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 John Sheppard, Trainer:
Hi! I am John and I am one of the LSDAD trainers. I am retired from the firefighting industry.. After retirement, I was looking for something significant to do with all my extra daylight hours. I have always been the kind of person that wants to give back to my community and do something that makes a difference. I fell in love with the Lone Star Family and I started getting trained. It didn't take a week to see the seriousness of the program and who could not love spending quality time with puppies and young dogs of many breeds! The joy and satisfaction of watching the process of training these pups from absolutely no training to sit, here, etc. and learning to alert as well as how to behave in public is indescribable. It is bittersweet when we graduate the trained dogs and their new handlers but it is also one of my greatest rewards in life. I must admit it is difficult because I fall in love with each of our students and then must say good bye to them so they can go on with their lives and do their jobs. It's like being a professor in a university at graduation when we can say, "well done, my child-dog"...go do what you were educated to do. The very best time of my day, Monday through Friday, is when I walk into the training facility every morning and all the pups are excited to see me...and me them. This chapter of my life proves that you just never know what's next if you are open to the possibilities.
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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 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.