• 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

  • Sports

    Iditarod musher Steve Watkins safe, was climbing Everest during Nepal earthquake

    by KTVA Sports on Apr 25, 20:22

    Army veteran and 2015 Iditarod rookie Steve Watkins was unharmed, as of Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. The epicenter of the quake was 130 miles from Mount Everest, where Watkins was in the process of climbing to the summit. According to his girlfriend, Joy Chairusmi, Watkins was at camp […]

  • News

    How Alaska can benefit from US taking chair of Arctic Council

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 25, 11:56

    The University of Alaska Anchorage hosted a live-stream presentation Friday as the U.S. took over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, a group of eight nations with Arctic territory and six indigenous Arctic organizations. The goal is to encourage cooperation to protect the Arctic environment while ensuring responsible development. Between retreating sea ice, warming temperatures, shipping, […]

  • News

    Nepal quake: More than 1K dead, history crumbles, Everest shaken

    by CNN / AP on Apr 25, 10:33

      A top Nepalese police official says at least 1,130 people are confirmed dead following a powerful earthquake that struck the densely populated Kathmandu Valley. The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, shook four other countries in addition to Nepal. Aftershocks continued to ripple through the region for hours. An avalanche swept across Mount […]

  • News

    More Alaska National Guard emails released

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 24, 21:12

    The state released thousands of emails related to the Alaska National Guard scandal late Friday afternoon. It’s been more than 5 months since they’ve handed over any of the information they were ordered to give the media last year. In October, a judge ruled that then-Gov. Sean Parnell’s office must provide any correspondence that relates […]

  • Sports

    Thomas Wins 31st Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year

    by Dave Goldman on Apr 24, 20:42

    The junior ran away with it. It’s been said many times in Cody Thomas’s illustrious career. It also described his path on Friday night as the 2014-15 Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year. The New Zealander claimed the honor at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s athletic banquet at the Lucy Cuddy Center. Thomas’ list of accomplishments not only set the […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, April 24

    by KTVA Weather on Apr 24, 20:40

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Mostly cloudy skies for southern areas of the Kenai. Most of the area with some rain showers in the mountains, south of Clam Gulch, and on the east side of the Kenai.   Southeast Expect lots of sunshine for northern and central areas with more clouds and a chance for afternoon […]

  • News

    Change in the Guard: new adjutant general’s vision

    by Bonney Bowman on Apr 24, 18:47

    A West Point graduate with 30 years of active-duty experience, new Alaska State Commissioner and Adjutant General Laurie Hummel says she has a vision to make Alaskans proud of the Alaska National Guard once again. She came out of retirement to tackle the challenging position. “If you’re going to go back to work and get […]

  • Politics

    Leaders raise potential of budget vote without reserve draw

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 18:32

    Legislative leaders have raised the potential of passing a state spending plan without a vote authorizing a draw from Alaska’s constitutional budget reserve fund. House Speaker Mike Chenault said if the House and Senate majorities reach an agreement on education funding, they could finish up the budgets and leave. As of late Friday afternoon, an […]