Meet the 2023 USO Canine Volunteer of the Year Nominees

For many USO Centers around the world, there are furry forces of goodwill at work. Dedicating their talents to the USO’s mission of strengthening the well-being of the people serving in America’s military and their families, who may need a four-legged friend to rely on during challenging times, these certified therapy dogs provide emotional support and a morale boost to the military community.

The USO is honored to recognize just a few of these incredible USO Volunteers by announcing the candidates for the 2023 USO Canine Volunteer of the Year.

Bozeman | USO Okinawa, Japan

From serving the military community at USO Okinawa to service members at Camp Courtney, Bozeman helps provide a morale boost for everyone in his path. | Photo credit USO Photo

Whenever Bozeman walks through the doors of USO Okinawa, Japan, service members are struck by an instant feeling of delight and comfort as they interact with him. When he’s not playing fetch, watching tv, or snuggling with military families in Okinawa, he’s making the journey to service members living 30 minutes away at the Camp Courtney barracks, which has no USO Center. Bozeman brings smiles to the faces of these service members who are unable to visit a USO Center and rely on its resources. During these visits, Bozeman provides a much-needed morale boost and service members often share that they count down the days until his next visit.

Birthdate: December 6, 2019

Breed: Golden Retriever

Favorite Activities: Bozeman loves swimming in the Pacific Ocean, meeting new people while enjoying a walk with mom and dad, as well as going on car rides — the longer, the better!

Best Tricks: Bozeman knows how to “give hugs” and can even tell you secrets when prompted with the “tell me a secret!” command.

Fun Facts: When Bozeman gets excited, he “happy sneezes!” He also always greets his human with a toy in his mouth and has traveled to sixteen different U.S. states.

Penny | USO Warrior Center, Germany

Penny has become a fixture at the USO Warrior Center in Landstuhl. Where wounded, ill and injured service members are recovering at the nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. | Photo credit USO Photo

When Penny’s paws pace the halls of the USO Warrior Center in Landstuhl, Germany, you can find her preparing to bring comfort and joy to wounded, ill and injured to service members recovering at the nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Penny makes weekly visits to the hospital, which is the largest American hospital outside of the United States, bringing love to countless in-patient and out-patient service members.

At the nearby Combat Casualty Clinics outreach program where service members are undergoing various treatments, she has offered support and encouragement from one specialty to another. Penny’s unparalleled ability to alleviate the stress of those around her has made her a cherished volunteer and a true star at this USO Warrior Center.

Birthdate: December 15, 2015

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Favorite Activities: Engaging in therapy work, embarking on adventures and travels with her family, enjoying cuddle time, savoring delicious snacks and eating!

Favorite Treats: Bacon and green beans

Fun Facts: Penny is from Hawaii. She really likes squeaky toys and enjoys making them squeak. Also, she loves taking the kitchen towels and sleeping with them! Penny even provides support to local military youth soccer teams by showing up as the team mascot.

Ranger | USO Delaware

For the military community at Dover AFB, Ranger’s prescence helps these service members who may be working long and somber workdays. | Photo credit USO Photo

Ranger, a beloved canine of USO Delaware, has become integral to the military communities at Dover Air Force Base (AFB) and U.S. Coast Guard Station Indian River, making numerous visits to various squadrons and units over the past year. Beyond base visits, Ranger attends family and holiday events throughout the year, bringing joy to military children and offering comfort to those coping with deployments or loss. His most impactful visits have been at Dover AFB, where he comforts service members who are responsible for bringing home our fallen service members.

The impact of Ranger’s presence truly makes a difference at the USO and gives service members invaluable time to decompress throughout what may be a difficult and somber workday. A recent guest said, “Ranger truly makes all of us incredibly happy, makes the environment so much more relaxed too. He’s one of the best boys ever!”

Birthdate: June 28, 2020

Breed: Golden Retriever

Favorite Activities: Fetching his ball, playing frisbee and swimming.

Favorite Treats: Cantaloupe and dog bones

Fun Facts: Ranger likes to walk himself with his leash, is very talkative and loves car rides.

Apache | USO Missouri

For the military community of USO Missouri, Apache has not only put smiles on the faces of military members who utilize the USO, but also at the local school system, where he lifts the spirits of military children. | Photo credit USO Photo

Apache is a gentle giant amongst our service members and their families. Apache spends his time working within the USO Center on Fort Leonard Wood, where he helps put smiles on the faces of countless of military members who utilize the USO. Through the USO, Apache plays a key role within the local school system by visiting and helping lift the spirits of our military children of all ages, from listening to students as they work on their reading skills, to working with youth within the on-base middle school and high school to help bring awareness to their mental health needs. Apache plays a key part in the wellness of our service members and their families, being their rock to lean on when times are tough.

Birthdate: January 18, 2020

Breed: Great Dane

Favorite Treats: Chicken tenders and cheese sticks.

Best Tricks: Looking handsome and giving high-fives.

Fun Facts: Although Apache weighs in at 240.5 pounds, he thinks he is a 5-pound lap dog!

You can vote for the 2023 Canine Volunteer of the Year here!

Voting closed on March 8 at 11:59 p.m. ET

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Every day, America’s service members selflessly put their lives on the line to keep us safe and free. Please take a moment to let our troops know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.


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