K9s For Warriors Celebrates Milestone Achievement: 1,000 Veterans Paired with Life-Saving Service Dogs

PONTE VEDRA, Fla., March 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs for Veterans with invisible wounds of war, proudly announces a significant milestone in its mission to end Veteran suicide. On Thursday, Retired Army Staff Sergeant Ryan and his Service Dog Frankie became the 1,000th Warrior/K9 team to walk across the stage at K9s For Warriors Shari Duval National Headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Fla. This achievement highlights the incredible impact Service Dogs have on the lives of our nation’s heroes and their families.

The celebration of 1,000 Warrior lives saved is a testament to the dedication and unwavering support of K9s For Warriors’ team members, past and present, volunteers, donors, and Veteran families. Through their collective efforts, the organization has made great strides in its mission set forth by K9s For Warriors founder, the late Shari Duval. Now, 1,000 Veterans from across the country have renewed hope, companionship, and independence they deserve, all at no cost to the Veteran.

Receiving a trained Service Dog at no cost was one of the significant reasons Ryan decided to apply to K9s after one of his mental health providers recommended a Service Dog to help him navigate his PTSD.

As the 1,000th Veteran to graduate from K9s, Ryan shares the impact his Service Dog Frankie is already making in his life after three short weeks together:

“Frankie will help provide me the support I need when in high anxiety situations, to be more emotionally and mentally available for my family. He has already significantly reduced my anxiety and provides me comfort and support in what used to be high anxiety situations.”

Since its inception in 2011, K9s For Warriors has remained steadfast in its commitment to saving lives at both ends of the leash. With most dogs being rescues, this innovative program allows the K9 and Warrior with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma to build an unwavering bond that facilitates their collective healing and recovery. 

28-year Navy Veteran Charlie was one of the first Warriors to get a Service Dog from K9s For Warriors back in 2011. His first dog, Slider, made a profound impact on his life. When Slider sadly passed away a few months ago, Charlie knew what he needed to do – come back to K9s for another lifeline.

“If it wasn’t for Slider, I wouldn’t be here today. He not only helped me, but he helped my family, he helped me get my life back. I recently lost Slider, and I started going downhill fast, so I contacted K9s For Warriors, and they immediately added me into the March class. I was paired with Lady Cameo this month, and we immediately hit it off – she loves to give licks and kisses, but she also seems to know when I’m starting to have a trigger. I’m excited to go home and make my relationships with family better.”

“This month marks an extraordinary milestone for K9s For Warriors as we celebrate the graduation of our 1,000th Warrior paired with a life-saving Service Dog –1,000 unique Warrior lives saved,” says K9s For Warriors Chief Program Officer Kevin Steele. “This achievement wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering dedication and support of so many – our team members, donors, partners, and incredible volunteers. Together, as we celebrate transforming the lives of 1,000 Veterans and their Service Dogs, we look to the next 1,000 ready to give them their new leash on life.”

As K9s For Warriors continues its mission to empower Veterans and provide them with life-saving Service Dogs as well as the wraparound support they need to thrive, the organization remains committed to saving even more lives in the years to come as roughly 20 Veterans die by suicide each day. K9s’ work is not done until 20 a day becomes zero a day.

About K9s For Warriors 
Determined to end Veteran suicide, K9s For Warriors is the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs to military veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma. With most dogs being rescues, this innovative program allows the K9/Warrior team to build an unwavering bond that facilitates their collective healing and recovery. This treatment method is backed by scientific research (from University of Arizona’s OHAIRE Lab) demonstrating Service Dogs’ ability to help mitigate their Veteran’s symptoms of PTSD while simultaneously restoring their confidence and independence. Founded in 2011 as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, K9s For Warriors remains committed to bringing widespread awareness to veterans’ mental health and contributing to policy-level reform. The organization’s facilities include: K9s For Warriors Shari Duval National Headquarters (Ponte Vedra, FL) Davis Family Mega Kennel (Ponte Vedra, FL), Petco Love K9 Center (San Antonio, Texas), and the Warrior Ranch (outside San Antonio, Texas). 

Find more information at www.k9sforwarriors.org | Facebook | Instagram | X

Media Contact:
Dani Bozzini, K9s For Warriors
[email protected]

SOURCE K9s For Warriors

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/k9s-for-warriors-celebrates-milestone-achievement-1-000-veterans-paired-with-life-saving-service-dogs-302097084.html
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