• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 56s

Service dog organization prepares to close

By Shannon Ballard 6:11 PM January 9, 2014

Midnight Sun Service Dogs may soon shut its doors

ANCHORAGE - Tyson Bubnar is a dog person and has special bond with his yellow lab.

“She just opened up the world to me,” Bubnar said.

Sesi is his service dog.

“When I first got her I was denying that I even had issues of PTSD and stuff,” Bubnar said. “I went on that last deployment to Afghanistan and I had a really hard time.”

Bubnar was in the Army for 22 years and deployed nine times.

It’s not hard for him to remember life before Sesi.

“I know what it was like without her,” Bubnar said. ”It was miserable.”

It was April Merchant at Midnight Sun Service Dogs who helped Bubnar train Sesi to become a service dog and overcome his struggles.

Now, the tables have turned. It’s hard for him to see what April is going through.

She is packing up the organization’s training center and preparing for the worst, because MSSD is out of money.

MSSD has been waiting for months to receive its nonprofit status to be approved by the federal government, Merchant said.

Without that recognition, she said, MSSD is overlooked by donators and can’t qualify for grants or programs like Pick.Click.Give.

“They’ve sacrificed everything,” Merchant said about the soldiers and veterans she helps. “For me to give my time to help train a dog is nothing compared to what they’ve given. To not be able to do that now, it breaks my heart.”

MSSD relies on donations.

Rent is due and without raising $10,000 to pay off back rent by the end of the month, the doors will close.

“As a fellow veteran watching your other friends possibly not have the access to this, it’s sad because this can change their life and it can return them to an almost normal life,” Bubnar said.

Volunteers here have a saying: Every once in a while dog enters your life and changes everything.

Lives have been changed by MSSD, veterans said, and April hopes the work continues.

The organization said if it does have to shut down its training center, it would still continue to help people with their service dogs on a smaller scale.

Any money raised short of its goal will still be used to provide service dogs to active duty military members and veterans.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Caribou masks capture spirit of Nunamiut culture

    by Heather Hintze on May 26, 20:39

    Caribou mask making is an intricate artform Lela Ahgook has honed over time. At 72 years old, she’s now an elder in Anaktuvuk Pass, where she’s been doing it since the 1960s. “Every piece of the caribou is here,” she pointed out where she used the hoof on the forehead of a mask lined with […]

  • News

    Safety Fair teaches outdoor safety to new military members

    by Bonney Bowman on May 26, 20:15

    Memorial Day weekend means it’s time to get outside and enjoy Alaska, but without the right skills and equipment exploring the backcountry can be risky – especially for people new to the state, like many soldiers and airmen stationed at JBER. Today the base held the 4th annual Occupational and Recreational Safety Fair, aimed at […]

  • News

    Anchorage doctor accused of overprescribing painkillers fights to keep license

    by Shannon Ballard on May 26, 19:45

    The Alaska State Medical Board has accused an Anchorage doctor of writing dangerous and potentially lethal prescriptions for his patients. The state suspended Dr. Mahmood Ahmad’s license earlier this month. On Thursday, he began his fight to appeal the decision and ultimately keep practicing in Alaska. Ahmad sat quietly as the first witness testified via […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: The real reason to observe Memorial Day

    by John Tracy on May 26, 16:48

    I don’t know what you’re doing this Memorial Day, but chances are it will bear little resemblance to the reason we observe it. Whether you consider it the official start of summer, or the time to get a great deal on an appliance, the origins of the holiday can be traced to one of the […]

  • Weather

    Dangerous fire conditions across southcentral Alaska this weekend

    by KTVA 11 News on May 26, 16:45

    A fire weather watch has been issued for the Susitna Valley and Copper River Basin for the Memorial Day weekend. The watch goes into effect on Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday evening. Over the weekend, temperatures are forecast to climb into the 60s and 70s across southcentral Alaska. The warming temperatures, along with low relative […]

  • Politics

    Trump agrees to debate Sanders; Fox News is ‘interested’

    by Associated Press on May 26, 16:10

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Donald Trump is welcoming Bernie Sanders’ proposal that they meet in a debate but is setting a high price for participating. His condition: The hosting TV network would have to put up millions of dollars for charity. Representatives for Fox News and ABC News say the networks are “interested” in hosting such […]

  • Crime

    Drunk man steals front end loader, smashes it into liquor store and runs from police

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 26, 12:51

      ANCHORAGE — An intoxicated man led Anchorage police on a chase early Thursday morning after stealing a front end loader from a construction site, then crashing it into a liquor store and stealing booze. Police were called to the Brown Jug Liquor store at 2200 Northern Lights Blvd. around 3:20 a.m. Thursday after a […]

  • Crime

    Two men arrested in connection with East Anchorage shootings

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 26, 12:25

    The Anchorage Police Department has arrested and charged two men in connection with two East Anchorage shootings Thursday. According to a release from APD, both shootings happened just after 11 a.m. Thursday. Police said they were first notified of an incident involving a gun at the 4300 block of E. 9th Avenue. Police were told […]