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Make a donation to
Shore Service Dogs!
Shore Service Dogs, Inc.

Providing custom trained Service Dogs that help return mobility & independence to people's lives.
About Us
SSD's Logo
Green Dividing Line
Major Search & Rescue training

Major doing his Search
& Rescue training.
About Our Dogs

The inspiration for the birth of Shore Service Dogs came from a wonderful stray named Major and we continue to utilize rescued dogs whenever possible. Our dogs come from a variety of sources including shelters, breed rescues, and occasionally we'll accept a donation from a local breeder or individual.

Carmen/Hope in the beginning at the Humane Society
Carmen/Hope in the beginning at the
Humane Society.

SSD is committed to giving these loving and intelligent "cast-offs" a second chance. Whether it's donating training time to the Wicomico Humane Society to give a "challenging" dog a better shot at adoption, or just being a resource for individuals seeking local breed rescues; we strongly feel that each life we help save is worth every bit of the efforts we expend.

Read on to learn about of our latest canine cast-offs that have turned out to be absolute gems!

Read Kayne's Story
Read Sammy's Story


Kayne's Sad Update
(May 2007)

There are times when life just never seems to go quite as we expect it to no matter how well we plan and prepare. Sometimes it's what we hope for. Sometimes it's not. And sometimes it's a bit of both. Such has been the case this past half year with Kayne .

Sadly, after 2 years of training and just shy of going on to find his new permanent partner, Kayne's recent mysterious bout with paralysis and subsequent surgeries for a life threatening urethra blockage have put him on the permanently disabled list and disqualified him from being able to be placed.

To say that there is a great deal of sorrow here at SSD that he was unable to graduate on to team with a disabled veteran, does not begin to describe our heartsick disappointment. But while we're obviously saddened that he was unable to achieve his goal of helping one of of our country's brave military, we're also so incredibly grateful that he survived and conquered his illnesses and is once again the happy boy that we've grown to cherish!

Kayne sharing some TLC.
As long as he's willing and able, he'll continue to carry on the ultimate goal of helping others in need through his Therapy Dog work, his teaching new SSD trainees to become full fledged Service Dogs, and his painting skills to help raise funds for the training and care of the dogs of SSD. No matter what his future holds, he will always be a much loved and treasured part of the Shore Service Dogs family and we are very proud of all his accomplishments, both great and small!

Green Dividing Line
Big Thank You!
Kayne's Story
narrated by Mary Stadelbacher
December 15, 2004

Most of Kayne's 2 years of life has been one of abandonment and pain. For the first year, this poor guy was chained outside with little interaction and absolutely no training. Not only was he starved for attention but the people were so determined to make him look ferocious, they ended up shortening his tail and ears far, far beyond what they should have (but we think he's absolutely gorgeous even with his bad "haircut").

They entirely amputated his tail when they docked it, jaggedly cropped his ears much shorter than what is normally done, and must have cut off his dew claws with a dull pair of scissors if the scars are any indication. Dog people who have seen his "battle wounds" are amazed he didn't die from infections from such horrible treatment. He totally wore down his front bottom teeth so we're guessing that the stresses of this solitary confinement and terrible ordeal must have been pretty rough.

As if that weren't enough, the people that put him through that traumatic experience, decided he wasn't worth the effort of taking him with them when they moved and they abandoned him, leaving him chained alone in the back yard. For several days he was imprisoned there, exposed to the elements with no food or water. Finally, a kindhearted neighbor realized what these "caring" people had done and she brought Kayne back with her to give him a new home.

Unfortunately Kayne developed bladder and kidney problems (most likely due to the poor care he earlier received) which led to a severe and chronic bladder infection. His rescuer tried to help him but she didn't have the resources to fully take care of him. So when told he would need costly surgery and extensive follow-up care, she made the decision that many are sadly forced to make, to have their dog put down.

Kayne and one of his guardian angels, Deb

Kayne and one of
his guardian angels.

Fortunately, fate stepped in and gave Kayne a reprieve from certain death. A guardian angel at the vet's office, named Debbie, felt so strongly about keeping this sweetheart alive that she accepted the responsibility of his medical bills and follow-up care. So Kayne was signed over to Debbie and together they started his long and arduous journey back to a healthy state.

During Kayne's surgery,
Dr. Melanie Wilkins of Johnson-Mckee Animal Hospital in Salisbury MD, found his bladder to be almost entirely lined with extensive layers of scar tissue. The severity of the infection was one of the worst she had seen and while she repaired as much as she could, she was concerned that he might not ever regain proper bladder function after so much injury to the tissues. On top of that, the infection had so severely taxed his system that this big guy was almost a walking skeleton. A normal dog of his height and build should have weighed a lean 80-85 lbs. but he was barely reaching the low end of 65 lbs. In all likelihood, if the infection hadn't outright killed him, it would have caused him to starve to death in fairly short order without medical intervention.

After several days of recovery, she felt that Kayne had safely gotten through the critical period so she sent him to his new home with Debbie. There he began his treatment of antibiotics and other medicines to try to repair the damage that had been done. Gradually he started to regain his health. He still could not hold his urine well and he had quite a ways to go with his weight but even so, he was beginning to show that he was feeling much better. He started to perk up and play with both Debbie and her other 3 dogs

Unfortunately, fate then showed its fickle side and just as Kayne was about to settle in to his new family, one of his new "brothers" decided he was a very unwelcome addition to their group. Jeb himself had been a rescue and still had quite a bit of feral aggressiveness towards other dogs. He had learned to live with Debbie's other 2 guys but Kayne was a totally different matter. Jeb decided he wasn't going to be low man on the pole anymore so he started bullying Kayne unmercifully. While Kayne initially accepted it, as he began to feel better and gained strength and Jeb became more physically abusive towards him, he tolerated it less and less. Eventually, the 2 of them came to blows and Kayne started to defend himself against Jeb's continued attacks.

Debbie quickly realized that if Kayne stayed there, he and Jeb would end up in a much worse fight and one or both of them risked becoming severely injured or possibly killed. So she contacted a representative of
D.A.R.E to see if they could assist her in finding a new home that would be safer for Kayne.

Kayne when he first came to SSD

Kayne when he first came to SSD.

That was when Kayne began his journey with Shore Service Dogs. We were contacted and asked if we would evaluate and determine if he could become a Service Dog. Up until Jeb's bullying, his temperament had been wonderful and Debbie felt certain he had the potential to be a fantastic partner for someone in need.

We do not normally train a dog without a specific client in mind but Debbie was persuasive enough that we decided to evaluate him and determine whether he was in fact all she felt he was. Surprisingly, considering his past, Kayne showed great promise. We offered to take him on a trial training period if he was able to pass a thorough medical exam for hip and elbow dysplasia and eye health. He sailed through them with flying colors and we took him on to start his probationary period.

As a sad irony to this whole story, the very day before he was to come to us, Jeb and he rumbled again and this time Jeb got in a few good bites that almost injured one of Kayne's eyes. Kayne was extremely lucky not to have lost his sight, but he still ended up with a pretty nasty gash right below his eye. Debbie's worst fears had almost happened and she was deeply concerned that this may have ruined Kayne's chance to become a Service Dog.

While he had passed his initial medical exam, it was yet to be known whether he could overcome his dog attack fear, pass our Bootcamp Obedience program, and regain control of his bladder muscles. We weren't certain he would even succeed with one of those let alone all of them but he had made such a strong impression on us that we felt it was worth the effort. If he was unable to qualify by the end of his month with us, his training would at least ensure that he'd have a much better chance of being adopted and finding a good home.

Kayne, Sammy, & Major waiting eagerly for the ball to be thrown

Kayne, Sammy & Major eagerly waiting for the ball to be thrown.

Initially it was definitely touch and go. His bladder muscles continued to be very weak and even after 6 weeks with Debbie's tender loving care, he still hadn't quite gotten over all of the infection. We continued with his medications and provided physical therapy to help strengthen and tighten his abdominal muscles. Even so, he had difficulties with dribbling and there were quite a few mornings when his crate was puddled from him not being able to hold his urine through the night. Fortunately for us, he tolerates baths very well! Gradually though, he started to make progress and fewer and fewer accidents occurred.

His dog fear though was a different story. Jeb had made a pretty large impression on Kayne and coupled with his lack of early socialization, he had no reference to know that not all dogs were going to attack him. But he had a loving heart in him and eventually, time, and training using Maj to desensitize him, brought Kayne around to realizing that he could enjoy the company of dogs and could play with them without fearing for his safety. Now the two of them are the best of friends and eagerly anticipate their play sessions together. His dog attack fear has disappeared entirely and he has behaved beautifully around strange dogs, people, kids, and even the cats and parrot that deign to share their home with inferior beings such as dogs and humans.

Kayne aceing his Canine Good Citizen test

Kayne acing the supervised separation part of his Canine Good Citizen test. He passed with flying colors!
While Kayne is just starting on his path to becoming a Service Dog, he has already shown an incredible desire to please and an amazing ability to learn. His enthusiasm and dedication will make an enormous difference in the life of the disabled veteran he eventually partners with.

He has progressed beyond his health problems, conquered his fear of dogs, and has shown every day that he is not only eager and willing to learn each new lesson he is taught but excels at them too. He has definitely shown he is an incredible dog to have achieved and exceeded all three of his requirements.

We have such high hopes for him and we're looking forward to the day he graduates and starts his fresh journey with his new partner in life. Please help us to help him reach that wonderful day.

Make a donation to
Shore Service Dogs!

Big Thank You!

Click here
to read a letter from Kayne's Guardian Angel mom, Debbie.


Sam, dog in training for a disabled veteran.
Sammy looking very handsome!

Sam's Story
narrated by Mary Stadelbacher
Feb. 2007

Sadly Kayne was not able to go on to partner with a mobility challenged individual, but while one door closes, many times another opens. Kayne's new K-9 bud, Sammy, a rescued pupper who came from the Dorchester County Humane Society, has boldly stepped forward to take Kayne's place. While Sammy's only been training a bit over a year, he's extremely eager to please and has excelled at his Service Dog training. He is very much looking forward to partnering with a mobility challenged individual from our military's finest so that he can courageously assist them in their new hurdles in life.

Sammy (or Samuel as he's more formally known as) was originally brought to Shore Service Dogs to be custom trained to help a local wheelchair bound woman that was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Initially we had searched the Wicomico County Humane Society and had found a beautiful Rottweiller girl that passed all her initial temperament evaluation tests with flying colors. Unfortunately for us (but happily for her) she
had already been set aside to be adopted by another family, so we were unable to acquire her.

Sam's Adoption Picture
Sam's Adoption Page

So it was back to the hunt again and since there were no other qualified candidates at that shelter, we widened our search. After looking at to see what was available in nearby counties, I saw a likely dog at the Dorchester Humane Society that might have been what we were looking for. Unfortunately, the day I was to drive over to the shelter, Murphy's Law kicked in and I wasn't able to make it so I had to send the lady and her husband to check and see if they clicked well with the dog that was there and if so, to put a hold on her. Well... long story short, the girl dog didn't work out but they were so taken with this handsome, friendly boy that they came back with Sammy to have me evaluate him that day.

I put him through some initial paces to see how he reacted and he seemed like he might make a good candidate but we had to see how his medical evaluation would turn out. So he stayed over that night and the next day he went in and got a full physical. Other than being a bit thin, he passed his health exam well so I said I'd keep him for a couple of days to see how his temperament turned out to be. That night I found out why he probably was dumped twice at the pound, the boy could whine and howl up quite the storm. He even sounded like a hyenna at one point. Needless to say neither of us got much sleep!

The next day we worked on checking out his obedience and focusing. He did pretty well altho he was quite the chatty boy. He had a huge range of vocalizations almost as if he was trying to talk to me. It was actually pretty funny to hear what came out of him... altho as a Service Dog it was critical that he learn how to be quiet at all times unless given a command to bark. I could see that he had huge potential but that he also had a big hurdle to overcome with his anxieties and vocalizations. But none of my Service Dog trainees are "cream of the crop". They all come with some form of baggage from their past lives. My job is to get them beyond that and they've always shown me they could overcome some pretty horrendous pasts. With fairly high hopes of his abilities, I told the lady we'd give him a try.

Sam pulling a drawer open
Sam pulling a drawer open.

So Sammy and I started in on getting him on the road to becoming a Service Dog. A bark collar started to take care of the worst of his howling and we began exercises to teach him self-confidence and self-discipline. And as all my dogs are older than a year, we had a lot of obedience and socialization work to do in addition to starting to learn Service Dog tasks. But Sammy rose to the challenge and made fantastic headway! His whining was going to be a challenge but his apptitude for Service Dog tasks was incredible. I was very impressed with the boy!

Unfortunately, though Sammy was working diligently at learning his new skills, his future partner was not doing as well as he was. Eventually it became very obvious that she would be unable to become a Service Dog handler so a decision had to be made as to what Sammy's future would be. Normally I only train a dog specifically for a person and their custom needs rather than cookie cutter train for everyone's generalized needs. Sammy's future was really hanging in the balance. But he'd worked so hard and shown so much progress that there was no way I was going to see him not have a chance to become a full Service Dog. So Sammy was spared that 3rd strike and I kept him on to continue his education even though he didn't have a partner lined up and had no funds coming in to pay for his training, care, and equipment. But if he continues along the way he's been doing, I have no doubts he'll make a fantastic Service Dog for someone who is worthy of such a courageous and amazing boy. His
videos tell the tale of a constantly wagging tail that shows he's enjoying ever minute of learning and helping others!

Sammy has made tremendous strides from a very difficult and uncertain beginning but as talented as he is, he needs help in attaining his goal. Someone that can make it happen by becoming one of his Sponsors and assisting with his food, vet and toy costs (he's not all business, he does enjoy destroying a good squeak toy). He also needs to take his advanced certification exams, get specialized harnesses, go on field trips to restaurants, learn how to ride in airplanes, be quiet in a movie theater, behave in a hotel, etc. etc. etc. There’s just so much to learn and it can all get so expensive! But he's going to keep working very hard to reach his goal and we hope that kind people will help him along the way. Could you be one of them?

Your generosity of any amount would make a world of difference in assisting him and all the dogs at SSD in becoming accomplished Service and Therapy Dogs. If you can help by volunteering to raise funds, please contact SSD's trainer at or consider donating just a couple of dollars even. Every little bit adds up to helping Sammy reach his goal of aiding an injured hero with their personal battle to regain freedom and independence!


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