Healing Paws for Warriors lead service dog retires, 15 other service dogs to graduate

Posted on October 12, 2020 by Staff reports

Lead service dog, “Orion” is recognized as he retires after 10 years of service along with graduating teams. 

The Florida Panhandle’s nonprofit group Healing Paws for Warriors (HP4Ws) graduates fifteen (x15) more veteran / service dog teams after three months of intensive training: 


(Retired – Army) Matt Rumple (and service dog Hope)

(Retired – Navy) Cole Barnes (and service dog Lilly)

(Retired – Marine) Caleb Bailey (and service dog Belle)

(Retired – Air Force) Bill Kelch (and service dog Boomer)

(Retired – Army) Joshua Davis (and service dog Charlie)

(Retired – Army) Joshua Meeks (and service dog Faith)

(Retired – Army) Sean Stretch (and service dog Max)

(Retired – Air Force) Michell Henderson (and service dog Legend)

(Retired – Army) Tyler Cloyd (and service dog Major)

(Retired – Air Force) Jennifer Johnson (and service dog Chopper)

(Retired – Navy) Mandy Lassiter (and service dog Ike)

(Retired – Army) Darrell Bost (and service dog Owen)

(Retired – Air Force) John Howell (and service dog Camo)

(Retired – Army) Josh Hamilton (and service dog Eva)

(Retired – Air Force) Mike Arena (and service dog Ava)


The teams will be recognized in a HP4Ws ceremony with one of the nonprofits community partners– Northwest Florida State College – Niceville on Friday, November 6, 2020 at 2:00pm, Building 400, First Floor.

Individually, each team either suffered from a physical injury or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and or Military Sexual Trauma (MST) during deployments while serving our country. 

While the physical injuries were diagnosed and treated by medical teams, the psychological trauma takes more time.  Trained service dogs like the ones trained by Healing Paws for Warriors have shown to be effective in aiding in medical crises and alleviating the physical and emotional symptoms our veterans continue struggling with long after returning from the battlefield.

The veterans were matched with their K9 partners after being rescued from local shelters.