JACKSONVILLE, NC (WNCT) – A dog training company in Jacksonville gives back to the veteran community in a special way.
Ridgeside K9 is partnering with the Rescue 22 Foundation to train veterans assistance dogs free of charge. Ridgeside K9 trains these puppies for approximately 6-9 months before they are placed with their veteran.
“With Ridgeside K9 we have trained dogs generally for basic obedience, but we are partnering with the Rescue 22 Foundation,” said Gregory Hunt, dog trainer for Ridgeside K9.
The costs associated with obtaining a service dog can be as high as $ 40,000, a cost that the Veterans Administration does not generally cover.
“The foundation that does all of the fundraising itself, being able to put these dogs in free veterans homes is really a life changing experience,” Hunt said.
Ridgeside K9 says they recently trained and placed two dogs, one in Pennsylvania and another in Florida. The one from Pennsylvania was handed over to a double amputee veteran. His lab is a mobility aid animal, and they’re meant to help owners who have physical limitations.
The second type of service dog they train is psychiatric, and these dogs are given to veterans who suffer from disorders like PTSD.
Ridgeside K9 says it’s a life-changing experience to be able to provide these trained puppies to veterans.
“It’s a great experience for us too, you know normally like we’re inside canine doing obedience trainings for companion dogs locally, you know that’s a great thing for us to be able to give back to the veterans, ”Hunt said.
If you would like to donate to the foundation or apply for the program, get more information at these links: