I have had service dogs since I was 11 years old. The most important thing they have done for me is provide their unwavering love and support. I was so pleased to hear that Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) started a new program to provide assistance dogs as companions to disabled veterans in the US.

My friend Dan Keplinger invited me to display in a Hero Exhibition. When I thought about who my heroes were I thought of these veterans who had become disabled and decided to paint this series.

Each of these 4 works shows a very typical scene. A service dog is waiting to be called on to assist their person. Isn’t that what our servicemen are doing when they enlist to protect our country? Waiting to serve. This is why I call this series One Team, Two Heroes. I am so glad that these veterans get to have this bond and support.

These service dogs don’t care about disability, a wheelchair, or a prosthetic leg. They care about connecting with their person. That connection was what I wanted to share with people. Below you see the progression as I worked on each piece. You can click to enlarge and see more detail. —- Donald Ryker




  • Acrylic on Canvas 24x18x1"
  • Available for sale