About Us

About Us Patriot K9s Of Wisconsin Wausau, Wi

Patriot K9s treats every veteran/dog team as part of our large family. Proudly, we are what you would call “dog people”- we know dogs and we love our Vets!  Unlike other facilities, our training is led by highly experienced trainers that have years of experience and are committed to the betterment of their communities, its members and growth!

All our trainers have the education, dedication, and passion to provide top-level service dog training using the most current, scientifically proven, positive reinforcement training methods available. Patriot K9s provides services to veterans throughout Wisconsin and the surrounding area.

The staff at Patriot K9s of Wisconsin are a group of highly educated and experienced trainers living in Central Wisconsin.

We are proud to say that Patriot K9s is a local, 501(c)(3) nonprofit based right here in Central Wisconsin-Wausau area.

Team Members

Lani And Timber Trial
Lani Rethaber- Executive Director

Lani is the Executive Director of Patriot K9’s and has been with the organization since 2019.  He originally got involved in the program as a volunteer while working as the Operations Manager at a local trucking company.

Lani served his country as part of the United States Marine Corps and Wisconsin Army National Guard.  He joined the Marines at the age of 17.  Lani was too young to pursue his dream of becoming a K9 handler, so he instead trained to become an auto mechanic.  He worked on vehicles at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and at Naval Air Station Dallas, Texas.  Never satisfied, Lani took on several other duties during his time, including helping with humanitarian efforts for Haiti.

After getting out of the Marines, Lani came back to Wisconsin and began a trucking career that spanned 15 years and allowed him to see much of the country.

Lani has owned and trained dogs since he could walk.  He’s owned and trained Dobermans, German Wirehaired Pointers, Huskies, three wolf hybrids and Beagles, but has a soft spot for German Shepherds, of which he has four.  He has two titled dogs and is currently raising a puppy he hopes will take him to regional and national competitions.

Lani is the father to three daughters, one of which also served in the United States Marine Corps.

If you’d like to get in touch with Lani, you can email him at Lani.Rethaber@PatriotK9s.org.

Arnold Viljevac And Creek
Arnold (Vic) - Veteran Liaison

Arnold is the Veterans Liaison of Patriot K9s. He has just started with the organization. He has been with the program since 2020 when he entered to train his service dog, Creek.

Arnold served his country for 30 years from 1990 -2020, in the United States Army and the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He started as a Combat Engineer (12B), forced over to Infantry (11B), then finished off his career as Field Artillery (13B). After being separated from the military for medical reasons, he was able to find purpose and healing in Creek.

Arnold has been around and owned dogs from an early age. He has owned St. Bernards, Boxer, Husky/Wolf mix, Italian (Segugio Italiano / Cirneco dell’ Etna (Both hound) mix) and German Shepherds.

Arnold lives with his wife, has one daughter and three grandkids.

Catie - Program Training Manager

A graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences, Catie brings more than 30 years’ experience as a veterinary assistant and over 50 years of handling dogs to her job at Patriot K9s of Wisconsin.

She has titled dogs in both AKC obedience and Schutzhund BH, and trained with a non-profit service dog group in OK before moving to WI in 2020. She is an AKC CGC evaluator and certified in canine first aid and CPR.

Raised with collies, Catie also counts corgis, German Shepherds, and Belgian Tervurens among the breeds she’s owned and trained. Currently, she has one GSD, a Belgian Tervuren which is retired from the police force (ask her about the travails of taking a retired drug dog into a store . . ..) and a young Belgian Tervuren she is training as her own service dog.

Charlotte Website Picture
Charlotte - Veteran Coordinator/Office Manager

Charlotte is the Office Manager at Patriot K9’s. She started volunteering with the organization when she would come home on leave from the United States Marine Corps. Charlotte just got out of the Marine Corps in January of 2022 and was hired in February.

Charlotte was a Military Police officer during her time in the Marine Corps. She did things a normal civilian police officer would do, just on Marine Corps Instillations. She was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. Yuma being know as “The Sunniest Place on Earth”. One can only imagine how she feels about Wisconsin Winter.

With growing up in a household full of dogs ranging from a cute little beagle with a temper to handsome German Shepherds. She knows that the presence of a dog can make any one’s day brighter.

Shawna - Trainer

Shawna is a dog trainer at Patriot K9s and started her time here as a volunteer. Before coming to Patriot K9s Shawna ran her own dog grooming business where she also offered dog training and pulse electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) to her clients.

She has titled her personal dogs in AKC obedience, has two registered therapy dogs through Therapy Dogs International, and has volunteered her time to two separate non-profit organizations to share her training skills. She is an AKC CGC evaluator, certified professional pet groomer, certified PEMF therapist, and is certified in pet CPR.

As a life-long animal enthusiast Shawna was raised with Labs that her family used for hunting purposes. Her passion for dogs has followed her into adulthood and she is now the proud owner of a “hodge podge” of different dog breeds.

Contact Us

Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday - Sunday: Closed