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The organization trains rescue and shelter dogs to become service animals for vets with PTSD.
There is much to respect and admire about K9s for Warriors. Not only does the nonprofit organization save rescue and shelter dogs to train them as service animals, but it does so for our country’s veterans.
Shari Duval founded K9s for Warriors in 2011 to help her son, Brett Simon, a veteran struggling with PTSD. Six years later, the organization has graduated more than 300 service dog teams.
In the program, veterans struggling with PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma spend three weeks on the K9s for Warriors campus, working for 120 hours with professional dog trainers. The teams learn task-centered commands that can help mitigate PTSD and other combat symptoms. With their service animal by their side, veterans can reintegrate into civilian society with dignity and independence. Graduates also have a reduced risk of suicide.
Simon, now president of K9s for Warriors, says: “In the beginning, I never imagined we would serve 300 veterans. We have experienced incredible growth and success, graduating eight teams in our first year, and 73 teams last year. However, we’re not at a resting point. Our goal for 2017 is to serve 12 warriors per monthly class.”
Congrats to this wonderful organization.
This longtime journalist loves dogs, so much so that she made them her day job in 2014 by joining Dogster.com as Senior Editor. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her sweet and stinky Boston Terriers, Dolly and Spot. Read more of her writing on Dogster and friend her on Facebook.
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