As a 20-year-old, Clark suffered catastrophic injuries while serving in the United States Marine Corps. While on foot patrol in Afghanistan, Clark was caught in an IED explosion. This tragic accident resulted in the amputation of Clark’s legs, and years of surgeries and recoveries at Walter Reed Hospital. Another veteran, 1st Sgt. Chris Roseberry, United States Army, introduced Andy to Clark to start the conversation about getting a service dog. To which Clark replied, “No way, who’s this guy?” He had his doubts, rightfully so, after trying to acquire a service dog before with no success.
Through further discussion, Andy revealed why Dogs for our Brave is incomparable to other organizations. It’s the fact that we cover the cost of the dog for the life of the dog, ensuring our veterans never take on any financial burden for their service dog. Clark still didn’t believe him, but he turned to Chris, who replied, “This is the real deal”. Clark was later gifted with his first service dog, Josie. Afterwards, Clark revealed to Andy that before he received Josie, he was considerably angry. However, one of Josie’s amazing intuitions was to put her head in his lap and ask for Clark’s attention and affection until he lowered his voice.
Early 2022, Josie became the first dog in the Dogs for our Brave program to pass away. After this heartbreaking loss, the team reached out to Clark to ensure him of our support, and when he was ready, he decided to begin the process of receiving another service dog. Our Director of Training, Paul, had flown Clark’s paired service dog in training, Frido, out to him for a visit during a family reunion. Once out there, Frido could not care less that Paul was present – her only focus was on Clark. Seeing this, and having confidence in her skillset and training, Paul didn’t have the heart to bring Frido back for the remaining two months of training. Frido was ready.
After a few short months together, Clark tells us, “Josie and Frido are very different, but in good ways. They are what I needed at these different points in my life. Josie was chill and sweet, and I was not. She really helped me calm down. I’m more active now and out and about. Frido has the energy to keep up with me.”