Retired and living in Westport, MA, and Sarasota, FL, Tom and Kate Howd feel strongly that giving back to our communities and our country is a duty and an honor. Tom, born and raised in Orono, ME, is the son of a Navy veteran. Kate, born and raised in Fall River, MA, is the daughter of an Army veteran, as well as a niece of Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and former Commissioner for the Massachusetts Veterans' Services. Tom and Kate, as well as their 3 sons - Tom, Mike and Steve - are grateful for the service of our military veterans and active duty military personnel and feel that we as a country can do more to help returning veterans who suffer from the invisible scars of combat.
Combining a desire to help our military veterans and a love for dogs, the Howd family decided that helping veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) by providing them with trained service dogs is a rewarding way to give back.
We are a non-profit, public charity organization with a 501(c)(3) status serving military veterans in the Northeast. We are run by a group of volunteers who are passionate about our mission. We have no paid employees and our Board Members are not compensated in any way. Our direct program costs consist of professional dog trainer fees, veterinary expenses, dog food and supplies.
Behind the Name...
Toka is the personal pet of our primary professional dog trainer, Mike Howd. Toka also stands for Toka's Friends founders Tom and Kate, who consider all of the veterans we serve to be their friends. Additionally, Toka is a great role model for our service dogs in training, teaching them how to live in a house with people and other animals. So, we decided that since the Howd family becomes friends with the veterans and Toka becomes friends with all of the dogs that go through the program, it would be appropriate to name our organization Toka's Friends.