By Debbie Gregory.
As man’s best friend, canines provide many benefits to their owners. Besides the physical assistance and companionship, dogs provide many social and emotional benefits to their humans.
K9s For Warriors is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization that specializes in obtaining, training and placement of service dogs to our disabled American veterans who have been injured in military service post 9/11. The majority of the dogs they train and place come from shelters or animal rescues.
Founded in 2011 by Shari Duval, K9s For Warriors was born out of her need to help her son deal with his post-deployment Post-traumatic Stress Disability (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) after serving two tours in Iraq. Duval’s son, Brett Simon, was a civilian K9 police officer before joining a special team whose main mission was to work with the Army. Simon is now the organization’s Director of K9 Operations and works with a team of K9 Trainers selecting the dogs and directs their training.
After two years of research on canine assistance for PTSD, Shari launched the non-profit organization to train and give service canines to assist our warriors return to civilian life with dignity and independence.
With better than 600,000 warriors returning home with disabilities, the need has never been greater. Service canines are a proven recovery resource. For example, research has shown that it only takes a mere 15–30 minutes with your pet to feel more relaxed and calm. Playing with your dog also raises your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters that are associated with pleasure and tranquility. Furthermore, dog owners have been found to have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, fewer heart attacks.
K9s For Warriors does not charge for their service, and relies solely on donations. With a year’s long waiting list, there has never been a better time to throw your support behind this great non-profit. If you would like more information, please visit them on the web at http://www.k9sforwarriors.org.