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About Us

Who We Are

Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs to help people. Our three primary focuses are training dogs to serve the needs of veterans, children with autism and individuals living with diabetes. We breed and train chosen dogs that exhibit specific traits necessary to perform tasks to help these individuals, and we believe in matching the dog to the recipient.

Our training program isn’t designed to train each dog to follow a certain program. Instead, dogs are trained to meet the needs of their specific recipient. The dogs go through more than two years of training to meet our strict standards for a successful placement.

RFI operates out of two locations, Waverly, Iowa, and Senatobia, Mississippi, as candidate members of Assistance Dogs International.

The service dogs we train help improve the lives of the people they are placed with. Not only do they help with specific chores and perform tasks associated with their training, but they also offer companionship and unconditional love.

The mission of Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is to train service dogs for wounded Veterans, children with Autism, and Type 1 Diabetics to allow a new degree of independence in their partner's lives.

Retrieving Freedom Board of Directors

The RFI Board is comprised of individuals who work together to make sure we are serving the needs of our recipients, along with looking for ways to raise more money so we can help match more people with the service dogs they need. The current board is comprised of:

  • Clay DahlquistClay Dahlquist,
    Board Chair
  •  
  • Belinda DwyerBelinda Dwyer
  • Jimmie NeilJimmie Neal
  • Dave RoremDave Rorem
  • Conway MarvinConway Marvin
  • Greg JohnsonGreg Johnson
  • Jamey McClennyJamey McClenny
  • Scott Dewey - Co-President and Co-FounderScott Dewey
    Co-President and
    Co-Founder
  • Charles Dwyer - Co-President and Co-FounderCharles Dwyer
    Co-President and
    Co-Founder

Retrieving Freedom's Leadership Team

  • Scott Dewey - Co-President
    Scott Dewey

    Co-President

    Scott’s background is in field trial training, and as the owner of Rock River Retrievers, he trained dozens of champion dogs. Scott decided to turn his training talents toward helping to train dogs to work with disabled veterans and children with autism. Scott oversees operations at RFI’s facility in Waverly, Iowa.

  • Charles Dwyer - Co-President
    Charles Dwyer

    Co-President

    Charles’ dog training background is in hunting and obedience training. He is the previous owner of the Rice Break Retrievers. He has trained titled dogs in the highest levels in the AKC and UKC hunt test programs. Charles has found his calling of training dogs to make a difference in people’s lives. Charles manages operations at RFI’s Senatobia, Mississippi location.

  • Kyle Cory-Yaeggi

  • Training and Placement Coordinator
  • Kyle's passion for the service dog industry was fueled after he graduated from Iowa State University and moved out west. There, he worked for years training dogs for mobility assistance, children with mental and physical disabilities, as well as facility dogs. Kyle was hired by Retrieving Freedom in 2017 and works at both locations assisting in training as well as working with applicants and graduates on a national level.

  • Keegan Birkicht

  • Program Director
  • Keegan began her work with Retrieving Freedom as a college student involved with the Retrieving Freedom class on the campus of Wartburg College. After several years of interning with Retrieving Freedom at a volunteer level, Keegan was hired full-time in 2015 as the Program Director at the Iowa location.

  • Kristy Armstrong

  • Program Coordinator
  • Kristy began her work with Retrieving Freedom as a volunteer in 2011. After several years of volunteering with Retrieving Freedom, Kristy was hired part-time in 2016 as a kennel assistant. In 2017 Kristy began working full-time as Program Coordinator and Facility Assistant at the Mississippi location.

  • Chad Johnson

  • Assistant Dog Trainer
  • Chad began with Retrieving Freedom as a veteran recipient of a service dog, Bender. After receiving Bender, Chad attended Starmark Dog Training School in Hutto, Texas. He returned to Iowa as a Certified Canine Trainer and Behavior Specialist. While training dogs independently, Chad found a passion for volunteering with Retrieving Freedom, so he wanted to use the skills he learned to give back. He discontinued public lessons and is now a part-time Assistant Dog Trainer with Retrieving Freedom at the Iowa location.

  • Riley Zaunbrecher

  • Riley started working at Retrieving Freedom as a part-time employee in December 2016. He began his work as a training assistant to Charles Dwyer at the Mississippi location. Riley learned obedience training and has progressed to a higher level of training. While working part-time at Retrieving Freedom, Riley is also a full-time student at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
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