ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FL – K9s for Warriors on Wednesday inaugurated the site of a new training center for assistance dogs.
The campus for K9 operations will be located just south of US 1 and Racetrack Road in St. Johns County and will be the nation’s largest service dog shelter, providing veterinary care and comprehensive training.
The mega kennel will be able to accommodate more than 150 assistance dogs in training.
âWe have a three-year waiting list and a thousand more applications, so we’re going to triple our capacity with the mega kennel,â K9s explained for Warriors CEO Rory Diamond.
IMAGES: K9 renderings for the Warriors Mega Kennel
The goal is to put dogs back in the hands of the veterans who need them most.
âTragically, around 20 veterans a day kill themselves,â K9s said for Warriors program manager Paul Mundell. âIt’s a national crisis.
This crisis is creating a need to connect more veterans with service animals as soon as possible, Mundell said.
“The intervention of providing someone with a service dog has been shown to reduce veteran suicide, to deal with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma systems,” said Mundell said. âWe feel an incredible need to match as many of these dogs as possible with veterans. “
The expansion will help speed up the process of connecting veterans with these much-needed dogs.
“This facility will allow us to open up our services to veterans of all eras and to really serve them better and to start making strides in what is, unfortunately, a very long waiting list,” said Mundell. âIt essentially more than triples the capacity of the K9s for the Northeast Florida Warriors. That, combined with our new training facility in San Antonio, TX, will really allow us to reduce the wait list and serve more veterans.
Previously available to those who served in the military after 9/11, K9s For Warriors will now begin accepting service dog requests from any veteran with symptoms of PTSD, head trauma, and / or military-related sexual trauma. in the service.
“We created spots for the Vietnam era, the Gulf War era, Panama and all those wars, so that they have a space and a home and a place in our world and we can help them. to recover, âDiamond said. “It is extremely important that we stop the suicide of veterans across the country, and suicide is not about age, it is about care and love.”
Diamond said there was a huge spike in Vietnamese-era veteran suicides. With the program previously serving 9/11 era veterans, K9s for Warriors has matched nearly 700 veterans with assistance dogs. Now the hope is to achieve even more with the expansion.
The new facility is expected to be completed in the spring of next year.
Representatives of The Players Red Coats presented K9s For Warriors with a check for $ 15,000 at the groundbreaking ceremony. It’s part of The Players Championship’s commitment to supporting Northeast Florida nonprofits that serve military members, veterans and their families.
Veterans can find more resources at https://www.k9sforwarriors.org and https://www.maketheconnection.net/resources.
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