TestimonialsKind words from program veterans and friends
I just wanted to let you know we are all moved in and I am a thankful veteran. I cannot thank you and your staff enough on your heartfelt gesture by far the nicest thing ever done for me.
I wanted to thank you Mary and the staff for the care and welcoming warm environment at K9 P4P. The program has helped me and my Sunny and for that I am forever grateful . I wanted to thank you for every veteran out there because this program actually helps. I want to be able to go out more with sunny and I can. Also, the fact that the size of the dog means nothing. Size means nothing and it’s amazing what an animal can pick up on but of course it’s because they speak with body language. They have already seen if you’re in pain or need help if your going to have seizures or if you’re having nightmares or intrusive thoughts, your buddy knows. He always has your six. Through thick and thin worse or for wear, the things taught in the program apply to daily life and as it happens .
You encourage the veterans to speak their minds. Also, other professionals such as Denny and the Vet Center. All the veterans services your program takes care of the veteran at every turn. God bless you and your staff and your program. I tell everyone about your program because to me 22 is too many. As a veteran who suffers from ptsd depression, back problems, knee, ankle, liver, kidney problems, seizures, migraines, and stomach issues I can imagine a bad day maybe one too many when you don’t feel good. 22 is too many and every life is precious.
I thank you and your staff. Literally you have been saving lives and making the quality of life for the veteran better. By understanding, and teaching. Thank you so much.
Adrian G. US ArmyAdrian G.
Can’t say enough for K9P4P. Amazing me each and every trip there. What a special staff. Everyone dedicated to Vets and our Furry Families. My kids are already Jealous of Rosie Lol Just wait till we tell them we have adopted a whole new family.
I knew the first time I walked through the door . I had stepped over a threshold like nowhere I have ever been. Everyone seems to have their own expertise and no need or help sneaks through a crack. Someone is on top of everything we need. Without mentioning anything, they have enough knowledge to catch on. I feel so privileged just to know this group. I was in dire need of help. In my wildest dreams never did I believe I could be this lucky. . Maybe Rosie’s luck is better than mine. We are both benefiting either way. I’m so proud to be here. I want to be available for anyone and everyone here. I only see out of one eye, but one I’m seeing through tears of joy with REAL friendship and family . My whole world seems to be brightening up already . I wish all Veterans had this same chance. Thanks to every one of You.Roger W.
I haven’t checked in for a while sorry its been busy. I just wanted to let you know Chuck and I are doing well. My wife has been gone doing army training for a month. After she left Chuck went into super service mode. He is completely attached to me every where I go. In the house he follows me every where, even waits outside the shower for me. Out in public he goes right from my side to front if I’m approached and posts automatically any time we get in line. With out him I wouldn’t really go any where out of my 2 mile radius.
Thank y’all again for such an awesome gift. I think about every one often. Now that school has started I’ll try to make it out more often and help out.
Take care,Patrick and Chuck Norris
To whom it may concern,
I am a 20+ year Navy retiree. While serving on active duty I was diagnosed with PTSD, when I retired I was on at least 8, yes 8 mental health medications. When I went the VA to continue my care I thought they would have more intervention programs for veterans but I was in for a rude awakening they actually added more diagnosis as well as more medications.
I have 20 years of wartime service so upon retirement I vowed to continue helping fellow veterans, this was a huge feat and little did I know or even realize it made all of the conditions worse ( I didn’t even think it was possible, I thought that I was as bad as it gets). So little by little, civilian life was knocking me down until I had lost so much weight, wasn’t eating, and sleeping was either too much or too little. Slowly I declined any invitations anywhere and only shopped online or at grocery/any store that stayed open all night so I could shop when very few others would be there. I eventually became completely home bound not leaving my home for even my sick mother or my son’s school functions. I spent the better half of 6 months not leaving for anything. I even stopped going to appointments and my VA psychiatrist would talk to me over the phone for our appointments.
One day I found myself on my bedroom floor in a crying heap and called my VA psychiatrist who was out that day so I got another doctor who reviewed my records and imagine my surprise when instead of throwing another drug at me he referred me to Mary and K9 Partners For Patriots and wrote my referral letter that day. Needless to say, I showed up after an hour and half drive so frazzled from incorrect GPS directions I was so anxious I was in tears. In fact my first four visits I showed up in tears because my memory just could not remember one turn and I consistently was late cause of taking the wrong turn.
One day I get a little dog put on my lap, she was a rescue dog and had just had a litter of puppies and was at a dog shelter. I was apprehensive at first due to not knowing much about her breed so after doing some searching i decided she was the dog for me. My dapple Dachshund and I went home and i have to admit we still had a little ways to go learning each other and actually me learning how to train her in the manner her breed needs but I am happy to report that I have made it to all my classes and Daphne and I have been told we made a complete turnaround and they actually see me smile and are so impressed with Daphne’s achievements. I actually am now at a loss for words. All I can say is that I have gone to restaurants and stores and even family members’ houses. The biggest change has been that she makes me get out of my dark dungeon of a room to walk her outside. I truly feel if not for Mary and everyone at K9 Partners for Patriots I don’t think I would have made it another 6 months. This organization has saved my life and by doing that they have saved my families sanity.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my testimony.Angelique H.
This past winter my husband, a Marine Vietnam veteran, participated in the K9 Partners for Patriots program in Brooksville, Florida. We had already purchased a dog and my husband had a great desire to have this dog trained to be of service to him and also be of help to others. We were a bit concerned because he had started with a trainer up here in Cleveland but we had to go to Florida to spend the winter with his 91 year old mother and he wanted to continue to train our dog. Mary Peter’s group was recommended to us by a woman who had her dog trained by Mary in the past and told us she was now working with veterans.
We had no idea what we were in for! From the minute we showed up we were treated with dignity and respect. We could tell right away that this organization was stop notch by the facility and the staff there and the degree to which the dogs we witnessed were behaving!
My husband has PTSD and has struggled for many years. He suffers from panic attacks and has nightmares. He has difficulty in social situations of any type. He shies away from groups. Right after the first class with our dog he wanted to stay and chat with the other veterans. It was clear to us that this was a safe place where he felt right at home, even though it was in a group.
Mary’s first 7 weeks of basic obedience training had our dog heeling, sitting and staying on command. And all with just positive behavior reinforcement, not treat training. She talks to the guys on their level and is lovingly tough on the veterans and on their dogs, expecting the best from both. I could see my husband becoming more relaxed and more willing to take part in other social events beyond the class.
The second 7 weeks of continued training had our 10 month old Goldendoodle much more relaxed, able to sit and stay for longer periods and much more bonded with my husband. We got to know more of the staff and always felt welcome and appreciated. I went to all but two of the training sessions and saw all of the veterans become more talkative and trusting. Mary worked with them on how to act in public with their service dogs, how to answer questions from the public and how to compose themselves in stressful situations. She reminded them that if they are feeling stressed out, their dogs will feel stressed out, thereby encouraging the veterans to relax.
All of the trainers, staff and volunteers at K9P4P were very concerned, competent and caring people. I just can’t say enough good things about this organization. We had to come back to Ohio but we can’t wait to go back and visit Mary and the staff next winter.Barbara F.
I am a medically retired Army veteran and I wanted to take some time to explain what my life was like before I joined the program and how it is today.
When I was retired in June 2012, I was in the worst shape of my life. I was unable to go anywhere on my own because I would have panic attacks or outbursts of rage. I turned to self-medicating myself by the use of drugs and alcohol. This was to help me forget about what I had seen during my time in Iraq. I tried many different forms of treatment to help with my PTSD and flashbacks, but nothing helped. My wife and I started to look into other methods that might help with my PTSD.
In the summer of 2013, my family and I moved to Florida. One day I was at the VA and noticed that some Veterans had service dogs. After asking them questions and hearing their testimonies, I thought that this might be the right path for me. I started to research anyone and everyone who trained service dogs. What I came to find out was that everyone wanted a lot of money or had a two year or more wait. Then the miracle happened. My wife was looking around and somehow came across K9 Partners for Patriots.
In January 2015 I went to the building and filled out the paperwork and within 2 weeks I was paired up with Max, a yellow lab mix. Since having Max, I have been able to manage my life with minimal medications. I’m also able to go out on my own without my wife having to worry about what I am doing without her. With Max’s help, I’m able to spend time with my family at places that wouldn’t have been possible before Max. This past April, I was able to go with my family to Universal Studios here in Florida. Max has changed my life in many ways. I am a little over two years clean and sober and none of this would have been possible without Mary Peter and the K9 Partners for Patriots program.
K9 Partners for Patriots has helped veterans like myself learn to live again. I have to say that it is so much more than a program for me. It is family. I love everyone who works there and this will never change.Shawn C.
I am a Vietnam Marine Combat veteran. I have been treated for PTSD by the VA and have a service connected disability. I live in Ohio and was told about K9 Partners for Patriots by a woman that I met by chance at a local dog park in Ohio. Returning home, I looked them up on line and filled out a simple form. I was contacted within days by Ron Flaville and we set up an interview and evaluation for my 8 month old puppy named Dudley. My wife and I winter in St. Pete, Florida. The first week in Florida we went to K9 Partners for Patriots in Brooksville for our appointment. Dudley and I were accepted into their program and went weekly for our trainings. It was truly a wonderful experience.
Trainers and volunteers were dedicated and very supportive. I felt much camaraderie with the other veterans. I was challenged, engaged and felt that I was part of their caring community. This became the highlight of my week, participating in training. I strongly feel that it has helped me feel more safe and secure. My anxiety has lessened and my sleep has improved. I have had pet dogs in the past, but having a trained dog has helped me to feel more a part of life. I feel safe with my dog, Dudley, when in public and that has not always been the case. I am pleased to send this show of support to this wonderful organization. The help that I received has greatly improved my quality of life. K9 Partners for Patriots is truly helping Veterans in a cost effective program that provides me and others true aid and support.
I can’t thank Mary Peter enough for her dedication and vision for her program. Great Staff, Great Volunteers, Great outcomes.Charles F.
As you know, I’m not a man of many words and I have to admit that I was not sure if a service dog would work for me. Boy was I so wrong…..
It was so truly hard for me to come in that first time for the interview, but so glad I did after seeing how your service dogs reacted to my anxiety during the interview, seeing the size of classes being small, how the classes are conducted and having created an environment where I felt safe with seeing the truly caring interactions of veterans by you, your volunteers and staff of K9 Partners for Patriots.
I pretty much was thinking this is as good as my life gets for now. Living with PTSD with how it affects me with being always on edge, being detached from others, always having risk assessment running through my mind and when/will it happen again to the point that I would basically shut down and stay where I knew I was safe. After being partnered with Chewy, I can truly say my life has changed so much for the better to where I almost feel normal again, just to be able to function in day-to-day activities as mundane as just wanting to leave my house, going to the park, even do a little shopping at local stores and interacting with other people without having to worry about anxiety attacks. Thanks to you and Chewy’s help, I’m able to do the simple things in life again without freaking out.
So Chewy and I want to truly thank you Mary, all the staff/volunteers at K9 Partners for Patriots and Dr. Rosemarie Frenzel from the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, New Port Richey OPC for giving me that push and telling me about your program at K9 Partners for Patriots.Thomas M.
Thank you, and of course, ALL others … AKA: Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Mary Peter, and the four legged “troops (the paw from the shepherd made me at ease!),” for today’s interview and opportunity you have provided me.
It’s been a Very Long time since various statements came out of my mouth like they did today…. trying to reveal some of my past and my hopes/dreams of the future. When I got into my truck to leave your office area today it took me several minutes to compose myself. In blunt terms, after hitting so many dead end streets, I did not know people actually care… I thought this is how it’s going to be until the end. I know people care but to go as far as this organization has for people such as I, to stand up and say look… “We are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore” allows the common people, such as I, to find some relief, a cause to carry on.
Today I felt others can actually can relate, care for others, there is a refuge… and to know I am not the only one out here. I know, without a doubt, I am not “alone” but it’s difficult to put into words. PTSD is like a hidden disorder that effects thousands upon thousands… not solely military related.
You have my word I will do my best, to assist to build up this organization and to inform others help is out there!
I just wished to say “THANK YOU” for being there… especially today (today was not one of my better days)!
Looking forward to serving with you in the future!Paul
I am a female 20 year Army Veteran who is a 100% Service Connected Disabled. I have been in numerous VA programs to help me with my PSTD and physical disabilities. I started treatment in 2001 and am still seen on a regular basis.
From the intake of myself and my K9 dog (Pearl). I was introduced to a total support system. One that I have not experienced in my 14 years of treatment both through the public, military and VA arenas.
K9 Partners for Patriots maintains a safe, nonjudgmental, non-intrusive environment while treating each and every veteran with respect. It is a totally free program for all veterans and their K9 dogs. If a veteran is in need of a K9 they help them get one.
A staff of all volunteers trained and directed by Certified Master Dog Trainer (CMDT) Mary Peter ensures one on one attention needed by each veteran and their K9. Mary is assisted by Veteran Liaison Ron Flaville, who is also a veteran who has been through the program.
The reason for my testimonial and endorsement is the enormous undeniable change this program has made in my personal story. Both me and my K9 grew more confident and empowered as we went through the program. I have a new sense of freedom which has allowed me to cut back on medications and to complete daily activities that I hadn’t done in years.
This program would enhance any veterans independence, which is what every soldier fights for Freedom.
Grateful Veteran and K9Brenda W.
I highly recommend K9 Partners for Patriots. They are a training facility for Veterans who need Service Dogs. The service is completely free to all veterans. They will train a dog that the veteran has that meets qualifications, or assist the veteran in obtaining a dog.
The facility is clean, with an accepting and welcoming environment to all veterans with disabilities. They welcome and give veterans a safe place to train while also offering activities that the veterans can participate in.
The Certified Master Dog Trainer (CMDT) Mary Peter, the Veteran Liaison Ron Flaville work with a staff of all volunteers, to ensure every veteran get the one on one attention they need.
The main reason for my testimonial is that I personally had a veteran who was a family member go through the K9 Service Dog Training. My family member is 100% Service Connected Disabled. She was unable to go to the training without my assistance. Although the ride was 1 hours from her residence after her intake she committed to the course.
The difference in her confidence and ability to function in everyday activities is undeniable. She now drives herself to class and performs several everyday task. I have observed the change in her independence as well as others who know her.
I am a retired Army CSM with over 41 years of service, 1969-2011. I have been in several programs that assist veterans with their issues. I highly recommend K9 Partners for Patriots as a program that would be very beneficial to any veteran requiring a service dog.
I am a Man of few words and do not like to speak on many topics. Topics on which I hold dear to my heart are, God, My Country, My Family, and my new found family with K9PartnersForPatriots. I am proud and honored to be a part of K9PartnersForPatriots!
Before I became a part of the family (K9PartnersForPatriots) I did not like leaving the secure environment of my Home. If I did have to leave my home I avoided any direct conversationtion or contact with strangers. Always on the defense, always searching for an avenue of escape. Very antisocial. Ever since leaving the U.S. Army I have never truly found that comaraderie or feel of being part of a family, and that sense of pride of being a part of something that matters.
I truly feel Blessed and Honored to be a member of the family (K9PartnersForPatriots). I have regained that comaraderie and that sense of pride ever since becoming a member of the family (K9PartnersForPatriots). I wear K9PartnersForPatriots Tee shirts with honor, I voluntarily speak with people about the program.
Has being a member of the family (K9PartnesForPatriots) resovled all my Combat related issues? No. Before there was no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel. K9PartnersForPatriots has given me that back. God Bless All The Members of The Family (K9PartnersForPatriots) and founder of the family, Mary Peter.
Thank You.Francisco F.
My name is Greg , I am a U.S. Army Veteran who has PTSD, Panic disorder, and Agoraphobia. I started training my dog Gracie 18 months ago. When I first started going to K-9 Partners for Patriots, I was barely able to go to class, but Mary made a commitment to me so I made a commitment to the program. My life before getting involved with K-9 Partners for Patriots consisted of staying at home in a constant state of alert, having panic attacks several times a day. I had a safe person who I did everything with. I couldn’t go to the Doctor without her. I was emotionally paralyzed. I was doing the best I could to just take a breath.
I have come a long way in 18 months, but I still fight my demons. Just three months ago in December I tried to commit suicide. I will battle with this for the rest of my life. There is no cure for PTSD. I have a wonderful dog named Gracie that takes care of me. She knows when things get too much or when a panic attack is about to happen. She then does her job and brings me back to the moment. I am able to go to the grocery store now. I don’t think twice about going to the dog class. I can do things now that most people take for granted such as sit in my living room with my back to the door or watch the news. When I am at K-9 Partners for Patriots I am with other soldiers that have had similar experiences. I am not judged. I am working on trying to be more social, because when you haven’t been for so long, you tend to forget how. I interact with other veterans, and helping Mary get the building ready. I have accomplished things I never would have thought possible. I was able to go to the building by myself to help them work, with Gracie.
I served one tour in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. I suffer from PTSD, flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and chronic pain. Before joining K9 Partners for Patriots I locked myself in my room for two years after leaving the army. I could not drive or go into public stores. I found myself not being very social with family or friends so I decided to find help.
I went on a search engine one day in hope to find answers I typed in service dogs in Florida. After calling several different places that wanted to charge me up to $40,000 for a dog I finally found my saving grace… K9 Partners for Patriots.
Miss Mary was a very kind gentle soul. I was very anxious when I first showed up but found comfort in talking with her about how K9 Partners for Patriots worked.
I began coming out for basic obedience class with my dog Sadie. We passed basic class and moved on to intermediate, it was then that my medications were switched around and I relapsed backed into a depression for about six months and had to drop out. After fixing my medications I came back to the program and finished intermediate and advanced classes with my dog Sadie.
I now enjoy going to training even though my dog is now trained. K9 Partners for Patriots is like my second family, I love going to talk with the other veterans and staff. I can now go into stores, drive my car and live my life with my new second chance.
Mary Peter and Ron Flaville from the very beginning made my wife and I feel right at home and comfortable with their program. They let us know up front what we could expect from them and what they expected from us and our K9 partner, ” Truffles” who was-the star of the program.
The time spent in the program has been worthwhile my time and travel. I’ve traveled from Ocala to Brooksville for the first two sessions and I’m planning on taking the third session. I wish that Ocala had a program like the one Mary and Ron and all their volunteers have. They all together put on a A+ program for Veterans in the training and our canine friends.
I have enjoyed the time together with other veterans and their canine partners and look forward to the next class. Hopefully in the future the Veterans Administration can see how the program helps us veterans and they can be of some assistance in some way. The VA talks but the K9 Partners for Patriots (Talk and walk the walk). We Veterans appreciate all that your program does for us and our K9 friends.
Keep it going.
Larry Burnette and “Truffles”Larry B.
I made a donation after speaking to my friend Patrick. He stated he felt your organization changed his life. I can not thank you enough for what you have done. He is an amazing man that I love and respect. Thank you for what you do this is my beginning donation I promise I will donate more. God Bless you for your work. I deeply appreciate it.
I was referred to Mary Peter because I was suffering from PTSD and balance issues and needed a service dog. I had a dog of my own that I wanted to have trained. When I contacted Ms. Peter she said she would have to evaluate my dog’s temperament to see if it would qualify for a service dog and if so, she would be happy to help me with his training. I also had to meet the program criteria.
My dog, Ghost, and I both passed the criteria for this program and we began our training on April 29, 2014. My greatest difficulty was balance and falling down. Ghost and I were taught how to work together in obedience as well as him helping me with my balance. He learned to come in front of me and stop me when I was beginning to lose my balance. This program also helped me with my PTSD by incorporating my training into small groups and helping me recognize my dog’s cues to my anxieties and redirecting my focus on him instead of myself.
K9 Partners for Patriots has helped change my life. I am doing much better now in all areas and Ghost is a very well trained and loved part of our family and home. He goes with me wherever I go.Rich G.
Living with PTSD is a constant battle. Being always on edge, the overwhelming anxiety around people, outbursts of anger, nightmares and being hyper-vigilant are just a few of the symptoms that I suffer from due to PTSD. My wife was actually the one to find out about the program and I was reluctant about coming. When my wife and I first came out to meet with Mary, I couldn’t get out of the van. There were more people there than I had been around in over a year, and the anxiety started to get to me. My wife had to convince me to get out of the van.
We were told about the program and the small group sessions, with veteran’s (people who would know what I was going through) and their dog(s). It put my mind a little more at ease, knowing that I’d be around other people going through the same things that I was. My condition when I first came to this program wasn’t the greatest. I hadn’t really left my house in almost a year, and when I did my anxiety attacks got to the point of me passing out in stores if I couldn’t leave in time.
Starting the training with small group sessions, allowed me to handle my anxiety issues a little better than normal and it has allowed me to focus more on the dog (strengthening our bond), rather than things around me that would make my anxiety level rise. It’s allowed me (over the course of training) to realize that there is a safe place that I can relax a little bit and not constantly be on guard or anxious. The small group sessions with other veteran’s has taught me, not only how to train my dog (hand signals, off leash, and tasks to help with my PTSD issues), but has also taught me how Sophia actually responds to my issues, be it anxiety, anger, nightmares, etc.
This program has allowed me to realize that the world isn’t always a dangerous place. Due to this program, I am now able to go stores and not have to worry about the anxiety attacks that I used to suffer from. They still come, but because of the training Sophia is able to calm me down enough that I can still function. Sophia has been a wonderful addition to our family, she’s a great family dog that will play with everyone in my family (even the cat), but will stop when she senses that I’m having issues. Because of this program, I am able to function in society more than ever before. It’s been a while since I first came into this program and decided to stay. Now I am on the program staff as a veteran’s liaison, trying to help other veteran’s get through the same issues that I had.Ron
When I first heard about this program, I was very skeptical. I didn’t think it would work. I was emotionally numb and detached and was not able to have loving feelings for anyone or anything. It, to me, was a long shot. The first few weeks I spent sitting in the training area. Just watching the class. Finally I mustered up the courage to get started with the training. Still skeptical, I worked with the dog, Murdock. He didn’t fit in well with our family and he was returned to the program.
I asked Ron and Mary to re test my dog Loki. They agreed, with no promises. I continued to work with Loki almost every day. Simple commands. He was more scared of little things, but was getting better. I started training Loki with the intermediate class, skipping beginner class, due to no beginners being enrolled. Loki caught up with the class, in no time and was surpassing some of the others. He graduated with the intermediate class and is my service dog.
Training taught me that by working, just with training, my anger has been reduced a lot. Now I am having more compassion and loving feelings, and am able to go through stores without worrying if my life is in danger. Loki is my battle buddy, I take care of him, and he takes care of me. I am continuing training into advanced training, and I will be volunteering for events to promote the program. It works!
I have told my psychiatrist that the program is fantastic and really works. She is recommending that others try it. I will forever be in debt to Ron and Mary and K9 Partners for Patriots for giving me my life back.
Forever grateful,Sgt. Shawn