About Us

Aisa New

Patriot K9’s 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!

Patriot K9s is a local, 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Central Wisconsin-Wausau area. We provide services to veterans throughout Wisconsin and the surrounding area, however we have no geographical boundaries.

Our training is led by a group of highly educated and 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Catie
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.

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Terese - Paws 4 Patriots Training Manager

Terese is our Paws 4 Patriots Training Manager at Redgranite State Correctional Institution. Her role is to supervise the training program there as well as facilitate veterinary care of the puppies raised at RGCI.

She is a retired professor from the biology department at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She served for many years as the faculty advisor of the UWSP Veterans Club.

Terese has been training dogs for more than 25 years and has titled dogs in UKC agility and AKC obedience. She is on her fourth therapy dog registered with Therapy Dogs International, Inc. She teaches therapy dog preparation classes and is a TDI evaluator and AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. She has experience as a puppy raiser for Paws with a Cause, and was a volunteer for many years for Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin. She is active in search and rescue and is a member of Wisconsin K9 SOS with two of her three dogs, one of which is certified for live-find and the other certified for human remains detection.

Terese refers to herself as a member of “team floppy ear,” having raised and owned predominantly retriever breeds. She is currently owned by two Golden Retrievers, and a Flat-coated Retriever, plus one cat.

She comes from a military background, with two siblings who are career military. She is the proud wife of a combat Vietnam veteran who served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division as a UH-I crew chief and door gunner.

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Sarah- Trainer/Veteran Coordinator

Sarah is a Trainer and Veteran Coordinator at Patriot K9s of Wisconsin. She joined the organization in December of 2023 and works closely with both the training staff and the veteran liaison to assist with various aspects of the program.

Before joining Patriot K9s, Sarah worked as an Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter for several years. However, she decided to pursue her passion for animals and became a professional dog groomer and trainer.

Sarah’s interest in working with veterans stems from her husband’s experiences. She has witnessed firsthand the daily struggles that veterans face and the significant impact a service dog can have on their lives.

Sarah has worked with numerous breeds and temperaments throughout her life and currently shares her home with a black Lab and a handful of children.

Seandumais
Sean - Trainer

Sean served in the US navy as a Rescue Swimmer and then reclassed to Corpsman.

He received his first German Shepherd the day he was born and has been working with dogs ever since. Sean is a Master Dog Trainer through both Jim Fonseca Working Dogs in California and Top Tier K9 in Florida. He holds a degree in animal behavior and is the co-founder and Director of Training for Crossroads K9 rescue as well as the Owner and Lead Trainer of Central Wisconsin K-9.

Currently Sean has 3 German Shepherds, 1 French Bulldog, 1 Anatolian Shepherd, 4 Dutch Shepherds, and 3 Belgian Malinois of his own. He Lives with his significant other Heather and between them they have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.

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.

Susie Headshot
Susie Arnold- Strategic Business Manager

Susie is a Sales & Marketing Executive with over 20 years of diverse industry experience. Driven by a desire to work for a company that makes a difference in the world, she joined the team at PK9’s as the Strategic Business Manager in December of 2023. She works collaboratively with the Executive Director, Board of Directors, fellow staff members, and volunteers helping to strategically direct the organization to accomplish its mission.

Susie’s education includes an associate degree in marketing, a bachelor’s in business, and a master’s in biotechnology from U.W. Madison. She formerly served as an AmeriCorps Member running a youth center in a rural community. Her work history includes both corporate and nonprofit experience, as well as entrepreneurial ventures. She is grateful to have a career focused on serving our Veterans.

Contact Us

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