Next Step Service Dogs

2018 Quarterly Newsletter 1
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life,
wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America,"
for an amount of "up to and including my life."
Author Unknown
NSSD Welcomes Two New Team Members
We are pleased to welcome Barbara Beach as our Ambassador for Media Relations and Special Projects. She joins NSSD with a wealth of multimedia accomplishments and a passion for serving our veterans. Among her many achievements are:
  • Executive producer of the Military Appreciation Channel
  • Executive producer for Reach for the Sky TV starring Jack Scalia and Jeff Senour 
  • National Producer for PBS Television Radio: American Health Journal
  • Awarded Congressional Honors for Service to Veterans
  • Awarded Hispanic Medal of Honor Society Honors 
  • Awarded OFFE recognition for Service to Veterans 
Barbara is also the author of three books and creator of more than 140 titles and thousands of episodes for the Military Appreciation Channel.She published over 150 issues of Miata Magazine and Mazda Enthusiast for Mazda North America and Chrysler Motor Company.Barbara’s other positions include Promotions Director and Entertainment Feature Editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and news journalist and investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
Heather Valentine is our new Operations Manager.  She has her Bachelors in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University, and has been married to a service member for five years. Because of this, they has lived overseas and on both coasts during the past eight years.  Both Heather and her husband love animals and they have rescued a Siamese Bobtail cat from Japan and a German Shepherd/Great Dane from California.

"Working with service members and their families has always been a passion of mine. NSSD is my 'Next Step' in giving back to those that have given so much for us all," smiles Heather.


After a year with Next Step Service Dogs, Mary Carey (formerly Mary Meyers) is our new Training Administrator.  Mary has her Bachelors in Social Sciences from CSU San Marcos and her Masters in Business Administration from National University.  She is a native of Southern California and, in January, married Matt Carey.  Mary and Matt are animal lovers with 3 cats and 4 dogs. Mary is excited to continue NSSD’s mission to serve veterans and first responders.

It is not difficult to see why we are excited about working with all three women.
Contact: Sally Montrucchio, CEO/Training Director
Team Highlight: Kyle and Kassie

My name is Kyle and I served in the Marine Corps from 2006-2014, when I was medically retired. I served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007, where my injuries occurred. I began seeking help for my PTSD in 2013 and when my therapist mentioned the possibility of obtaining a service dog – I rejected the idea. But the struggle of everyday life quickly changed my mind. I applied to multiple organizations so I could see which one would best fit my needs.  Next Step Service Dogs went above and beyond my expectations.

I ended up teaming with Kassie. I first saw Kassie about a month after entering the program and instantly knew she was the one. Since Kassie has been living with me my life has completely changed. I went from seven different medications daily down to three and lowered the doses. I can now do things by myself that I would not normally do.

Kassie and Next Step Service Dogs found me at a very low point in my life and gave me purpose.
NORTHWEST CHAPTER – Montana and Idaho 
Meet Maddie and Dayne (left) and Donovan and Lilly (right) –
two of our active teams from Montana.
Ruger (left) and Kora (right) have come to us recently and will be given a Change of Career with a NSSD soldier or first responder.

Celebrate National Puppy Day (on March 23) by trying something new with your puppy.

All puppy owners, whether training a pet or a Service-Dog-to-Be, need to take time to socialize their dog by providing a number of different experiences.  Here is a free, downloadable checklist compiled by Anything Pawsable with 100 ideas: "Socializing Service Dogs In Training – 100+ Things to Include."  The entire article can be found on the Anything Pawsable website.
Thank you to Rose Hanne for her donation of this gorgeous Standard Poodle.
Quinn and Autumn
These two wonderful Golden Doodles were donated by the Kim Family.  One will be raised in San Diego and the other in Montana.
This beautiful Black Lab is the newest member of the NSSD Family.  She was donated by the Richardson Family.
Three New Teams Have
Been Certified Since Our
Graduation Last October
Donovan and Lilly (top left)
Haley and Eclipse (bottom left)
Jesse and Charlie (bottom right)

NSSD looks forward to certifying more teams in the near future.

Facility Dogs Highlighted
Molly representing at the Combined Federal Campaign Charity Fair
at Naval Medical Center San Diego. She got to meet a lot of Sailors and Marines.
Team Highlight
Jesse and Charlie were honored in a VFW Sculpture Competition
PTSD Symptoms Lowered

It is nothing new to NSSD, nor to many of you, that service dogs minimize the effects of PTSD.  This study from the Perdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, compared two groups: one group of veterans had service dogs and the others were on a waiting list.  Measurements were taken of various aspects of PTSD symptoms including quality of life, social functioning, and work.

Read the more detailed article, "Study Shows Service Dogs Are Associated With Lower PTSD Symptoms Among War Veterans"

Many Airlines Are Changing Their Travel Policy For Service Animals

Traveling with a Service Dog: a Complete Guide, on Anything Pawsible's website, has much of the information needed for travel all in one place – including a link to all the most popular airlines.

March 23:  Phoenix Arizona – Next Step at the Park

3x your impact!
Amazon is tripling the donation rate on your first purchase - through March 31! Go to and Amazon donates to Next Step Service Dogs.
April 18:  Dogtopia – 7pm-8:30pm in Santa Ana  
October 7, 2018 – NSSD Graduation

Much Appreciation to the Following Groups:

  • VFW Women’s Auxiliary statewide for their continuous support all year.  We especially appreciate Traci Lewis Ventress, State President, Wainwright, State Commander and Beth Flinn, District President who chose NSSD as the recipient this year.
  • Christopher Northrup and everyone at California Trucking for all their support this year.
  • Sierra Delta announcing that NSSD has become an affiliate organization and for their unending support.
The Magic of Games for Your Dog      
by Sally Montrucchio
Teach your dog to find your matching slipper! Or water bottle from the refrigerator or retrieve a hard to reach item from behind a table or a chair! Teach your dog the skills needed with over 100 Fun, Easy Games, Challenges and Exercises! The Magic of Games is dog training made easy for the novice to the advanced dog trainer. These games and exercises support foundation training and allow for easier advanced training. It is a magnificent tool for training a creative, happy and confident dog by increasing your dog's problem-solving ability. Every day household items are mostly all you need. Add imagination, treats, a clicker and you are in business!
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*921 S. Andreasen Drive; Escondido, CA  92029* 

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Next Step Service Dogs · 12463 Rancho Bernardo Road, #574 · San Diego, CA 92128 · USA

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