PONTE VEDRA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Earlier today, K9s For Warriors began preliminary construction on its Campus for K9 Operations, an additional Northeast Florida facility which will serve as a “mega kennel” capable of housing more than 150 Service Dogs-in-training. Once completed, it will become the nation’s largest shelter-to-Service-Dog facility, providing veterinary care and comprehensive training.
The need for the mega kennel is imperative given roughly 20 veterans tragically dying by suicide each day amidst the overwhelming demand of veterans applying for a Service Dog through K9s For Warriors’ program.
With the Campus for K9 Operations ultimately allowing the organization to rescue an exponentially greater number of dogs, K9s For Warriors also has announced the formal expansion of its program to all-era veterans. Previously available to those who served in the military post-9/11, K9s For Warriors will begin to accept applications for a Service Dog from any veteran experiencing service-connected symptoms of PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma.
“The Campus for K9 Operations will fundamentally change both the volume and demographic of the veteran population we’re able to pair with a Service Dog,” said Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors. “This facility also will reduce the time our future Warriors have to wait between being accepted into the program and receiving their Service Dog, which can be life-altering to veterans experiencing severe symptoms of PTSD, including suicidal ideations.”
Pre-9/11 era veterans are disproportionately affected by suicide, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. In 2018, veterans aged 55-74 accounted for virtually as many suicides (2,587) as those aged 18-34 (874) and 35-54 (1,730) combined.
The Campus for K9 Operations will be located just south of the U.S. Route 1 and Race Track Road intersection in Ponte Vedra, Fla. Founded in 2011, K9s For Warriors to-date has graduated nearly 700 Warrior/K9 teams and rescued more than 1,300 dogs overall.
About K9s For Warriors
Committed to conquering veteran suicide, K9s For Warriors is the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs to military veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma. With the majority of dogs coming from high-kill rescue shelters, this innovative program allows the K9/Warrior team to build an unwavering bond that facilitates their collective healing and recovery. This treatment method is backed by scientific research (from Purdue University’s OHAIRE Lab) demonstrating Service Dogs’ ability to help mitigate their veteran’s symptoms of PTSD while simultaneously restoring their confidence and independence. Founded in 2011 as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, K9s For Warriors remains committed to bringing widespread awareness to veterans’ mental health and contributing to policy-level reform. The organization’s four primary business operation facilities include: K9s For Warriors National Headquarters and Campus for K9 Operations (Ponte Vedra, Fla.,) Petco Love K9 Center (San Antonio, Texas) and Gold Family Campus (Alachua, Fla.)