Brothers and Sisters Team
"My name is Richard "Rick" Bulcak. I retired from the US Army in 2012 after 28 years of service, as both Military Police and Military Intelligence. I started with Brothers and Sisters in Arms in 2014 after my wife was turned down for assistance by Wounded Warriors due to her not being a Post Gulf War Vet. The organization not only assisted my wife but also kept her in my life. I have worked with the organization training dogs ever since, my way of paying it forward as it were. I have assisted in the training of many dogs that have become Service Dogs for Veterans, Active Duty members or Family members of Veteran.
AKC CGC Evaluator
Vice President/Executive Director
Jamie has been actively training dogs since a very young age. As her family would say: "If you are looking for Jamie, just find the dogs." Phil Ruddock approached Robbie Whittaker about starting Brothers and Sisters in Arms for our Veterans, Robbie in turn asked Jamie for her help. She has studied under multiple trainers over the years, specializing in AKC Star Puppy, Canine Good Citizen, Basic Obedience, Advance Obedience, Reintegration training to specialty skills, and task performance with a positive spin on it all for our Service dogs. She is member of the APDT and is finishing up her CCPDT and NADOI training.
AKC CGC Evaluator
Treasurer and Event Coordinator
Karol is a Veteran of the United States Air Force during the Vietnam Era. She was introduced to the program 4 years ago, after retiring from Civil Service Office for the US Army after 38 years of continued service. Karol approached the program in need of service dog. She then met Koda, her medical alert dog. The Dawley Team has since then graduated and she become active in helping the organization gain donations and coordinating all the events for the organization. She is the lady with the Plan!
Program Director/Lead Dog Trainer
Deb has been active in dogs and training all her life. In 1986 when she was stationed in Kansas with her husband she became interested in competitive Obedience and Herding. She apprenticed under a NADOI instructor. She has worked in obedience, conformation, herding, therapy and service dogs. She showed Papillon dogs from 1992 until 2011. She has served on committees as well as on the Board of the Papillon Club of America. In 2008 she began working with the Russian Toy. She is currently President of the Russian Toy Club of America.
Deb began training both individual and group obedience classes in 1989. She has also worked with local rescues in Louisiana, at one time running foster care and the hot line for the local humane society which covered two parishes (counties) as well has worked rescue with breed clubs.
AKC CGC Evaluator
NADOI Certified Trainer #1134
Amara is the daughter of a Veteran and grew up training dogs. She began showing dogs at the age of five and has worked with and is knowledgeable with many different breeds.
Dog Coordinator/Dog Trainer
After 18 1/2 years of faithful Active Duty Service serving in heavy combat zones. SFC Ice retired to join the ranks of the civilians. During his service for the United States Army, he was in need of a service dog Ziva, who was a retired K9 donated to the program for a veteran. Ziva has since retired since his journey with us begun, she replaced by Hank, his active working service dog. Ice has had an extensive carrier working with dogs all of his life. He decided to give back to his fellow veterans and military brothers and sisters. He is now our Dog Coordinator, Fostering all dogs for the programs including all transports that is needed. Ice's continuous love of dogs and his fellow brothers and sisters keeps him going and giving back.
Auxiliary Program Director/Dog Trainer
Audrey has been showing and training dogs since the mid 70's. She has bred and trained many Champions and Grand Champions. She put her first obedience titles on dogs in the late 70's.
AKC CGC Evaluator
Kellie had a fulfilling military career before leaving. She has been through the program herself and her service dog, Riddick, is always by her side. She brings a full understanding of the needs of Veterans to the Program.
Head Dog Trainers in other areas:
Head Dog Trainer--Lafayette
Rylan has had an extensive 19 year military career to date. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with Valor for combat operations in Afghanistan and was subsequently reassigned to administrative duties due to injuries. He continues to serve and has transitioned to National Guard service. He has held civilian jobs in law enforcement at both federal and local levels. It is under this umbrella where he gained K9 handler and training experience. As a security contractor he was employed as a dual purpose explosives K9 handler and was certified through United States Police Canine Association. He has also gained experience training dogs for search and rescue operations. While no longer employed with the government agency, dog training has become a hobby for Rylan. He enjoys helping Veterans and his law enforcement brothers and sisters every chance that he gets and exudes passion for this work. Rylan is also a volunteer Chaplain with his local Church and has started a nonprofit to assist fellow veterans.
Co-Founders and Past Board Members
Robbie H. Whittaker was a proud graduate and loyal fan of Louisiana State University, where she earned her Master's Degree in Speech and Language Pathology in 1982. She worked for the East Baton Rouge School Board for 11 years, until she decided to pursue her dream of owning her own business and living on Toledo Bend Lake. She moved to Florine, La in 1993 and began her life's work of servicing the military community of Fort Polk for over 20 years as the founder and operator of Speech and Language Consulting Services, Inc. in Leesville. Robbie's favorite color was purple. Robbie had a passion for helping children, active service men and women, and our country's veterans. She loved animals and began using her own dogs as therapy in her practice when she recognized what a positive experience the dogs made for her clients. The dogs and her veteran clients is what eventually lead her to being a founding board member for Brothers and Sisters in Arms Dog Training, Inc., a nonprofit that strives to improve the quality of life for active duty soldiers, military veterans, and their special needs dependents.
"For those of you that doubt the effects a Service Dog can have on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), let me tell you my story. I am a Desert Storm Veteran, what I did there is the demons I must face. I came back with all the classic symptoms, I drank all the time, I couldn't get along with anyone, I kept checking every room in the house to make sure it was clear every time I came home., I got up and checked the locks on the doors and windows too many times to count, I was always depressed and pissed at the world, and I never slept. I drove my family so crazy that they wanted to leave. I still do some of those things, but it's getting better. After the military, I worked for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center until about 2006 when my PTSD became so bad, I had a nervous breakdown. For the next three years I basically stayed on my couch. Seldom leaving my land except for a trip to town once or twice a month. This became my standard until a nice person named Brenda Wagner asked me to foster some dogs for her. There was one pit bull that was a lot like I was. Scared, avoided people, wanted to hide under a rock, and always on guard. I worked with this dog named Mia, and we became attached. She would ride with me where ever I went. I started to feel I had someone to watch my back again. That is one of the main things that is wrong when we come back, we go from knowing we have a whole group of soldiers watching our back to coming home and being alone. Mia became my "battle buddy" she would wake me up when I had nightmares, calm me down when I had an anxiety attack, watch my back at the counter at a store or the bank, even assure me when I had doubts. Mia was the constant in my life that PTSD took away. Everyone would leave for work or school but Mia was always there. After almost two years with Mia by my side, I can now travel some places on my own but she still comes with me on trips out of town. You can read all of the medical research for and against service dogs for PTSD, I am living proof that service Dogs work and they are necessary."~~Phil 2012
OUR ORGANIZATION RUNS ON THE GENEROSITY OF PEOPLE JUST LIKE YOU!!