Twelve Dogs Ready to Make a Difference

Twelve Dogs Ready to Make a Difference

Hope Hull, AL - Service Dogs Alabama (SDA) held its 2019 graduation ceremony on August 4, at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. The ceremony marked the transfer of service dogs to their recipients. 

12 participants were honored and recognized Sunday afternoon. After a fun, but intense 4 days of protocol, tips, and task training, all 12 dogs and their “handlers” passed their public access evaluation. Among the graduates were Facility Intervention Dogs, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Assistance Dogs, Mobility Assistance Dogs, Seizure Alert dogs, and an Autism Intervention Dog.


It was a momentous occasion for the recipients, their families, and those who have supported SDA’s mission to ensure they are able to ‘train dogs who save lives’. One of the highlights from Sunday’s program was when past graduate, Veteran, US Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class Blake Scott and his service dog, Brodie, stood up to address the crowd. He said, “I would not be standing here today, if it weren’t for my dog. He saved my life.” Officer Scott’s dog is multi-faceted and is trained to assist him with mobility, as well as managing his diabetes and symptoms of PTSD.  

Mike Lenio and his dog Brandi also shared their story with the event’s attendees. “Brandi is my diabetic alert dog. She has changed everything for me. Diabetes no longer feels like a disability because it does not stop me from doing anything I want,” said Lenio. “I have also been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety disorders. I live with high levels of stress which causes hypervigilance, social anxiety, distrust, and isolation. This is even more challenging than my diabetes. I had lost hope of having friends, being accepted and belonging somewhere, or having a normal happy life,” said Lenio. As a military family, we were moving from place to place, and I struggled to make friends. I never felt comfortable or confident in school or around people. But when I got Brandi to help manage my diabetes, my anxiety got better.” Lenio concluded his first ever speech by saying, “Service Dogs Alabama have enabled me to live my best life… even beyond what I ever thought it could be.”

Service Dogs Alabama provides service dogs to children with disabilities, military veterans, and schools in Alabama free of charge to the recipient. To do this, it takes generous support from our donors and benefactors. As the oldest and largest non-profit organization in Alabama serving both veterans and children with disabilities, Service Dogs Alabama is dedicated to providing medical and psychological assistance dogs to children, adults, and veterans with disabilities, as well as Facility Intervention Dogs, like those placed in schools, youth facilities, and first responder departments. Service Dogs Alabama was founded in 2011 as K-9s 4 Kids. Over 70 dogs have been placed with qualified individuals/facilities since inception. 

For more information, visit or contact 334-676-3733.