Sgt Brandon Tennery and a Dog Named Jack

By Faye Higbee

Sometimes the scars of war aren’t visible to the naked eye. Sgt Brandon Tennery suffered a seizure at around 11 p.m. on the 2nd day of Warrior Weekend, the Redneck Olympics back in July. It was that incident which moved the Tiegen Foundation (Beyond the Battlefield) to purchase a Service Dog for him.  They saw that he needed a helping hand… er… a helping paw.

After Brandon was released from the hospital at between 2-3 a.m. the next day, he felt bad because he “inconvenienced” the veterans at the event. He didn’t. That’s what brothers and sisters do for each other…help when trouble strikes.

A massive TBI- Traumatic Brain Injury in Afghanistan- left him with seizures, forgetfulness, and often disorientation. He already has a dog buddy named Beau, but this was to be a specially trained animal.

Brandon met Jack on July 27  at their first meeting in Wyoming. The hope is that the dog will be able to remind Brandon to take his medication, alert to the seizures, and assist him in many ways. They will bond and work together on basic training until September, then will transition to Dallas, Texas for 2-4 months for the specialized training. The specialized training has been donated by the trainer.

A big shout out to first Beyond the Battlefield, for obtaining the dog, then to Wes Magnus  at Trieven Sungold Kennel in Wyoming for beginning the training process.  Another shout out to Justin Rie, the Mutt 22 Dog Trainer,  out of Dallas, Texas, who has donated the specialized training phase.


Jack with his new charge.

Sgt Tennery’s biography reads, in part:

“Brandon went to Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Upon his graduation, he was assigned to Colorado Springs with the 2/77th Field Artillery Battalion 4th Infantry Division 4th Brigade Combat Team.

In March 2009 Tennery received orders for his first combat tour to Eastern Afghanistan. After he received mild injuries on the first tour, Brandon and his unit returned to Colorado in June 2010. Tennery was promoted to Sergeant on his 21st birthday in December 2010. Orders came down to report to Fort Bliss, Texas in El Paso in May 2011.

Receiving his new unit, 3rd brigade 1st Armored Division 4th battalion Field Artillery Regiment, Sgt. Tennery was told to prepare to deploy. Orders followed in September of 2011 to return for his second combat tour in Afghanistan; he was now in a leadership position and ready to exceed expectations.

After several months, Brandon deployed to a small Combat Outpost in the mountains where they were attacked almost daily. Then the day of April 11, 2012 happened. The unit was taking small arms fire from all directions at about 11:00 am. Sgt. Tennery ran to the top of a hill to get the high ground. Following soon after him were his comrades, however, they were a little late. When his men found Brandon, he was unconscious and having multiple seizures. He had been thrown and slightly burned from two RPG blasts and a 107 rocket.

As a result, Tennery suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury, slight loss of vision and hearing, balance problems and close to 20 internal injuries. Tennery’s fellow soldiers and the medic did an amazing job getting him strapped to a litter and off the hill while still under fire. He was medivacked (sic) from the field and initially sent to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Shank, Afghanistan where his blood pressure rose to 261/158. At this point he was intubated before being transported to Bagram Air Field and onto Germany for a week.

Finally Brandon was transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. There he continued his rehab, got off the cane he was using and was reassigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.”  

Brandon participated in Adaptive Sports, winning medals and ribbons while he was with the Warrior Transition Unit. He also partipated in the Army’s Purple Heart Baseball team. He now plays sports with the nonprofit “Heroes Sports” and plans to go back to college and learn how to make documentary films.

We pray the very best future for this warrior. And may Jack provide every bit of assistance that special canines can provide!