Connecting Dogs
and People…

One Disability

at aTime…

Our long-term goal here at Saber Life Foundation is to be able to not only help those in our home state of Missouri, but to expand our mission and organization nationwide! The “No-One left behind Concept” allows us to touch the lives of so many people with our story and other members of our organization and their testimonies, but to keep creating more and more positive life changing stories to share as we branch out over the nation.

Saber Life Foundation is helping to provide a “Service Dog” to approved and accepted individuals with the Saber Life Foundation Project. In general Service Dogs training costs a MINIMUM of $18,500.

Saber Life Foundation is helping to provide to all that are accepted into the Saber Life Foundation Project a trained Service Dog for a fraction of the cost. 

With everything we have learned in past and present from our own personal experiences, one fact has become clear above all else — The bond is all that matters. From that bond comes the willingness to work for success (though it feels like play) and the ability to handle any difficulties that might arise.

Who we are

Key Family

We are Joel & Danea Key from Pineville, Missouri, and the founders of SaberLife Foundation. We want you to understand our journey of our daughter Gracie.

When Gracie was born, she experienced severe jaundice requiring an additional 9 days in the hospital. Once home, we noticed some differences between Gracie and other infants. She would scream at bath time, and she didn’t want to be held. We soon learned that Gracie was showing signs of having hyper-sensory issues.

 

An occupational therapist at her daycare noted that Gracie was not developmentally on target for her age. By 10 months, Gracie was falling behind in so many milestones like, sitting up, crawling, feeding herself, etc.  As Gracie got older, we noticed she struggled with her fine motor skills.  As a parent, it was hard watching her emotionally disconnected with family and friends. She wanted so much to be independent and do things for herself, however she was unable.

Gracie, Joel, Danea & Saber Key

Gracie was eventually diagnosed with Essential Tremors. We were relieved to finally have a diagnosis. Finding the right medical team allowed us to focus on Gracie’s emotional, mental and physical well-being. In addition to Essential Tremors, Gracie has now been diagnosed with Autism, PTSD, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder with tendencies. Essential Tremors displays itself through Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Restless Leg Syndrome, as well as Insomnia.

While she was being properly diagnosed, we got our second miracle. Gracie’s science teacher decided to bring her son’s service dog to school for a visit. She noticed immediately the connection between Gracie and the service dog. Her teacher wanted to gift a puppy to become Gracie’s service dog.

In January 2018 Gracie had exhausted all medication that would help with her tremors. The only option remaining was brain surgery. The doctors had to implant a device called a Deep Brain Stimulator or (DBS). The surgery took 7 long hours. Gracie came out strong and was ready to go home within 48 hours. Over the next few weeks Gracie began to heal, we noticed significant changes in her speech and demeanor. I couldn’t remember the last time I had heard my little girl laugh. She had been so deep in depression and self-isolation. She had cut out the world. Amazingly, now our girl couldn’t get enough hugs and kisses from her family! Clearly our next miracle!!

After 2 years of waiting, Gracie was finally going to get her German Shepherd puppy. Saber would start his training and be her LIFE-SABER! Saber’s service dog training had to be extremely thorough to be the partner that Gracie needed.

Service dogs and their training is extremely expensive. We fundraised for 8 months at local events and farmers markets and had our final benefit fundraiser at the local elementary school where Gracie previously attended.

We raised enough funds to not only pay the remaining balance owed for Saber’s training, but also to start a nonprofit organization.

In March 2020, we started The SaberLife Foundation as our way to pay it forward. We didn’t understand the need for service dogs in our community until we started our journey. Our organization’s goal is to help individuals with disabilities in the tri-state area (AR, OK, MO) and to educate the public about the importance of service dogs.

Gracie helped to train Saber for over a year, and they had a very close bond. Over time, our family realized that Saber couldn’t be what Gracie needed. He was rehomed to become a police K9 partner. That is when Amos came into our lives. He is a chocolate Labrador Retriever who was already trained as a service dog and needed a special person. With the support of Amos, Gracie has gained newfound confidence that grows every day.

With everything we have learned, one fact is clear—the bond is all that matters.  From that bond comes the willingness to work for success and the ability to handle any difficulties that might arise.

Saber Life Foundation was created to help our daughter, through this process Gracie bonded with her life changing hero. Amos became a vital part of our family and is essential to helping Gracie become an independent and successful young lady. The support she receives from her 4-legged companion has allowed her to break out of her shell and become a vibrant and confident 16-year-old.Over a few short months they had encountered several people who needed a service dog, knew of someone who needed a service dog. They then decided once their daughters service dog training was paid in full, they would look into starting up a non-profit organization to help others in need. We simply just wanted to pay it forward!

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our family and non-profit organization!

Joel & Danea Key

Gracie Key
Founders of Saber Life Foundation

Should you get a Service Dog?

Thank you for your interest in a Saber Life Foundation service dog. Before proceeding with the application process, please read about the five types of dogs trained by Saber Life Foundations Professional Trainer with On Command K9 Academy and the Assistance Dog FAQs.
In order to be considered for an assistance dog, and to determine whether the Saber Life Foundation program is right for you, we need to get to know each other better. Saber Life Foundation has a basic pre-requalifying process for individuals who may be interested in our program. Please review these questions, which are designed to help you determine whether or not to apply.

• Can you demonstrate that you would benefit from the tasks Saber Life Foundations service dogs are trained to perform?
• Do you have the means and resources to manage and care for a dog? This includes feeding, grooming, exercising the dog and regular visits to a veterinarian.
• Do you believe you can be an effective leader for a dog?
• Are those who live with you willing to support your relationship with an assistance dog and comply with basic guidelines established by Saber Life Foundation?
• Once receiving the dog, are you willing to stay engaged with Saber Life Foundation and provide periodic updates?
• Bringing a Saber Life Foundation service dog into your life is a major lifestyle change and commitment. Do you believe you are ready for this change and

Should you get a Service Dog?

Our Dogs

Saber Life Foundations’ dogs can be trained to perform a variety of tasks, and we place our dogs in teams that will utilize their training and celebrate their spirits. Scroll down the page to learn more about the different types of assistance dogs we train.

MOBILITY/STABILITY DOGS

Imagine having a dog that could turn on lights, pick up dropped keys and open a door. Saber Life Foundation service dogs are partnered with adults with physical disabilities to assist with daily tasks and increase independence by reducing reliance on other people. A service dog can pull their partner in a manual wheelchair, push buttons for elevators or automatic door, and even assist with business transactions by transferring money, and packages.

AUTISM DOGS

Our Autism dogs companion dogs are trained to work with an adult or child with a disability under the guidance of a facilitator. A facilitator is typically a parent, spouse or caregiver who handles and cares for the service dog, encourages a strong bond between the recipient and the skilled companion dog, and is responsible for the customized training needs of the dog.

DIABETIC DOGS

Our diabetic dogs are trained to monitor smells in the air for a specific scent on the human breath that is related to rapidly dropping sugar levels. They are then trained to “alert” the person with diabetes, usually by touching them in a significant way such as pawing or nudging them.

VETERAN SERVICE DOGS

Saber Life Foundation recognizes the urgent and growing need for programs that provide support to veterans with disabilities. Many of the brave men and woman returning home from combat with disabling injuries experience a litany of new challenges. These dogs are trained in tasks including anxiety and nightmare interruption, turning on lights, retrieving items, and supporting their handler in a crowd situation that might provoke anxiety for individuals with PTSD.

SEIZURE RESPONSE DOGS

Our seizure response dogs are trained to alert another individual to prepare a safe environment for the individual that is having an epileptic seizure.

Psychiatric Assistance Dogs

Psychiatric service dogs care trained specially trained to work with people who have certain mental illnesses or learning disabilities. These dogs can help their owners perform tasks they otherwise might not be able to do or help them to live a more independent life.

Videos

Resources

GRADUATE TEAMS

See some helpful laws, legislation and advocacy groups for Service Dog teams.

EDUCATION FOR THE COMMUNITY

Learn about disability etiquette, fraudulent service dogs and more.

PUBLIC ACCESS

Find legislation related to public access, housing and more here.

Saber Life Foundation Logo

Saber Life Foundation
729 Laughlin Ridge Rd.
Pineville, Mo 64856
saberlifefoundation@gmail.com

Please fill out all required fields. Once submitted, the form will then be sent directly to Saber Life Foundation email to review.

Saber Life Foundation Logo

OUR VISION:

Saber Life Foundation envisions a world where people with disabilities can realize their full potential one service dog at a time.

 

OUR MISSION:

Our long-term goal here at Saber Life Foundation is to be able to not only help those in our home state of Missouri, but to expand our mission and organization nationwide! The “No-One left behind Concept” allows us to touch the lives of so many people with our story and other members of our organization and their testimonies, but to keep creating more and more positive life changing stories to share as we branch out over the nation.