the ambulance staff but Police, Fire and hospital staff as well.

I took a medic job for North Memorial in the Forest Lake region in August 2002. My youngest daughter moved with me. I worked 911 and critical care during my time in Forest Lake. I also flew a year with North Aircare in Princeton. I flew the first flight out of their new base in Princeton. Needless to say trying to balance career and single mom and traveling to Sioux Falls to see my other 2 grown kids was a challenge at times but I love my kids and my career so I pushed through! I had the best time and career ever!!!! I spent the last 10 years of my career as a Field training officer and an educator for our staff on top of working. I was a natural at training and teaching and running calls. EMS was my thing.

At home though, I was struggling with a teenage daughter who was pretty lost. She had battled depression and anxiety for years and I seemed to have to battle providers and hospitals to get her some help. Always a roller coaster ride. She is amazing and really doing well today. During this time I also became a grandma(oldest daughter had first child...she is married and now has 4) and my son was deployed to Iraq with the Army(active duty). 3 deployments with him and a complete medical disabled discharge due to TBI, PTSD and some physical limitations. So extremely proud of him. He has a a wife and 3 kids.

I met the love of my life in May of 2012. William is the best man I have ever known. He has opened a whole new world for me...outdoor girl. ATV's, hunting, guns, fishing, motorcycle and snowmobiling. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect husband for me...well actually I did...I prayed...GOD answered.

In November of 2012, I suffered a severe concussion at home...silly freak accident. I was out of work about 8 weeks. I didn't think I was ready to go back but doctors cleared me. I have said since that injury that I feel my brain never really came back to what it was. I started struggling with making decisions, handling stress and sleeping. I struggled with the bad calls, and would beat myself up when a patient died. I felt I should have done more. It seemed like the calls were becoming more dangerous for us at that time too. More patients assualting us. More threats from patients and on several occasions I was assualted physically. No support from management. Suck it up or get out was what we were being told. Even some of the Police officers or county deputies thought it was no big deal and that it was just part of the they never really helped us out. That felt like such a betrayal. My husband was very angry and frustrated that this was happening. I was having a harder time processing these events and the bad call after bad call. Anxiety and depression started showing up. I felt like life was out of control. By 2015, we(my husband and myself)decided I needed to get out. I needed to retire my medic and find something that would be easier on my mind and body. After 18 years in EMS, I left June 28th 2015. I took a job as a telemetry technician at HCMC monitoring cardiac pts. Easy peasy. I thought I made it out. I thought I made it out unbroken. But I was wrong. In the past 6 years, I have struggled with headaches, stress, anxiety, depression, inability to focus, sleep problems, shame, low self esteem , day dreaming, and some physical injuries. I broke both ankles in the first 2 years off the truck. I have had back surgery to remove a cyst compressing my syatic nerve. I have gained a lot of weight due to anxiety and depression. I now have a CPAP and high blood pressure. I saw a therapist who helped me put in place coping skills, and she talked about my PTSD. I had episodes of flashing back to calls or intrusive thoughts and even thoughts of dying. The therapist was very helpful and I started feeling better. 2020 brought that to a screeching halt. My anxiety and depression slowing increased and I felt so disconnected and unable to focus that I haven't been able to read a book since. Due to the pandemic, my health care was limited and my mental health took a dive. Through it all though, I did my best to smile and say "I'm fine". This past year I can now add fibromyalgia and chronic pain and fatigue to my list. Through all of this my husband has been my rock!! WE also rescued a senior yellow lab named Lucy. She was "our" therapy dog...just naturally. No formal training but she loved us as much as we loved her. Everything was about our girl Lucy. Lucy passed away just short of 14 years this past May 10th. We are devastated. I am struggling.

Yes I know I am grieving. I always will grieve her. But I am struggling and very tired.

I saw a link for Solders6 on the Northwoods Humane Society Facebook page. I read about their organization...and cried. That’s when I reached out.

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Jason and K-9 Arrow

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I’m Jason, I am currently a 4 year LEO, I worked in the Federal system for 2 years before making the move to my current agency where I have been for over 2 years. Law Enforcement for me has been a calling since I was a little kid. I could not see myself doing anything else but this amazing job. To me the saying “pick a career and you’ll never work a day in your life” is 100% true. I love the fact that I get to help people more specifically kids that somewhat match with my situation and let them know someone cares about them.

I grew up in Northern Wisconsin, around 9 years old, my parents split and went through a nasty divorce and I was moved around Northern Wisconsin for about a year to a year and a half, never spending more than 6 months at a place. At one point, I was in a shelter for domestic victims and other women of abusive relationships with my mother. During the divorce I was put in therapy and was coached on what to say how to say and when to say stuff. Needless to say it didn’t work.

In high school, my mother and I had a falling out and we disowned each other and I lived with my dad until I moved out when I was 19 and lived with my now wife in college.

From the age of 18 to now, the relationship with my family has been very very rocky at times nonexistent. I could tell when I would start to get “off” but always told myself I did not need help.

For years, I would go through the cycle of being off and not seeking help and then realizing that maybe seeing someone would benefit me but never had the courage to do so. Until this year, 2021. I realized I could not take it anymore; I could not put the fake smile on and pretend everything was ok. I realized that I had been off for a while and it was making me not be the best husband and father I could be. At that point, I knew it needed to change and I had to stop lying to myself and my loved ones.

I found a therapist who specializes in working with First Responders even if the symptoms are not job related. It took me three times to make the appointment, The first two times I would call and hang up and tell myself I’m ok and I don’t need help, knowing that was complete garbage and I called one day and got an appointment set up.

This past week, my wife reached out to Ed and Dana as I was not in a good place I have been battling depression for a few months and it is gotten worse. Every time I would see a glimmer of light at the top, I would get sucked down further.

I finally told my wife and therapist that for some time I have been having thoughts of self-harm and suicide knowing there was no way I would act on the thoughts but they have been increasing and becoming very descriptive, very graphic and never ending. The thoughts consume my daily life and I just go through the motions.

I remember my wife calling me and saying Ed would be calling me and “just talk to him”. I spent almost 2 hours on the phone with Ed, learning about each other and the path that led me to Soldier6 and learning his story and how this amazing organization came about and how it has helped so many people. Ed made it clear that we are not alone and even though there are bad days, there are also good days ahead and that hit home.

I am very thankful and grateful that my wife reached out and put me in connection with this organization and I cannot wait to see where it takes me and start training with my battle buddy.

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Kyle and K-9 Hobey

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Hi my name is Kyle. I grew up in small town in Iowa and moved to Minnesota when I was 21. That is when I worked multiple different jobs trying to find my calling and the military was a place, I thought I could start a career.


I joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 2009 as a helicopter engine mechanic. Early 2014, I was selected to become a UH-60 Blackhawk crewchief for a MEDEVAC unit. Late 2014, I went on my first deployment as an engine mechanic and worked in production control in Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

When I returned home from my first deployment, I went to reclass school to become a 15T (UH-60 mechanic). Once I returned from school I began flying as a crewchief for the MEDEVAC company I was assigned to.


In 2017, I performed my first life saving rescue in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. I then deployed in 2018 with my MEDEVAC unit to Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Syria. As a unit we completed over 100 MEDEVAC missions. Soon after returning home, I started showing symptoms of PTSD and decided to start going to therapy.


I started therapy in August of 2019, to try and understand and cope with some of the symptoms I was experiencing while also being diagnosed with PTSD. In December 2019 I lost three of my brothers during a Maintenance Test Flight. I continued to receive therapy and tired multiple different types of therapy to try and find some relief.


With not much progress with therapy in the last year I reached out to friends and family to ask for recommendations for a service dog. I had a friend mention that they recommended Soldier 6 and that is when I decided to reach out and see if they could help me.

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Drey and K-9 Tucker

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I joined the Marine Corps in October of 2003. After boot camp and my MOS school, I was immediately deployed to Fallujah Iraq where I did 2 back to back tours. During those tours, I was involved in an operation called phantom fury where we had to clear the city house by house. After my enlistment, I joined the bear creek fire department in North Carolina. There have been many things I’ve seen and done that I wish I could forget. I currently suffer from PTSD, nightmares, severe anxiety and manic depression and I believe a battle buddy would help me through a lot of the turmoil’s I deal with on a daily basis.

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Note Tim will be joining forces with his battle buddy, one of the super adorable German Shepherd puppies you have seen on the page (name to be determined). We will update this section once a name is selected and Tim is paired with his buddy. Below is Tim's Bio.

My name is Tim.  I went right from High School into the Army for 3 years. After that I sort of fell into law enforcement. Not the typical career someone ‘falls into’, but I loved it and was part of who I was, part of who I am.  I spent 8 years with Milwaukee PD, exploring various paths, horse patrol, investigations and the beat.  I left Milwaukee as my wife and I had started a family and wanted to be closer to her home.  20 years later this is also my home. When I left Milwaukee, I joined Brooklyn Park PD.  Again, I explored and jumped in anywhere I could; SWAT, investigation, undercover narcotics.  I loved it – until one day I didn’t. I guess it had been building over time, but my wife would tell you that one day it changed – I changed.  The years of suppressing the emotions and the trauma that I had seen in 25+ years became too much.  I became withdrawn from my career  – becoming mentally debilitated the day before I would have to go back to work – and withdrawn from my family.  In 2019, I was diagnosed with PTSD.  I tried for two years to get “back to my old self,” but the memories and the trauma were too great.  I left the PD in 2020.  I still struggle daily-often little tasks become too overwhelming and the nightmares continue.  I am grateful for Ed and Dana and having been referred to them.  I am so inspired by Soldiers 6 and am looking forward to meeting my battle buddy and continuing this journey and my recovery.  My hope is that some day I get to a place where I can help others that struggle with this condition as well.

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Maggie and K-9 Bailey

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My name is Maggie. I am from Southern Minnesota. I live on a small hobby farm with my family.

In college, I pursued a career in law enforcement. In 2007 I was hired as a police officer for Faribault Police Department, a busy, blue collar city. Six years later I was in a crash in I-35 while assisting with a call of a vehicle stalled on the road. In 2015 I was forced to medically retire due to the extent of my injuries.

Between a difficult childhood, calls as a police officer then the debilitating crash, I have struggled with sleep, nightmares, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, and depression and memory issues.

Last fall I had a scare when the combination of my pushing my anxiety limits, dehydration and a medication caused my brain to do a complete reset while I was walking on a narrow wave break on Lake Superior.

That as well a over 7 years of therapy and no end in sight, I knew I needed another tool on my tool belt that wasn't a medication.

The recent death of two of our family dogs have opened my eyes to how much they had been helping my mental health.

I reached out to Soldier's 6 and was immediately put in contact with Dana and Ed. My hope is that a service dog will assist with recovery and management of my mental health conditions.

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Shirley and K-9 Athena

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My name is Shirley. I grew up in NE Minneapolis and was raised by my single mother. I graduated from DeLaSalle High School in 2008. My mom worked hard to provide me with a private education. I enlisted in the Navy shortly after graduating high school and was stationed at the Portsmouth medical hospital.


For as long as I can remember, I wanted to work in social services. Mental health difficulties and substance abuse have plagued my family for generations. While enlisted, I attended community college and received an associate's degree in social science. After being honorably discharged, I moved back to MN and attended college at Concordia University to study human resources management. I chose to study HR because it seemed comparable to my rate in the navy. I quickly learned that civilian HR and my role in the military were very different. I had minimal passion for the subject but decided it was best to finish the degree I started. I graduated from Concordia with a BA and went on to enroll in a master's program in the mental health field.


I received my master's degree and am now a marriage and family therapist and substance abuse counselor. I have worked in a variety of settings within my field and love the work I do. I intend to utilize my service dog for my personal mental health needs and as a supportive therapy dog to my clients. I believe I am good at what I do because of the many traumatic events I have experienced throughout my life and subsequent mental health struggles. I have chosen to use my gift of longsuffering to help others which has given my life great meaning and purpose. Although there are many benefits to my work, I have experienced the loss of multiple clients due to drug/alcohol use and overdose.


I struggle with persistent fears of danger, hypervigilance, and underlying consistent anxiety (to name a few). I have witnessed the power of animals to help humans in many ways. The love, companionship, and loyalty of a dog is like no other. This program is a blessing to many people and I greatly appreciate Ed and Dana for their hard work in providing this service.


K-9 Cersei

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We are so excited to welcome a new member into our Soldiers 6 family. This one is extra special! They are our 1st corrections officer recipient!! Way to pave the way for the rest. Love it!! They have chosen to remain anonymous, and like always, we respect that. They picked up their new pup this weekend. Thank you to Coco's Heart Dog Rescue for another perfect match. Thank you to you all! All of our supporters. It is because of you that this is all possible. Please join me in welcoming our newest recipient and their battle buddy, Cersei. Which I am way behind in my TV shows. I just discovered she was named after a Game Of Thrones character.

I was born in Minnesota but moved to the west coast when I was a teen and lived there for about 15 years. While there I worked as a correctional officer for almost 10 years but due to unforeseen circumstances and a desire to be close to family again I moved back to Minnesota in 2017. I've been working for the Minnesota department of corrections now for a little over 2 years. I have always had the desire to help others and do my part. I have seen a lot of stuff over the years and it's taken its toll on me both mentally and physically. I suffer from PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, hyper alertness, depression and fibromyalgia...basically a hot mess. I have looked into service dogs in the past but it was never financially feasible for me and I thought it would never be an option for me. So when I heard about Soldiers 6 from a co worker I think it was meant to be. I don't think he realizes what a blessing this is to me and my family. I know that I don't always deal and cope in the healthiest ways and as much as I hate to admit it my wife and kids take the brunt of it even though I never mean for it to be that way. My hope is that whichever dog chooses me will help me through my dark days and help me live a healthier happier life. A huge thank you to Dana and Ed for all their help and support through this program and to Mike for introducing me to Soldiers 6.

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Elisabeth and K-9 Oakley


We have another recipient to add to our Soldiers 6 family, and it seems fitting that I get to introduce her and her puppy on Veterans Day. Elisabeth Devin and her battle buddy, K9 Oakley have already become a wonderful team. Life can be crazy, but there is no doubt in my mind that together they will conquer life head on. Oakley knows his job and he does it well. So very proud of them. Please join me in welcoming them to the Soldiers 6 family. This couldn’t happen without all of the amazing support we get from you all. Thank you so much. We are here because of you... our supporters. Without further delay, meet Elisabeth and Oakley. 


My name is Lis, and I am a 2020 recipient of a wonderful K9 partner named Oakley. 


I was in the Army for five years, primarily as a combat medic, and I later switched to the Air Force to become an air evac flight medic. I served in OIF/OEF, and after ten years of service, I was honorably discharged in 2008. Like so many of us, I vehemently denied that anything I was feeling was different or unique from my fellow veterans. I struggled with sleep, anxiety, depression, and a good ole’ fashion dose of PTSD. 


It took me several years to reach out for help, and I always ended up quitting therapy before it got too hard. I am a master at coping mechanisms, a skill for better or worse that has gotten me through tough times. Through it all, I had my boy Jax (an Olde English bully)  for 11 years -- who was my rock and soulmate of a dog. I lost Jax in 2018 to old age and the third round of cancer. 


I had no idea how much he support he gave to me throughout our 11 years together until he was gone. I had several doctors recommend a PTSD dog after Jax’s death, and I said absolutely not. I was never going to have another dog again. Well, you know how it is - dogs find you and find a way into your heart. 


I connected with Soldier’s 6 a few years ago to help fundraise for them. I knew what Jax meant to me and understood how S6’s mission could be life-changing for veterans like myself. Well, it turns out a few years later, I was ready for a new dog after all. Soldier’s 6 has been there for me through quite a journey this past year. Ed and Dana are doing precisely what they are meant to do in this life with S6, and I am so very grateful. I am also incredibly excited for Oakley and me to start our journey together and look forward to better days to come.


K-9 Winnie

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This last weekend, we welcomed another member to our Soldiers 6 family. This is a military recipient, who wishes to remain anonymous. We respect that. They did share a bio for you to see the path in life that brought them here. We thank them for their service and with open arms welcome them into the family. This weekend, they were partnered with thier battle buddy, Winnie. Thank you Coco's Heart Dog Rescue for another fantastic match. Welcome to the family Winnie and battle buddy.

I grew up in the Southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. I had always wanted to join the military and do something in Special Operations, but other than my grandfathers, no one in my family had served. After going to college and working a “regular job” for a few years I decided if I did not enlist now, I’d likely never do it.

In 2013 I enlisted in the US Army with a Special Forces contract. I attended Infantry basic training at Fort Benning and followed on with Airborne School. From there I went to the Special Forces Assessment and Selection. I was selected and began my Special Forces training at Fort Bragg for the next 2 years. The course was intense, and you could be dropped at any time. It was my initial exposure to the level of intensity I would be living daily. During my initial medical training, I encountered some of my first traumatic experiences working in civilian Emergency Rooms and EMS.

After Green Beret graduation, I was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, KY. The unit I was given orders to was called the “Crisis Response Force” and I was immediately sent to Sniper School and another Close Quarters Battle (CQB) school for 18 weeks of training in hostage rescue, building breaching/assaulting and special reconnaissance. I was deployed with the unit to Iraq and when I returned I began experiencing the first anxiety/depression/panic symptoms. In the military, any behavioral health records can be accessed by command teams. I held (and needed) a Top-Secret clearance for the job, so I could not jeopardize it by potentially sharing things in therapy that would disqualify me. Instead, I coped with alcohol and was miserable. I decided I needed to make a change, so I left the military.

We moved back to MN, and soon after I realized my anxiety/depression/panic symptoms were just as bad as they were in the Army. I also noticed I was hyper-vigilant and my temper was razor thin. I found it impacting my ability to be a good husband and father and I needed help. I had tried therapy and medications in the past, and I never really got relief. I came across Soldier’s 6 on social media and reached out to them. I heard back from Dana almost instantly, and she connected me with Ed. From there they facilitated the process and I was given “Winnie”. The two of us will start our training soon and I’m grateful and excited to begin!

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K-9 Copper

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Congrats to our latest law enforcement recipient. Welcome to the family...

Well this little guy has been home for awhile. Actually, since the day we dropped him off at his home, even though it was to foster, some how we just knew this sneaky beagle would work his way into their hearts. Some recipients want to remain anonymous, at least on social media posts. We respect that. Copper is a beautiful beagle and he is staying with his law enforcement family.

Dogs... just say the word and it can bring a smile to your face and warm your heart. In fact, scientists say a “cuddle with your pup triggers oxytocin release, helping you to bond with your pet and alleviate stress”. When K-9 Copper came to live with his foster family, he gave them a run for their money. But during those crazy moments, he burrowed his way into their hearts. Law enforcement, military, firefighters, dispatchers, EMT’s and correctional officers can suffer from PTSD , or just the emotional effects of these jobs. Copper has been doing his job since he took residency in their home. Dogs are the best medicine.

Thank you to all of our supporters who continue to support to allow unions like this. Copper and his buddy have many awesome days ahead. And we are so glad it’s permanent


Todd and K-9 Diesel

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Hi my name is Todd. I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Having an extensive family history in military service, I knew at a young age I wanted to serve my country or the community I lived in.

After graduating high school in 1990, I decided to start college moving towards my law enforcement degree. I attended Inver HillsCommunity College and graduated with a Criminal Justice degree in 1993. While attending Inver Hills, I completed a police internship with a Dakota County police department.

In 1994, I attended and graduated from the Center for Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. In 1997, I was hired as a police officer for a Ramsey County police department where I continued to work until 2006 on a part-time basis.

In 2000, I was hired as a full time police officer for a Dakota County police department. I worked as a patrol officer on all 3 shifts throughout my career. I was enthusiastic about being a police officer and what I did for a career. It was not just a job to me, it was something I needed to do to help people and my community. It truly felt good!

After approximately 10 years on the job full-time, things just felt different. I didn't have the enthusiasm I once had, but I knew this was just part of the job and time on tends to change things. I kept a level head and always tried to be positive and say to myself I can do this. This is normal.

On July 30th, 2014 a friend and co-worker was killed in the line of duty. I felt emotions and feelings that I have never encountered in my entire life. Anger that this happened and I couldn't' stop it from happening. Sadness for the family who will never have this great man in their life ever again. I couldn't get a real grip around this tragedy. The department had changed, the job had become exactly that a job. We received counseling but it just didn't change my anger. I knew at this point being a senior officer, how I showed emotion and how I performed my job from now on in would reflect on new officers starting. I buckled down,I have a job to do and my community and partners still need to trust in me. So I continued on through many dark days keeping it all close to the vest as they say.

I went through several more years, dealing with a lot of turn over in the department. The repeated exposure to trauma clearly was taking its toll, what I thought was the new normal was not anything close to normal. It wasn't until I started seeing a counselor for the physical signs that I realized this. I thought I didn't need counseling, I thought I was tougher than that, then I realized how truly stupid it was to think like that. If I went to call I would encourage someone to seek counseling. I realized cops are good at giving advice but not for following their own advice.

The counseling helped me, but the job just wasn't the same. I always felt like when is my day coming, especially as the calls of service and trauma increased over the years.

In January 2019, I responded to a naked male trying to break into an occupied residence. I arrived first, the male was striking the glass patio window with an object trying to get in. The suspect charged me despite being tased, a struggle ensued and he struck me in the head with a large metal object. I was able to fight through the injury and take the suspect into custody.

Due to the injury on that day, I was not able to return to duty. That was difficult to swallow! As a counselor once said to me, your glass is full and its been over flowing for a long time! That needs to change.

Today I am still recovering from my injury and several diagnosis, its been a long slow battle with many frustrating dark days.

I have been blessed to have a wonderful supportive family, friends and wife. I have been also very lucky to have crossed paths with Ed and Dana, they truly have a gift to help others and are wonderful people!

Thanks to them, our new family edition "Diesel" will make for brighter days ahead on the days we need that extra guidance.

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Josh and K-9 Kodi

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My name is Josh. I grew up in multiple states (Military Step-Dad), but was mainly born and raised a Minnesotan. True and true Minnesota sports fan (diehard/unfortunate). Graduated high school in Shakopee, and after military service earned a bachelor’s in criminal justice.

After high school I joined the U.S. Army in 2009 as a 12B (Combat Engineer). After basic training I was assigned my unit and immediately started mobilization training for deployment (Route Clearance/IED Hunting). After MOB training I was deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan (2010) to conduct route clearance attached to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Marine Infantry divisions.

I served a year in the Helmand region (RC South), and experienced my first first direct IED explosion to the vehicle I was driving on October 31st, 2010. Over the course of the year in Afghanistan my vehicle as a driver or gunner hit a total of 13 IEDs, firefights, and other encounters with the Taliban. My unit recorded a OEF record over 350 IEDs cleared off the battlefield.

Soon after my to the United States (served 6 years) I experienced many of the symptoms of PTSD, concussion, and re assimilation to society. The VA to me felt very underwhelming, not supportive, and like I was a number. I decided to try and bear the weight and be Army strong, which turned out to be a bad choice. In the last two years I’ve decided after struggling I’d hit my limit emotionally and started claiming disabilities, getting therapy, and admitting I’m human.

I have been fortunate to have been introduced to many caring people including Dr.Don Wood of Inspired performance institute. The neuro science available from Dr.Wood has tremendously helped in my recovery, as well as managing my symptoms with proper care. The last 10 years has been a real struggle day to day managing my feelings, emotions, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

While it is very early in my recovery and progression of healing my traumas I feel Soldiers 6 has been a blessing for getting me a battle buddy to attack my weaknesses. My amazing girlfriend Amber worked with Dana and introduced me to Ed recently, and we were awarded Kodi. I feel so grateful, hopeful, and an enormous debt to Soldiers 6 for helping in my PTSD recovery.

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Adam and K-9 Breezer

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My name is Adam Potter and I live in Hastings Minnesota. I grew up on a farm near Danube, Minnesota. I graduated from Renville County West high school in 2002. After graduation, I attended Army infantry basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. After basic, I was assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and Bravo Company 2-35 Infantry. During my 5 1/2 years in the Army, I was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. I initially was supposed to serve 4 years but was affected by the stop loss policy the Army had and sent to Kirkuk, Iraq.

During my time deployed, I conducted hundreds of patrols, raids, and other missions, I have seen many disturbing things that off and go along with war. However, it wasn’t until Iraq and some events that happened there that I really changed and started having issues. I had witnessed friends dying due to car bombs and IED’s, and lost my best friend, Derek Roberts, to a land mine. I also lost another friend, Derek Dobogai to a helicopter crash. That one was a tough one since my platoon was the first ones on the scene of the crash. I did not know my friend was on it until I was pulling him off the wrecked helicopter and put him in a body bag. The scene there was a mess and something that haunts me to this day.

After returning home from my time in the Army, I found little support and had a lot of trouble re-integrating into society. I found friends and family that I thought I could lean on, would rather leave me alone because they didn’t know how to deal with me or my issues. I was so angry that I nearly joined the army again, with the hopes of being sent to a war zone and being killed. I never wanted to take my own life, but wanted to die as some of my brothers had, with honor. It was becoming clear to me that there was no place in normal society for me and everyone that I thought had cared about me, had moved on. It was about this time that I met my future wife, Lindsey. Things began to change for the better.

After I graduated from college with a law enforcement degree, Lindsey and I were married. We moved to Hastings and we had our first child, Jackson. It was at this time that I worked for the Dakota County Sheriffs Department. My time as a deputy sheriff was a very difficult part of my life, and still hard to talk about. I found that I couldn’t handle pressure and stress like I used to be able to do with no problem. I was having panic attacks so severe that I was sent to the hospital with a possible heart attack. I started hating being a cop because of what I felt like, and felt like a failure to my family. I ended up resigning my position and left the sheriffs department. It was another low for me. I felt like I failed my family and I did not know what would happen to our home. All of the stress took a toll on me and my family.

I currently work for the Union Pacific railroad as a bridge tender. I have been doing this job for about seven years now. It is usually a very low stress job, so that is a big plus for me. I do still struggle a lot with my PTSD. I get irritated very easily, and I struggle with nightmares and flashbacks. I still hate crowds and I tend to shut down around people I am not comfortable with. I am hoping that Breezer will help make these problems less of an issue, and in the long run make me a better person, father and husband.

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Briana and K-9 Berrett

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I’m Bre. I grew up in CoonRapids/Anoka area. In high school I knew I wanted to help people and started working towards a career in Ems. I became a medic working for a company in rural Minnesota. I did this for 6 years until unfortunate circumstances left me looking for a new career. It was during this time, as a medic, I met My husband, a police officer in the area and we continue to reside in the northern suburbs with our 3 children.

From here, i went back to school, with two young children at home, and became a RN. I continue to work as a nurse today, with children, in the cities. The kids I work with are amazing!