Sign In

Police Gets Service Dog

December 11, 2020

More than 10 years after losing his leg in the line of duty, police dispatcher Don Schultz is getting the service dog he needs thanks to a Utah-based nonprofit.

In 2019, Schultz paid a Tampa area business nearly $10,000 to train and provide him with a service dog with the hope of regaining his independence. But Schultz says the trainer broke the contract leaving him with an untrained puppy.

“I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to turn I didn’t have any more money,” he said.

Schultz turned to ABC Action News for help. Our calls and emails to nonprofits led to Labs for Liberty, a Utah charity that trains and donates service dogs to veterans.

Labs for Liberty contacted Canine Champions for Veterans, a nonprofit that gifts service dogs to first responders.

After hearing of Schultz’s plight, Canine Champions donated a yellow lab puppy named Ryder. The nonprofit spent the last year training Ryder to assist Schultz with everyday tasks such as picking up items and opening doors.

In November, Ryder was ready to fly to Tampa and permanently move in with his new partner.

“I think it is going to help me so much,” Schultz said, as he waited for Ryder’s flight to land.

Canine Champions trainer Joe Tomsich accompanied Ryder on the trip and spent two days instructing Don on how to work with his new partner.

“It is a thrill to be the guy who gets to work right alongside people who’ve made sacrifices,” Tomsich said.

Seconds after Ryder and Schultz met, the pup began sniffing his new companion then licking him on the cheek.

“It is an amazing feeling. Words don’t express how I feel now,” Schultz said.

Before leaving the airport, Ryder fell into step with Schultz’s wheelchair quickly taking his position as a permanent member of the family.

“A Godsend, it was awesome,” Schultz said. “Made dreams come true that’s for sure.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more