Mission Working Dogs: An Organization Bettering Lives In Our Community

Not all heroes wear capes, in fact, some wear leashes. This is extremely apparent to Christy Gardner, US Army Veteran, who acquired a service dog in 2010 in regard to surviving a war related injury in 2006. Moxie was her first fur baby, companion, and a service dog who took amazing care of her. After seeing the care that Moxie gave her, Christy decided to give back and deliver this to others alike–who may not be able to get a service dog on their own. Wheelers Insurance was so happy to sit down with Christy to hear all about this amazing organization and of the heart and soul she has continued to put into it to make it flourish.

Christy has been a dog trainer for over ten years as a side gig. She trained ten dogs before starting Mission Working Dogs in 2020 with four dogs and became officially certified 2 years ago. As she began, she realized she couldn’t keep up with the demand (lots of veterans are in need) and after creating an entire board of directors to help with the process and influx of canines, they now have 49 service dogs in training. 

Going forward, they have recently started a breeding program of purebred golden retrievers… the first two litters will be due around Thanksgiving. The pure bred breeds ensure they have the proper health and background to be able to serve as long as they can for their owners. There is also a 10 building campus currently being constructed in Oxford. It has to have a training facility, kennel building, and accommodations for disabled clients to stay at during the two weeks of team training while they get to know their new service dog. Not only are they continuously expanding their program, Mission Working Dogs has also included the local prison in a training program. When an inmate has shown five years of good behavior, they are then awarded privilege to help train the dogs. 

Like any other nonprofit, struggles to start an organization such as this begin with trying to retain funding. As the care for 49 service dogs can certainly be an around the clock job, Mission Working Dogs goes through a bag of food every day or so: while still needing crates, leashes, toys, bowls, etc. The list is endless, and so are the mandatory finances. This mission is running purely off of donations, fundraising, and sponsorships. 

Anyone who works closely with Mission Working Dogs knows the reward is well worth all the hard work and dedication. They have had countless veterans say that if it wasn’t for the gift of these trained service dogs, that they would not be here. A lot of veterans suffer from PTSD as statistics across the country show the loss of 20-22 lives a day of those who have served. These service and therapy animals truly continue to save the lives of countless veterans. 

Short-terms goals for this nonprofit is to get this campus built and running. A long-term goal is to be Assistance Dog Internationally (ADI) credited; they are worldwide governing for service dogs. To best help this organization reach these goals and thrive, you can volunteer with the dogs or help by donation. Below are links to wish lists for the organization’s needs. 

Mission Working Dogs Website:


Amazon Wishlist:


Chewy Wishlist: