Tank came into our program in June 2014 through the sponsorship of The Wintercreek Foundation. Tank is a 3 year old male staffordshire terrier mix that we rescued from the San Diego County Animal Services Central Campus. Tank (then named Armando) smiled at us with the sweetest, most genuine smile while he wiggled his bum and wagged his tail through the kennel door. We knew he was the perfect fit for our program after evaluating his tolerance of noise, movement, approach from strangers, his ability to share his possessions, and his overall great behavior and affection toward people. Tank had been at the shelter for over 90 days on the day that he was adopted into the Shelter to Soldier program.

Ben applied to our program in the Spring of 2015, and was perhaps one of our most driven applicants. He returned all of his application materials within one business day of inquiring about our program. Soon after, he met with our training team to interact with all of our service dogs in training and knew that Tank was the one for him. Even after trying to encourage him to meet some other dogs before all of us made a decision, Ben was certain that Tank was the dog for him, and assured us that we would see that connection come out as we work together in handler training. He couldn’t have been more right, they are made for each other. After 5 months of handler training, the pair graduated our program on August 1, 2015 and have had a wonderful journey since.

I want to say thank you for today and tell you that I couldn't be more excited to have Tank in my life and you guys as lifetime friends/family. You all have taught me to take it one step at a time and to relax. Thank you for your help rescuing Tank, and me at the same time, for a bond I never thought I would have so strong. You are life savers. Thank you to your team, especially Braelyn for teaching me to be the best handler I can be for Tank.

Ben Kilhefner

I had a pretty bad nightmare last night of my deployments. Tank nudged his nose under my arm to wake me up, so I got up and cuddled with him. It was just an emotional moment to have a buddy that is always by my side making sure I'm alright. Thank you from the bottom my my heart for giving me this opportunity to have a great service dog!

Ben Kilhefner

I just wanted to let the STS team know again how much Tank has really saved me. On numerous occasions, Tank has sensed my anxiety in class and has redirected me to gather myself and return at the appropriate times. Thank you again for the unforgettable love Tank has given me.

Ben Kilhefner

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