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K9s For Warriors: A Nonprofit Organization Providing Support To Veterans

After retiring from the military, many veterans struggle with day-to-day life. Roughly 20 veterans die by suicide each day because they feel it’s the only way to help with what they’re going through. That’s where K9s For Warriors comes in.

K9s for Warriors - A nonprofit organization providing support to veterans - Karina Gafford - JBSA - Military Life - Homefront United Realty - San Antonio real estate - San Antonio miliary base

Founded in 2011 by Shari Duval, the vision for K9s For Warriors was to train shelter dogs as service dogs and pair them with veterans who have been affected by military-related traumas. Her son, Brett, was a K9 police bomb dog handler during his time serving in Iraq, and he came home with PTSD. She soon realized doctors could not help her son, but he was more himself with his dog, which is how K9s For Warriors was born.

K9s For Warriors is a lifetime program provided to veterans at no cost. It’s designed to deliver maximum benefit and support to veterans with minimum administrative costs. K9s For Warriors is honored to have many generous supporters who contribute to their nonprofit organization, allowing them to impact the lives of veterans and serve them the way they served our country.

Veterans interested in K9s For Warriors must qualify for the program. You must have become disabled while serving our country; however, your disability does not have to be combat-related. Applicants must have a verified clinical diagnosis of PTSD, TBI, or MST to qualify. 

Here are the steps for the application/training process:

  1. Fill out a Warrior Application here. Once completed, a member of the Warrior Operations team will reach out. There will be multiple interviews, personal reference checks, and a background investigation to learn more about the Warrior’s disability, personality, family, and environment.
  2. If accepted into the program, you will be matched with a service dog and undergo a 21-day training program. The training program includes campus and off-site training, bonding time in welcoming housing, and useful classes to prepare you to pass a public access test and earn ADI certification.
    – Service dogs are selected based on breed, height, weight, health, and temperament. They are housed on campus and trained to aid warriors. Around 75% of the service dogs are rescued from shelters, giving them a second chance at life in some instances. As of 2023, K9s For Warriors has saved over 2,000 dogs. 
  3. Once you graduate from training, the program doesn’t end there. Graduates will receive continued support and guidance from the Warrior Operations team to ensure Veterans have everything they need to thrive.

If you’re interested in learning more about K9s for Warriors, please reach out to us! We would love to be a resource for you! 


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