View Products |  Sign In

K9s For Warriors

November 18, 2020

When veterans come home from battle, transitioning back into civilian life can be a daunting task.

On average, 20 veterans die from suicide each day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. But groups like K9s for Warriors are working to bring that number down by training service dogs to help veterans cope with the physical and mental scars from service.

“I’m a graduate of the program in 2015 and I came back and I started working here and I can see how this program affects the warrior and their family,” said Greg Wells, Manager of Programs with K9s for Warriors.

The program has been able to continue its work through the pandemic, training 90 dogs and pairing them with veterans.

“We were in a state where we could keep going. The doors were still open. And you can’t Zoom train a dog. You can’t Zoom train a warrior,” said K9s for Warriors CEO Rory Diamond.

Working at a limited capacity has come at a cost.

The program’s wait time has doubled from two to four years, with 391 veterans on the waitlist.

“Our biggest fear is to lose a warrior on our waitlist. Our warriors, 82% of them have attempted suicide before they come here and we have an almost perfect record in stopping it after a warrior comes here, but we’ve got to get them through our doors first,” said Diamond.

But the program has plans to expand to meet the growing need.

“We’re going to break ground next year on what we call a ‘Mega Kennel’. The world’s largest rescue dog training center. So we’ll get much more dogs like Angel here through our system,” said Diamond.

K9s for Warriors is 100 percent free to veterans and while the Florida Legislature approved $600,000 for the program this year, private donations provide most of the funding.

K9s for Warriors has a 10-year history of helping veterans and currently operates in 47 states.

In that time it has trained and paired 641 service dogs with veterans.

Register Your Dog

  • Recent News

    Benson Bringing Love To Others

    November 20, 2020

    The Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City has a new friend to try and give love and support to those who need it. “It’s been a long road,” said Marquisha Reed, who has a child at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Her 6-month-old son, Ezra, just had his second heart surgery. With her other two children at […]

    Read more

    Service Dogs Helping Veterans

    November 20, 2020

    Six years after Warrior Freedom Service Dogs was established, the organization is expanding their one of a kind program that connects veterans to trained service dogs rescued from local animal shelters. Executive Director Adam Keith says the organization’s main goal is to help veterans reconnect with society, while providing service dogs with a loving home. […]

    Read more

    Puppy In Training Visits

    November 20, 2020

    Students in teacher Michelle Bettler’s fifth-grade class at PVPV Rawlings Elementary School were in for a treat last week as Marie Massie from K9s For Warriors brought in one of her service dogs to meet the children. Massie has raised many dogs for the K9s For Warriors, and this is not the first time she […]

    Read more

    Veteran And His Service Dog

    November 18, 2020

    Veteran Louis Belluomini has an important message to share. And on Veterans Day, he’ll share it with the nation as a guest on “The Rachael Ray Show.” The Findlay man will appear before a national audience Wednesday to discuss his work as a paramedic during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what it’s like to have a […]

    Read more

    Veterans Week

    November 18, 2020

    Veterans from across the country travel to Branson to celebrate veterans week, and now some of those heroes will return home with a new furry friend. Frank Schlechta, a disabled veteran from Texas, made the trip this morning to meet his new Saint Bernard. “She’s just such a great puppy! She’s beautiful! Oh my God, […]

    Read more

    Service Dogs For Veterans

    November 18, 2020

    The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has launched a new virtual lecture series, sponsored by IDEXX. The series will feature varying topics that are centered around research on the health benefits of the human-animal bond and the importance of veterinary medicine in strengthening human-animal bonds. The first lecture, which is set to launch on Veteran’s Day, […]

    Read more

    Service Dogs Program

    November 18, 2020

    Shawn Pederson, Army Sgt. First Class Chuck Stewart and Senior Master Sgt. Diana Trevino — it is these honorable servicemen and woman and many others like them that are deserving of our salute today. All across the country, veterans are being honored on this annual Veterans Day, Nov. 11. At a 10-acre plot of ground […]

    Read more

    Service Dogs Help Warriors

    November 18, 2020

    Yakima resident Albert Navarro served for four years in the U.S. Navy, was stationed in the Washington, D.C., area following Sept. 11, and completed two tours of the Persian Gulf before receiving an honorable discharge. Despite the post-traumatic stress he picked up from his service, Navarro said he was able to get back to a […]

    Read more