Paws 4 Independence

"Service Dogs Saves Lives"

                                                          February 9, 2014

                                                         I don’t write well and I probably

                                                         speak worse, but I will tell you

                                                         about my dog in my life. 

                                                         I suffer every day from seizures

                                                         and day terror dreams, I take

                                                         medication just to live another

                                                         day. Only a veteran can

                                                         understand!  We can be in a

                                                         jungle on rice patty roads or                                                               be in a truck to a place of no return for some or all of us and at the stern of death.  But we still remember to pull 8 men out of a troupe carrier, all dead and they were your friends.

After serving and giving my life for my country, and to come home to a divorce from my wife and children because they don’t understand you.  You can’t be fixed by years of doctors that can’t find anything wrong.  I was ready to kill myself and take all of my memory with me and quit the pain.  As I was leaving an appointment at the Tomah Veterans Hospital and I met a veteran and his service dog.  He gave me information on Paws 4 Independence and I met with Marcie and a great Black Lab, Hudson. 

This changed my life dramatically I now have a brother and best friend, he has four-legs and his name is Hudson.  He understands me, loves me, he will never leave me, he is with me 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  He won’t let me fall through the cracks and give up on me.  He alerts me of oncoming seizures and listens to me cry in pain and comforts me.  And all he asks for is food and water.  I know that recovery is a slow process but he is here to lift my spirits and I use his body to brace myself so that I am able to stand upright when I am in pain, after we play and I pray.

Paws 4 Independence is a family and they will not let me down.   Going to training classes and being around others with service dogs has given me a purpose.  Within Paws 4 Independence we work with our dogs, support each other (trainers and clients), and form a bonded friendships. 

Colonel Dan Ziemer

November 8, 2014

In October of 2012, I increased

the house hold by 1. That's

when Izzy came into our lives.

Who knew what an impact she

would have on us? My husband

is a disabled vet and walks with

a cane. He has a hard time

picking up things and his

balance is weakening. My

husband found Marcie Jenson

and away we went with training

Izzy as a service dog for him. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think Izzy (Siberian Husky) could learn to do the things she has. Paws 4 Independence has made a HUGE difference in my husband’s day to day living. Izzy picks things up that he drops, he uses her as balance to get up standing, and she gets him up moving to go on walks for his exercise as well as hers. I work forty hours a week and it gives me a piece of mind that if he falls, Izzy can retrieve his cell phone and take it to him so he can call me or 911. Let alone the physical things Izzy can do, the emotional aspect of what she does for my husband is priceless. We wouldn't have had the outcome that we have if it wasn't for Paws 4 Independence. Marcie Jenson is one of the most caring people we know. Thanks to her I have a husband who smiles again!!!

Thank you Marcie!

Cindy Wilson


                                                                        August 30, 2011

                                                                        My name is Dan Krogman,                                                                            in 
December 2009 I was

                                                                        diagnosed with a rare form                                                                          of dementia. There is no

                                                                        treatment for this type of

                                                                        dementia. I lost my job I and

                                                                        am in the process of losing                                                                          my home. My wife and I                                                                                 were and still are facing a                                                                             lot of financial hardships.                                                                             We were concerned about                                                                             what would happen to our                                                                             dog; Jack, when we would be made to move out of our home. Jack is a Jack Russell terrier; he is a rescue from the Dane County Humane Society. Jack was scheduled to be euthanized the next day; little did we know that one day Dan and Jack (our dog) would need each other just to get through the day. On day when we were at an appointment with my Alzheimer’s Specialist, he suggested that get Jack serviced to be a service dog. Since I was going through depression my therapist thought that Jack would be great therapy for me. My wife Mel, who works at the Onalaska Wal-Mart ran into Marcie Jenson while she was shopping, they talked about what kind of training Marcie’s organization provides. Several weeks later Mel called Marcie and told her that we had a Jack Russell terrier and further explained our situation, she said for me and Jack to come to one of her training classes and she give Jack a couple of tests. Well he passed every test that she gave him and he started training classes. Jack loves Marcie and we have made a lot of friends while attending training classes. Jack and I have learned so much from Marcie and PAWS 4 Independence, Jack and I have also learned a lot from each other we are each other’s ‘Best Friend’. Jack and I go everywhere together and he is eager to learn and please me and his instructor Marcie. Jack and I owe everything to Marcie and PAWS 4 Independence, this is a wonderful organization. I recommend Marcie Jenson and PAWS 4 Independence to anyone who needs help getting a dog serviced.

Sincerely, Dan and Melodee Krogman and especially Jack

November 7, 2013

Paws 4 Independence has changed my life in many ways.

Hi my name is Christopher and my service dog is Max (English Mastiff). We started training together in Jan of 2013. Never having a dog, I was a little scared of the idea but yet excited! I suffer from Moderate Brain Injury, PTSD, agoraphobia, hearing loss and a left leg injury that occurred in my last tour in Iraq 2008. Also I live with severe pain levels throughout my body due to the injuries. From day one Max picked up on a lot of my symptoms. When he does, his reaction is simple; he licks my hand or pushes his nose into my arm trying to calm me down. I go to the local VA hospital weekly for treatments and group therapy. Recently at a PTSD meeting, we had a very deep conversation in group and the room got very heated. There are vets from Vietnam, dessert Storm and the last 2 wars. Max was asleep in the corner next to me. He jumped up and started to lick my arm and hand as to say, “Calm down, calm down!” Max proceeded around the room, stopping at every vet to calm everyone down. When he got to the instructor he passed her and went to the next vet. It’s like he knew what had to be done even though he is my service dog he could sense that the other vets needed him to. At the end of class, we all talk on our way out and Max was the topic!!! Everyone was talking about how my dog gave them calmness and got the classroom back to normal! It’s hard to explain just how much Max has changed my life and my “MILITARY MIND”, for the better! I love you Max!!!!! And a big THANKS to Paws 4 Independence for bringing us together. 

June 2015

           I have spent many hours

trying to find the words that express

how I feel about Paws 4

Independence and Marcie. Grateful,

Thankful, do not come close. How

do you thank someone for giving

you back pieces of your life that you

thought were gone forever?

          I have always been a very

active person. Skiing, running,

16 block walks, biking, raising 13

children, plus 67 foster children,

working 2 jobs at a time. But in late

2013 I started to get sick. Moving

was extremely painful, sleep was

painful, energy disappeared. Life was terrible.

        I was diagnosed in 2014 with 3 inherited autoimmune diseases. I had watched my mother and her two sisters with these diseases so I knew what my life would become. Sad, angry, depressed, I struggled to keep moving. Medications helped but not enough.

        I met Mel from Paws 4 Independence and she encouraged me to visit a training session to see what they do. Wow!! What a group!

        I started coming and soon started working with 2 of Marcie's dogs. In December of 2014 Marcie asked if I wanted one of her dogs, Eli, a Rottweiler puppy, for my service dog.

        Paws 4 Independence has given me new friends. It has given me insight into how others cope daily with what life has given them. It has taught me new ways of living with something that takes away muscle tone, balance, skills.

       Eli, my service partner, helps balance me so I do not fall. He helps me out of a chair. He is learning to pick things up. I can shop without using a motorized cart. He can and will learn many more ways to help me. He makes me laugh. He has brought Marcie and all of the Paws People into my life. So - Thank you Marcie, the Board of Directors, and all the rest of the people who are a part of Paws 4 Independence.

Jan Herold, Eli and my family

                                                                                 November 20, 2013
                                                                                My name is Brandie

                                                                                Stello and my                                                                                               Husband (Joshua                                                                                          Stello) and I

                                                                                have a son (Hunter)                                                                                     that was born on                                                                                           Friday 13 Nov 2009. He                                                                                 was born with Spina                                                                                     Bifida, Hydrocephalus,

​Scoliosis and Chiari II Malformation. Due to his Hydrocephalus he has a shunt that drains excess fluid off his brain. Hunter uses a wheelchair to get around since he is paralyzed from the waist down. My husband and I were both in the Army as Military Police Officers and I was also a K-9 handler. Since then I have always loved working with dogs and was excited when Josh and I decided to get a service dog for Hunter. I have always loved German Shepherds due to working with them in the Army and being able to adopt my first Military Working Dog who we still have at home. Josh found a White German Shepherd breeder near ST Paul, MN and after one of Hunters Doctors appointments at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN we decided to go and take a look at the last puppy they had. After looking at her we decided that we wanted to take her home. At the time we got her she was 5 months old. We took her to Obedience and K-9 Good citizen classes at the Humane Society. There was a company that we had planned to go through to get her trained to be a service dog but that did not work out and they gave us Marcie’s phone number with Paws 4 Independence and we have been with them ever since. I really do love going and doing the training and working with the dogs. With any other company you would not get that experience and bond with your dog. Koda is a very smart dog. She knows verbal and non verbal commands. She has also learned to pick up things and give them back to you, close/open doors, open handicapped doors, turn on and off lights, keep Hunter in one spot at the store so he does not wheel off somewhere, and she is also a Therapy dog for Hunter. We take her everywhere we go and especially to the Hospital when Hunter has appointments. She has also helped me when I am carrying Hunter. She will pick up whatever was dropped so I don’t have to bend over with him in my arms. And if we are at a restaurant and he drops something under the table she will pick it up for him. In December of 2012 we had the opportunity to visit family in Florida and we were able to take Koda with us. While there we visited Sea World and Disney World. Koda was able to ride with Hunter on the Carousel at Sea World and at Disney World she rode on a rollercoaster that had handicapped seating. Hunter and Koda also got to meet Mickey Mouse. She was able to go wherever we went in both parks. Koda has changed our lives for the better and we would not have it any other way.