Investments will return and reunite military working dogs with their handlers and give shelter dogs new life through canine search and rescue disaster training program
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (August 12, 2015) – The United States War Dogs Association has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to return, reunite and provide medical care for retiring military and contract working dogs serving overseas with their handlers.
Each year thousands of dogs serve at home and overseas in all branches of the Armed Forces with loyalty and honor. Currently these dogs may be retired in the country in which they are located and if overseas, they do not have access to military transport to return home. Proposed legislation will ensure that all military K9 handlers would be guaranteed the opportunity to be reunited with their canine partners.
Until that time the Petco Foundation, in recognition of the unique and special bond that forms between handlers and their dogs, is supporting the work of the United States War Dogs Association to assist returning soldiers who wish to adopt their dogs with transport home and ongoing medical care, and to help other war dogs that have served our country.
“There’s a bond that forms from the moment you meet your dog,” says Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association. “You can almost read each other’s minds. It’s a special bond that doesn’t end with your tour of duty and we’re so happy to be able to bring these dogs home.”
The United States War Dogs Association grant comes on the heels of a $2.5 million investment on behalf of the Petco Foundation to build a new training facility at the Search Dog Foundation’s National Training Center (NTC) in Santa Paula, Calif.
This facility, where rescued dogs will learn to be rescuers, will be the first-of-its-kind in America and will provide a training ground for search and rescue teams throughout the nation to work with their canines in an environment that simulates real disaster conditions such as a train wreck, an earthquake zone and a rubble pile.
“Saving shelter dogs and transforming them into heroes highlights the true potential of these smart canines and inspires others to partner to save lives. We couldn’t be more proud to help make the Search Dog Foundation’s amazing vision come to life,” said Susanne Kogut, executive director, Petco Foundation. “The transformative impact that these dogs have on so many lives is nothing short of heroic, and our partnerships with the Search Dog Foundation and the United States War Dog Association will ensure these courageous heroes are well-prepared for this important work and rewarded with a loving home after their years of service.”
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