Meet Amanda Vinson, Trainer:
Hi my name is Amanda and I have always been a HUGE animal lover. I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian but put schooling on hold to start a family but I never gave up my passion to work with animals! Having three kids and one with special needs requires a lot of my time so working is very difficult. I was a stay at home mom for 11 years during which time I trained a service dog for my son and helped friends and even strangers to train their dogs. That is what brought me to LSDAD. Working with this group has been AMAZING!! It truly is like family here and I am thankful for the opportunity to help train these amazing life-saving dogs! Having trained a service dog for my son gave me a deeper understanding of the important role these dogs have in the lives of their handlers. I am truly excited to be a part of this!
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Meet Maria Flores, Trainer
I learned about LSDAD through trainer, Lynn Craig. When I learned about the amazing work they are doing, I jumped on the chance to volunteer with them. My time was filled with learning and bonding with the dogs and the other trainers. After a year of volunteering, I was offered a position with them and I accepted in about 2 seconds! It never ceases to amaze me that these dogs have it in them to assist humans in such wonderful ways and the work that LSDAD does allows me to get a front row seat to see them flourish learning these abilities and help make life easier for those with type one diabetes!!
Meet Dr. Raymond Johnson, DVM:
Meet our Executive Director and on staff veterinarian! Ray received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and received his doctorate at Texas A&M. He has been practicing for over 40 years. He owned a huge small animal hospital in North Austin and during his personal time he was the fire chief for the Jolleyville Volunteer Fire Department for 30 years. He enjoys giving back to his community and currently volunteers with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department working on injured native Texas wildlife. He is also the staff veterinarian for San Marcos Veterinary Clinic where he does surgeries three mornings a week. Ray helps Lone Star Diabetic Alert Dogs in many ways, from the evaluations and training to veterinary care and nutrition. An added benefit of having one of our DADs is being able to pick up the phone for consultation if you ever have a concern about your DAD.
Meet Lynn Craig, Trainer:
Hi, my name is Lynn Craig, & I have had a lifelong love for dogs ”Canine Americans" . After 25+ years as an Air Force wife/Homeschooling Mom/Sunday school teacher/volunteer for various church & homeschool organizations, & a soon-to-be “empty nester”, I was praying about what I should do next. As I have successfully trained my own dogs to be amazing pets over the years (as well as helped different friends work through issues with theirs), finding this job working for the LSDAD program has been an answer to that prayer.
I have been pleasantly surprised at the similarities between ‘schooling’ these pups, & homeschooling my own boys, though I do have to say that the adorable pups are more enthusiastic students. It is a great joy working with them, & getting them ready to do their lifesaving work, but it is bittersweet when it’s time for them to leave with their permanent handlers (parents). There is a great sense of pride in what our training has accomplished, & joy that the pups will be greatly loved & appreciated, BUT I do miss them when they’re no longer in the LSDAD program.
I am very grateful to be a part of the LSDAD program, & have a great sense of satisfaction when I hear good reports of how these pups are behaving & saving the lives of their handlers.
Meet Karen Lillard, Trainer:
Karen retired from the business world to be a full time mom; more time at home also allowed her to indulge her passion for working with animals, especially rescue animals. As a result, Karen has acquired years of experience socializing and training shelter dogs to make them more suitable for adoption. It was a natural progression for Karen to jump into service dog training.
“To be working at LSDAD with Kim, and helping to train dogs that will one day provide such a valuable service, is such an honor. It is always amazing to witness the dogs' transformation as they realize their full potential as diabetic alert dogs.”
Karen and her husband, Steve, are recent empty nesters and live in New Braunfels, Texas, where she also enjoys her own menagerie of pets, working out, painting, and all the fun the Hill Country has to offer.