There are hundreds of thousands of dog shelters and rescues within the United States. You can often find dozens of dog rescues just in one major city alone. And while the traditional adopt a dog rescues help to save lives and are a popular way to support canine welfare, we wanted to profile a “non-traditional” dog shelter/rescue.
A dog rescue that is becoming a nationwide name is the K9 for Warriors program. Founded in March, 2011, you may have seen their advertisements or heard their name, but do you really know about their program? Unlike traditional dog rescues, K9 for Warriors rescues not only dogs, but also rescues military members, post 9/11, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma. As of December, 2017, K9 for Warriors has rescued 815 dogs and 386 warriors!
The Warrior Program is what truly makes K9 for Warriors standout among the rescue crowd. Their commitment to serving their fellow military family is just as strong as their desire to rescue dogs. All dogs are in the K9 for Warriors program are rescued from other shelters or donated by the public. Any warrior accepted into the program must attend a 120 hour (3 week course) in-house training program at the K9 for Warriors headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Florida. During this 3 week course, each warrior will meet their service dog and work with a professional trainer to train their new service dog. That’s right, each warrior is part of the training process, which not only helps to form a solid bond between the warrior and their dog, but also allows the warrior to be hands on during the training process.
The Training Facility
The K9 for Warriors 17,000 square-foot headquarters is an all-in-one facility known as “Camp K9”. The Camp K9 facility has everything needed to host and train both four legged and two legged warriors, including: administrative offices, a full kitchen, dining hall, exercise room, living quarters, a library and even a bone shaped pool for the dogs.
Camp K9 can house up to 57 dogs at a time in their two climate controlled state-of-the-art kennels. The Camp K9 kennels feature an on-site veterinary clinic, indoor/outdoor runs for the dogs and five enclosed dog parks for training and exercise purposes.
Ways You Can Help
There are many ways that you can donate to this wonderful foundation. While at the K9 for Warriors training facility, no warrior will ever have to pay for adoption fees, service fees or meals thanks, in part, to the donations K9 for Warriors receives throughout the year.
As with any dog rescue, K9 for Warriors heavily relies on monetary donations from individual and corporate sponsors to keep their training program 100% free for their military warriors, as the average cost to train and place a service dog is $27,000. Despite assisting U.S. service military personnel, K9 for Warriors does not receive any government assistance.
You can make a one time donation directly to the K9 for Warriors Donation Page or you can enroll in their K9 for Warriors Guard Dog Program. The Guard Dog Program is a recurring monthly donation of $22.00 to help fund the program, as each month, a new group of warriors are admitted into Camp K9. All monetary donations are tax deductible.
Sponsor a K9 Dog
Both individuals or corporations are invited to sponsor a K9 for Warriors Service Dog. Individual sponsorships are $15,000, while corporate sponsorships are set at $20,000. Each sponsorship includes a welcome kit, regular updates and other various swag and media recognition.
This might be one the cutest ways possible to help the K9 for Warriors organization. Any adult (18 years or older) that lives within 50 miles of the Ponte Vedra, Florida facility may apply to be a Puppy Raiser. Puppy Raisers help raise and train their assigned puppy their basic manners from the age of 8 weeks to 12 months. K9 for Warriors will supply all Puppy Raisers with any and all supplies needed to raise the puppy, including: food, leashes, crates, training classes and coverage of any puppy medical expenses.
Gifts in Kind
As with many dog rescues, dog products are always in high demand and may be sent directly to the rescue:
K9 for Warriors
114 Camp K9 Road
Ponte Vedra, Florida 32081
Some of the most requested items include: unopened creamy peanut butter, towels, toys and household supplies such as napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.
Assistance with Travel
While the service dog, training sessions, housing and meals are completely free for each individual warrior attending Camp K9, travel to and from the Florida facility is the responsibility of the warrior. You can contact K9 for Warriors directly to arrange for sponsoring the travel of a warrior to Camp K9.
While all dog rescues are special and do a tremendous job in what they do, we hope that you will give K9 for Warriors a look and help spread their message. If you have ever met a military vet with PTSD, you can see the daily struggle that they endure. If you have ever had the privilege of seeing a military vet with PTSD interact with a dog, you know what a special bond that can be and the joy that a dog can bring to these warriors who have sacrificed so much for us.
If you are interested in learning more about K9 for Warriors, please click any of the highlighted links within this post. You can also follow their K9 for Warriors Facebook Page, @k9sforwarriors Instagram page and/or @k9sforwarriors Twitter account.