Now Accepting Applications for PTSD Service Dogs. Contact us for Details.

Founder & CEO: Sherry Burger

Passion with a PURPOSE



Sherry Spent 18 years working with traumatized and abused children. In addition, she ran a successful business raising and training German Shepherds with her husband. In 2011 because of her expertise and knowledge of dogs Sherry was asked to join “Rosie’s Team”. This Team which consisted of a Clinical Psychologist and a Social Worker was formed to help prepare a 15-year-old girl to testify in court against the man who had sexually abused her for many years. Rosie was a retired Service Dog who was placed with Sherry to be trained for this task. The child could testify with Rosie by her side resulting in a 25-year sentence for her perpetrator.

This experience was what prompted Sherry to pursue another career path and ultimately led to formation of Takoda Service Dogs.

Sherry has over 20 years’ experience training and working dogs in various capacities. She has helped Pet owners resolve behavior problems and has rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of dogs who would otherwise have been euthanized for their behavior problems. Sherry managed Heather’s Habitat 4 Hope, named after her daughter where she placed almost 500 homeless dogs into new homes. Several of those dogs who could not be adopted for various reasons still live with her on her 14-acre farm. 

  • In 2009 Sherry completed 240 hours of instruction with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department K9 Training Academy and met all the qualifications to graduate with K9 Grace as an Explosive Detection K9.
  • In March of 2012 Sherry received a Police Bomb dog certification with K9 Cilly from The Eastern Police K9 Association.
  • In June of 2012 Sherry Received a degree of Police Bomb dog II, the highest level of certification awarded in NYS with K9 Cilly from the Eastern Police K9 Association.
  • In June of 2012 Sherry successfully completed the Advanced Handlers Police K9 Seminar hosted by Southern Tier Police K9 Association. 
  • In August of 2013 Sherry Completed a 6 week Train the Trainer course in the education of Service Dogs and Clients. In addition Sherry completed 80 hours of Service Dog Team training and graduated with Ace who is currently working for a Children’s Home doing Therapy work. 
  • Sherry then trained Service dogs full time for the next 4 years where she completed and successfully prepared 15-20 dogs per year to be placed with clients who had physical, mental and emotional disabilities.
  • Sherry has now decided that she wants to focus her time and experience on Veterans with  PTSD. Having worked closely with this population over the last 4 years She felt that this was a very underserved group that struggles to meet the fundraising requirements necessary for them to obtain a dog. She hopes to bring a new way of doing things, by providing these dogs free of charge for every veteran who needs them. 

Our Members

Michael Burger- Fundraising Commitee Chair

 Michael has over 30 years of training experience as a Police K9 trainer and handler. He has earned certificates and honor awards in Tracking, Narcotics and Explosive Detection. Michael is also an Air Force veteran and a current VA Police employee.  

Vera Paisner- Board Member


Vera Muller-Paisner, LCSW has spent the last 20 years studying the chronicity and transmission of trauma. She is certified in EMDR, and specializes in processing cognitive emotive difficulties that cause “flashbacks”, problems at work, and interference with relationships. Her extensive experience includes treating adults, couples, and families for a variety of issues ranging from life transitions to depression, anxiety, and dissociative identity disorders.

She is a former research consultant for the International Study Group for Trauma, Violence and Genocide at Yale University School of Medicine and has organized, trained, and supervised trauma interventions in Eastern Europe.

She received her degree in Clinical Social Work from Adelphi University, and earned her Psychoanalytic and Organizational Consultation degrees from the Post Graduate Center for Mental health, in New York.

Jeff Joseph- Board President

Jeff was the President and CEO of a publicly owned real estate company until his retirement in 2011. He is also an attorney and practiced law for over 40 years. Mr. Joseph has in the past served as Board Chairman of another 501(c)(3) organization.  

Rick Gardiner- Board Treasurer

 Rick served in the US Air Force as a Security Police officer with duty assignments in Minot, North Dakota and Taegu, South Korea.  He later attended the University of Minnesota earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and accounting.  Since 1984 he has worked in health care and higher education and since 2002 has served as the Senior Associate Dean for Finance for the College of Medicine at the State University of New York, Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY where he lives with his wife Debbie and dogs Archie and Emma.  

Charlie Medici- Board Member


Executive Vice President of JDP Mechanical and 

Founder of DaHuntfortheCure. 

A Foundation that was started with my wife Diane, to help childhood cancer patients and their family's during  and after their treatment for cancer. 

Also served on the executive committee for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 

As well as an avid sportsmen. Resides in Westchester County with wife Diane.