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Dogtopia Foundation Celebrates Milestone, Unveils PTSD Study, Sponsors 500th Service Dog

By Pet Age Staff//June 12, 2024//

Dogtopia Foundation Celebrates Milestone, Unveils PTSD Study, Sponsors 500th Service Dog

By: Pet Age Staff//June 12, 2024//

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Dogtopia, the nation’s leading dog wellness franchise, proudly announced today a significant milestone: the U.S. Dogtopia Foundation has helped sponsor more than 500 service dogs for veterans. Since the Foundation’s inception, Dogtopia daycares have collectively achieved this milestone by raising more than $3 million, underscoring Dogtopia’s ongoing commitment to supporting the brave men and women who have served our country.

This achievement comes on the heels of the recent groundbreaking research from The University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine, which was supported by the Dogtopia Foundation with the help of K9s For Warriors, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Purina. The study assessed a total of 161 veterans who had PTSD — 88 had a service dog and 73 did not. Cortisol, a stress hormone found in saliva, was assessed at two different points three months apart, and a total of 2,613 cortisol samples were analyzed. The study concluded that overall, veterans with service dogs had stress hormone levels more like those in healthy adults without PTSD than veterans without service dogs.

Much of the Dogtopia community’s energy and passion for supporting veterans with service dogs is inspired by retired Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans, a highly decorated and courageous warrior who sustained life-threatening injuries while serving her country. She credits her service dog, Aura, with saving her life. Evans regularly speaks at Dogtopia fundraising events nationwide and recently joined Dogtopia Regional Manager Jordan Cerrillo for the final 10 miles of his 101-mile fundraising run from Dogtopia of Eau Claire in Wisconsin to Dogtopia of Woodbury in Minnesota. Her participation in Cerrillo’s run, along with a recent fundraiser hosted by the owners of Dogtopia of Sacramento – Nimbus Winery, helped boost the Dogtopia Foundation’s fundraising totals by nearly $150,000 in the week leading up to Memorial Day.

“We are fortunate to have Gretchen igniting a spark among the communities we serve, encouraging them to give back to the men and women who so bravely fought for our country,” said Neil Gill, CEO and president of Dogtopia. “Her involvement, along with the outstanding commitment of Dogtopia owners, team members, and pet parents to the Dogtopia Foundation, has been crucial in raising money to support our veterans in need of service dogs. We could not be prouder of our Dogtopia community.”

The Dogtopia Foundation’s mission is to enable dogs to positively change our world. Providing service dogs to veterans is just one of the three key pillars of the Dogtopia Foundation that helps to achieve this mission. Since its inception in 2017, the foundation has also supported youth education programs and employment initiatives for adults with autism.

“Dogs are compassionate and affectionate and, most importantly, provide unwavering, nonjudgmental companionship. This support is crucial for emotional and physical wellbeing and helps people navigate their daily lives with greater confidence,” said Liz Meyers, the executive director of the Dogtopia Foundation. “Our collaborations allow the Foundation to assist returning veterans, adults with autism, and at-risk students and help them reach their full potential.”