Our Veteran/Dog Teams
Joe and Leigh Ann
Joe, a veteran of the Marine Corp, was matched with Leigh Ann during the first quarter of 2023. After several months of team training, Joe and Leigh Ann passed all the AKC and service dog certification tests in early July, 2023. Congrats to Joe and Leigh Ann for achieving this major milestone.
Tom and Shaye
Tom is a highly decorated Navy veteran with more than 10 years of active service. Shaye was introduced to Tom during the summer of 2022 and the two of them have progressed nicely with their team training. Congrats to Tom and Shaye for completing their final certification tests.
Manny and Knox
We are proud to announce that Knox has begun his mission! In December of 2021, Knox was introduced to Manny, a 17 year Navy Seal Veteran who was stationed out of Coronado, CA. Manny served in two Gulf wars and in Somalia and was honored with several medals and ribbons (32) for his service. In March of 2022, Knox and Manny successfully completed all of their service dog certification testing and Knox joined Manny and his family in their Brockton, MA home. Congratulations to Manny and Knox!
"Knox gives me purpose, a reason to get out of bed. I have spent several years trying to numb my pain and ignored my PTSD. After doing the work and focusing on bettering myself and utilizing available resources, I realized I couldn't numb and ignore anymore. I've spent several years isolating and neglecting my own family and kids because of PTSD and depression, as well as sabotaging relationships or goals. Knox just makes me happy and helps me want to be a better person and live to be happy not just live to survive. Knox is a perfect fit for me and my family! Knox has been a true blessing! Mike is absolutely amazing. His dedication and willingness to always be available is incredible! He is truly genuine and loves what he does. Toka’s Friends is now a part of our family." - Manny
Vincent and Gus
We are delighted to announce that service dog Gus has been matched with Vincent, a veteran of the Army. Gus was initially introduced to Vincent in late November, 2021, and in early 2022 the team training was completed. Vincent successfully led Gus through all his service dog certification testing in the first quarter of 2022. Congratulations to Vincent and Gus on their accomplishments and new life together.
Jay and Meah
Jay served 39 years of active duty in the United States Navy, 11 years as an enlisted sailor (10 of which was as a Corpsman) and 28 years as a Medical Service Corps Officer. He served as Commanding Officer for 3 different commands and retired June 1st, 2021 from Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Bethesda, where he served as Commanding Officer for over 2300 sailors from Walter Reed National Military medical Center and Ft Belvoir Hospital. Jay served operationally with the United States Marine Corps in both Iraq, 2006 and Afghanistan, 2010 in the role Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of Fleet Forward Surgical and Shock Trauma respectively. Jay was introduced to Meah in October, 2020 and successfully guided her through service dog certification on September 27th, 2021.
"I spent many years denying the pain and suffering that PTSD had on me. Distracted by leadership and family responsibilities, I failed to identify the many signs of PTSD and the negative results of such a diagnosis. In 2018 I realized that I needed help and sought counseling. Throughout counseling, it was apparent and advised that a service dog would benefit me. I was unable to travel, hike or flyfish in new areas. I was unable to sleep with any windows or doors unlocked. Meah has improved my ability to do all of these. She is a blessing from God and if not for Toka's Friends, I'm not sure how well I would be doing today. PTSD is a real "thing" and service dogs help veterans everyday. I'm truly grateful for Meah in my life, and so thankful for Toka's Friends and Meah's personal service dog trainer, Mike. He is a consummate professional and pours his heart and soul into training his dogs to serve our veterans. If I could, I would give him a medal." - Jay
Ryan and Bree
A native of Southeastern Massachusetts, Ryan served 8 years in the army as a member of the Military Police, serving one tour of duty overseas. One of his most crucial assignments was providing personal security for a 3 star general in charge of a US embassy. Ryan was introduced to Bree in January of 2021, and by March had successfully guided Bree through all of her service dog certifications. Congratulations Ryan and Bree!
"Bree has help me more than I can ever say. Before being paired with Bree I was in a very dark place in my life. She is the ray of sun light that saved me. I honestly can't imagine how I have gotten along before her. I can't thank Mike enough for what he does with the dogs and for veterans."
Ian and Lou
A 27 year veteran of the Army National Guard, Ian served both Active Duty Army and Army Reserves as an Air Traffic Control Equipment Repairer, finishing his career with a 3 year deployment to Iraq. Ian was introduced to Lou in January of 2020 and a bond was quickly formed. Lou achieved all of his service dog certifications in March of 2021.
"Upon his return from Iraq, Ian’s life changed drastically. He could not hold a job and suffered from Depression, Anxiety and PTSD. After many years of suffering we connected with Toka’s Friends and Clear Path for Veterans of New England. Being teamed with Lou was the start to an amazing transformation for Ian. With Lou by his side Ian has become a different man. Lou is highly trained to pick up on and alleviate Ian’s anxiety resulting in a significant improvement in his depression and anxiety. As Ian’s wife and caregiver, my worries and concerns about Ian’s safety and well-being are basically gone. Lou has had a major impact on Ian, myself and our entire family."
-Trish, (Ian's wife)
Wayne and Dixie
A decorated Marine Corps veteran, Wayne served for over 3 years, primarily in the Middle East. Currently, Wayne and his fiancé are working as cross country truck drivers with Dixie riding shotgun. Dixie has earned all of her service dog certifications and is enjoying her mission with Wayne.
"Dixie has been an amazing addition to the family. She gives me a positive outlook on the world. When I am stressed or having a bad day she brings a smile to my face and turns a bad day into a good day. Dixie helps me navigate large crowds better. Honestly, words don't do justice for what Dixie does for me. She truly is a blessing for me and I am thankful to have her in my life." - Wayne