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March 13, 2017

In honor of National K9 Veterans Day, Petland says it is proud and honored to announce its support of more than 100 service dogs across the country.

Petland’s national Community Service outreach includes offering support to local police, sheriff and fire departments as well as support for military veteran service dogs. The assistance for protective K9 units is most often a feeding program, supplies or fundraising for specific items, such as bite-suits or training gear. Support for veteran service dogs often goes toward the costs associated with raising, training and providing on-going care.

“Dogs play such an important role in our lives, whether as our pet and companion, or as a partner. These K9 units have a tremendous impact in our local communities and seeing the unique bond between the partner and his canine officer is something special.” said Elizabeth Kunzelman, Petland’s director of public affairs. “Providing support for these units at a local level is just a small way to show our gratitude.”

Additionally, Petland supports service and therapy dogs for children and veterans through various programs and outreach. Petland and Petland franchisees sponsor service dogs for Heartland Canines for Veterans, a 501c3 organization that provides companion, service and therapy dogs for disabled veterans. The average cost to raise and train each service dog is $7,200. Petland, Inc. has committed to supporting the cost of one dog per year for five years. This is in additional to the funds provided by individually-owned and operated stores.

Petland has worked with Heartland Canines for Veterans for almost two years.

“It is incredible to see the difference a therapy dog can make in the life of a veteran. It is truly a life-changing relationship and we are happy to be able to play a small part in helping make those relationships possible,” Kunzelman said.

Pictured is the first veteran service dog Petland supported. And here is what Kunzelman said about the service dog and the veteran the dog helps:

“Wilfredo Martinez retired from the United States Army in 2013. He attained the rank of Sergeant, E-5. Sgt. Martinez received numerous recognitions and awards for his service, some of which include an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, an Army Achievement Medal (3rd Award) and a NATO Medal.

“When Martinez applied for a service dog, he informed us that his son was severely allergic to most breeds of dog. We set out to find the perfect match for Will and his family. Fifi, a standard poodle, was donated to Heartland Canines for Veterans by a member of MPBA specifically for Will. The picture here speaks a thousand words. Fifi quickly became a beloved member of the family. Fifi fulfills her service dog duties even when Will is asleep.”

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