With a heavy heart, the SD Gunner Fund, alongside the Kinard Family, announces the loss of their cherished namesake service dog, SD Gunner, who valiantly succumbed to cancer after a brave struggle that also led to the loss of his hindlimb mobility. Gunner, an exceptional Great Pyrenees, served as a loyal companion to U.S. Army veteran Sgt. Hamilton Kinard and his family. His enduring legacy, deeply imprinted on the Richmond Hill / Savannah community and beyond, will be remembered fondly by all who knew him.
Gunner, an extraordinary service dog, exemplified the SD Gunner Fund’s mission. A tireless advocate for veterans, first responders, and special needs children, he became an inspirational beacon. As a Great Pyrenees, Gunner broke stereotypes, proving that any dog, with proper training, could excel as a service animal.
Gunner’s achievements were groundbreaking. In 2013, he became the first mobility service animal approved by the VA for traumatic brain injury in the Southeast Coastal region. He later played a crucial role in recognizing International Assistance Dog Week in Richmond Hill. In 2018, he made history, receiving the AKC’s ACE Award for Canine Excellence – Military Service Dog, and the Great Pyrenees Club of America’s Service Dog of the Year Award. His contributions earned him two Presidential Medals and numerous other recognitions.
In 2021, Gunner was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma. Undeterred, his owners, Hamilton and Britnee Kinard, sought alternatives for his treatment. This led to a pioneering amputation procedure carried out by Dr. Jeremy Faris at Port City Animal Hospital. Gunner’s recovery journey, which included receiving a custom prosthetic on the TV show, Wizard of Paws, inspired people nationwide.
Gunner’s legacy will continue to drive the SD Gunner Fund, reminding us of the critical role service animals play in our lives, offering physical assistance and emotional companionship. Gunner’s life stands as a testament to love, courage, and resilience.
We extend our deepest gratitude to the Savannah / Richmond Hill community and everyone nationwide who rallied behind Gunner, embodying the spirit of unity and support that Gunner himself personified so admirably. In his memory, we pledge to continue serving and supporting those in need, one service animal at a time.
A special note of thanks goes to Fox and Weeks Funeral Home’s Pets at Peace program, Allison Ragsdale, TruPanion, and Dr. Farris along with the entire team at Port City Animal Hospital for their invaluable contributions during Gunner’s journey.
For more information about the SD Gunner Fund and ways to support our mission, please visit www.sdgunner.org.
About SD Gunner Fund
SD Gunner Fund is a local 501(c)3 registered non-profit with a mission to provide a world-class service dog training and advocacy program to support military families, first responders, and children with disabilities. To learn more, visit www.sdgunner.org