USAF service member Shilo and Javelin from K9s for Warriors: Image via K9s for WarriorsUSAF service member Shilo and Javelin from K9s for Warriors: Image via K9s for Warriors

 

If you haven't heard of it, K9s for Warriors is a wonderful foundation that supplies returning veterans suffering from trauma with service dogs to help them on the road to recovery. So many brave young men and women have been injured physically and emotionally from their time spent in the armed forces, and this group wants to help them regain some semblance of normalcy in their lives through a relationship with a loving canine.

Study after study has shown the amazing restorative benefits that come from interaction with pets. This is true so much so that animals are now routinely used in hospitals, nursing homes and convalescent centers all over the world to cheer and comfort the sick, recuperating, and the young and elderly alike.

K9s for Warriors

K9s for Warriors' mission statement is as follows:  "K9s For Warriors is dedicated to providing service canines to our warriors suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disability, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post 9/11. Our goal is to empower them to return to civilian life with dignity and independence."

The group is currently responsible for graduating 165 Warrior-Canine teams with a 96 percent recertification rate. That means that 165 service members have been blessed so far with the addition of a furry, four-legged friend to keep them company and help them through the difficult times that lay ahead. Their daily struggles to adapt to life after their injuries and experiences in the war are not easy, but these animals give them hope and a sense of support and security that is sorely needed in their lives.

 

U.S. Army service member Will and his dog Beemer: Image via K9s for WarriorsU.S. Army service member Will and his dog Beemer: Image via K9s for Warriors

 

Shelter Animals

One of the great things about the foundation is the fact that 95 percent of the service dogs used in the K9s For Warriors program are rescue/shelter dogs. This gives new hope and life to these frightened yet loving animals desperately in need of a new home. Like all domestic pets, shelter dogs just want someone to love and to be loved.

Dogs will live through unimaginable hardships in order to be close to their masters and endure it with a wag of their tail and love in their eyes and heart. Most of them want nothing more than to please and ask little more than a pet, a hug or a kind word in return. By donating to the group, you're not only helping the very people that defend our country, but you may be saving the life of an abandoned animal who's in just as much need as the vet they might some day be paired with.

Funding

K9s for Warriors is a nonprofit that accepts no government funding in support of their program. All of their operating costs are met by corporate sponsors like Merrick Pet Care and Bayer, makers of K9 Advantix®, while 100 percent of individual donations go toward program direct efforts.

Other groups that get involved and give to the project are Birdies for the Brave PGA TOUR Charities, the American Legion, MVAT Foundation, TBC Corporation and the Gifford Foundation, among others. The program is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, Assistance Dogs International and a group known as Great Nonprofits. Whether you donate or not, you can sign up to receive their newsletter, where you'll get regular updates on the progress and status of applicants and their dogs as well as other interesting information.

Tears of Happiness

For some heartwarming and encouraging stories in regards to the recipients of these dogs and the group itself, you can go to YouTube to see for yourself what a difference this program has made in so many lives. A word of warning, though: many of the videos on the K9s for Warriors channel are real tear jerkers, but in a really positive way. You just feel so good when you see the heartfelt testimonials of the people whose lives have been affected (and improved) as a result of one of these wonderful dogs, that you can't help but well up.

Besides donations, K9s for Warriors is always looking for volunteers who have the time and want to give back to our deserving service personnel in any way they can. If you visit their website, you'll see information regarding the many opportunities that await you, should you decide to get involved. They even have a K9 Wishlist that needs fulfilling. If you're an animal lover, K9s for Warriors is a program that is truly deserving of your interest, even if it's just to check them out.

 

 

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