Veteran with service dog

Our dogs are an important part of our lives. Whether they are a pet or a service dog, keeping them at a healthy weight is crucial for a long and happy life. When it comes to a dog being overweight, there are a wide variety of risks that rise in numbers and severity with increasing weight to the point that pet obesity is now categorized as a disease in companion animals as it is in humans. (more…)

On Friday, November 10th, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs broke ground on the Pennsylvania Campus, a multi-million-dollar, state-of-the-art center for raising, training, and donating service dogs for veterans and first responders in Robinson Township, Washington County. (more…)

With perfect weather and outstanding community support, the 2023 Community Mutt Strutt was a fantastic success and the best one since we began the event seven years ago! It was a beautiful day on the Great Lawn at the North Shore, filled with generous community support, live music, and loads of fun for all. (more…)

…from Pirates Pup to Super Service Dog

In 2021, the Pittsburgh Pirates and PNC teamed up to sponsor the training of a medical service dog for a veteran in need. The Pirates became the first professional baseball organization to team up with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs for this cause.

In a public social media contest, Pirates fans worldwide chose the name Bucco for this all-black German Shepherd puppy, destined to change a life forever.

Since that time, little Bucco has worked really hard, training everyday with the trainers at Guardian Angels. He’s learned all the basic commands, like sit, stay, and heel plus a myriad of special skills that normal dogs don’t do, such as being trained as a scent detection dog to alert of chemical changes within his recipients’ body, that may cause a negative medical impact, allowing the recipient to take corrective action prior to any health episode.

He’s also worked really hard to keep up with his Bucco fans, and is quite the social media Supaw-star, with over 3,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 2,000 fans on Instagram! Last week, he made several appearances at PNC Park to watch his teammates play and win.

Bucco’s made several lasting memories with his Pirates’ team and fans. Here are a few of his special moments:

Visiting the field with his Dad on Father’s Day

Hanging out with Pirates Legend, Manny Sanguillen

Holding his very own Paw-ress Conference

Visiting one of PNC’s Grow Up Great centers with the Parrot & Pirates players

and, of course, meeting all the fans!

Here’s a little secret that few people know – Bucco’s very best friend is the Pirate Parrot! These two were best buds from the start and we’re sure they’ll keep in touch.

The best news is that Bucco has completed his training, passed all his classes, and has just met his person. While Bucco is a little bummed about leaving his teammates and retiring his No.1 jersey, he is excited to fulfill his mission in life, ensuring that his recipient is well taken care of! Although Bucco has had a very friendly and public training period, it’s important for people to remember that, once he’s paired with his new person, people should no longer approach or interact with him, unless given explicit permission by his new handler, so that his full focus can remain on his recipient.

Bucco will have a rockstar sendoff from his baseball career as he is paired on the field with his new teammate for life, David, on September 4th at PNC Park. David was an Army medic assigned to the First Infantry during Vietnam and has struggled for years. We know that Bucco is going to be the difference in beginning a beautiful #NewNormal for David.

Please join us in congratulating the Pirates, Bucco and David!

Whether you have a service dog or a pet, their health and well-being are always at the heart of what you do. From feeding a healthy diet to ensuring they get enough exercise, we all make efforts to care for our service dogs or pets each day to ensure a long and happy life.


Service dogs can provide a wide range of support for people with PTSD. This condition impacts portions of the brain that regulate emotions and fear responses. It is characterized by high anxiety, panic attacks, brittle emotions, debilitating triggers, and re-experiencing traumatic events through flashbacks and/or night terrors. It is common in veterans and first responders but can be experienced by anyone who has suffered through a traumatic event or series of traumatic events. Symptoms of PTSD frequently lead to isolation and serious depression.  (more…)

Whether a dog is a pet or a working dog, they all offer some level of emotional support to their owner regardless of their mental or physical condition. (more…)

April is the month of the military child, and children hold a special place in our hearts here at Guardian Angels. Many of our recipients suffer from PTS, and as a result, their children can be impacted by Intergenerational PTS. (more…)

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A TBI is caused by a violent blow, shock wave, or jolt to the head or body. It can also be caused by an object piercing the skull and entering the brain. When it comes to traumatic brain injuries (TBI), individuals experience different levels of severity and disability that result from the injury. (more…)

If you are looking for a way to gain education on the communication between people and dogs, understand dog behaviors and how to train your dog, check out Good Dogs! podcasts. (more…)

By Linda Jo Thornberg Owner, Higher Images

On December 7, 2022, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, I had the pleasure of attending one of the most amazing events that I have ever attended, hosted by Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs. (more…)

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is proud to announce that they were presented with the Friend and Patriot of the Year Award, presented by the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum Trust. This award was given to our organization to recognize our long-term support of veterans. (more…)

From November 14th through the 20th, we are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week! At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, our apprentices learn to play a vital role with our organization by helping to train our amazing service dogs to assist disabled recipients. (more…)

Potty training typically starts when the dog is a puppy, but many of these tips can be applied to adult dogs as well. When it comes to puppies, what they put in their mouth comes out the other way quickly, so they need to be taken out often. (more…)

At Guardian Angels, we teach the dog to walk nicely on the leash by first teaching them to be attentive to us. There is no collar or leash involved in the beginning. We use a yummy soft treat to reward them for their good behavior. It’s important to avoid crunchy treats because they take too long for the dog to chew, and by the time they finish them, they’ve forgotten what they were being rewarded for. (more…)

Person receiving service dog

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