Ryan, Army

July 2013 Class

Age: 33                            Years in Service: 5 Years           Rank: E4

Served in: Iraq

Warrior's Story:

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio as part of a big family that included my parents, along with four brothers and a sister.  We did have pets when I was growing up, but it was sporadic and typically we had cats so dogs were never really a part of my life.

I began my military service in 1999.  I joined the Army as a Specialist and held several positions throughout my career.  I worked as a Combat Engineer and was involved with many missions.  Raids, searches, IED sweeps, rocket and ammunition disposal, prisoner detainment, security checkpoints, riverboat reconnaissance on the Tigris River (The Ice Mission), escorting new currency into Baghdad and much more.  From 2000-2001, I served in Operation Desert Spring.  In 2002, I attended Sapper School at Ft. Leonardwood, MO and went on to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003-2004.

While serving in Iraq in 2003, I began to develop several health issues and starting to notice the physical symptoms.  As a result of an IED explosion, my right shoulder rotator cuff was injured, along with my left knee.  In the same year, I was diagnosed with an internal bleeding issue that continued to get worse.  I had one minor surgery and two post-op surgeries to correct the issue, although it is still not 100%.

About PTSD:

PTSD and TBI are simply not easy to live with, for me or my family.  There are so many symptoms, too many to list them all.  Just to name a few that I have suffered from: anxiety, nightmares, light sensitivity, hot flashes, angry outbursts, mood changes, blurred vision, loss of coordination, increased agitation and hyper vigilance.  In the future, I would like to get more involved with my community and help provide awareness in order to help others who are dealing with PTSD and TBIs.

Looking forward to:

I have recently finished school to become an automotive technician and hope to pursue a career one day.  I am currently a stay at home dad while my wife Stephanie works part time.  She has been my primary care taker in my journey and I am grateful for her support.  I am hopeful that my new service dog will give me the confidence to get out more and help me get my life back.

About Moe:

Moe is a 2 1/2 year old male chocolate lab.  Moe came from Florida Lab Rescue.  He was surrendered by his owner because he had too much energy for them.  He came to training and slowly but surely learned to calm down and do his work.  Moe is a fun, happy go lucky dog that's always up for a new challenge.  He is a great match for his warrior and loves not being left behind.  


Team Updates

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Ryan reflects on his experiences while completing the program with Moe. He tells some of his plans he hopes to get to when he returns home and his family is very excited to add a new member!Read More >>
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Ryan was not sure what to expect upon arrival. He shares what it is about Moe that he loves the most. Just having Moe there by his side comforts Ryan and lets him know everything will be ok.Read More >>
Embedded thumbnail for Moe Vistis St Augustine with Dad
Moe and Ryan visit some of the most historical spots in St Augustine including the Castillo De San Marcos Fort and what is now the Flagler College. With every fun day out exploring, they must always make time to work with their dogs. Moe focuses on the commands down stay and come.Read More >>
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Moe works on the cover command and is tested to see how he reacts to tight spaces. Moe is a wiggle worm so every position his dad puts him he hops into. Moe wants nothing more than to please his dad and get love in return.Read More >>
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Ryan and Moe visit the St Johns Town Center where Moe learns the command down stay. Ryan left Moe in a down stay and walked a comfortable distance from him to see if Moe would break his down. Moe did great and Ryan was one proud dad.Read More >>
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Ryan and Moe take a trip to the sports store where Moe was put the hardest test; leaving the ball alone while they bounce it in front of him in an attempt to get him to go after the ball. Moe did awesome! He really wanted that ball but never left his spot next to his dad.Read More >>