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Petco Love Celebrates Shelter Pets Transformed into ‘Helping Heroes’ This Veterans Day

By Pet Age Staff//November 9, 2023//

Petco Love Celebrates Shelter Pets Transformed into ‘Helping Heroes’ This Veterans Day

By: Pet Age Staff//November 9, 2023//

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Press release: Petco Love

Pets change lives. Petco Love knows there is an overwhelming demand for trained service and companion dogs to support our nation’s veterans. Ahead of this Veterans Day, the national nonprofit organization announces more than $1 million in grants for 60+ service, therapy, and working animal organizations that take pets from shelters and transform them into heroes.

As part of its Helping Heroes initiative, since 2009, Petco Love’s investment of more than $17 million bolsters efforts to train and support pets who dedicate their lives to saving and improving the lives of others, as well as support to help military and contract working dogs retire at home.

Faithfully K9, a Colorado nonprofit dedicated to assisting disabled individuals, is a Helping Heroes grant recipient. The organization greatly impacted the life of Erick, an Airborne infantryman.

“I was like many veterans and first responders: diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. After enduring traumatic events, I felt the outside world was very scary,” he said.

After months of working with Faithfully K9 on training his dog, Chispa, to help him cope with his triggers and symptoms, Erick is amazed how his service dog changed his life.

“I have been re-energized,” he said. “Having Chispa has given me the confidence to go and challenge myself to enjoy public or crowded places. Chispa is not only a service dog for me, he’s also my voice to advocate for my needs and experiences.”

“Suicide rates for military Veterans are at a record high. Studies have shown that Veterans with service dogs exhibited significant improvements in well-being, including significantly lowering PTSD symptomology, depression, and anxiety,” said Petco Love president Susanne Kogut. “Petco Love is honored to support our nation’s veterans by investing in training service dogs who often serve as their lifelines.”

A selection of organizations receiving Helping Heroes investments include:

  • Faithfully K9 Service Dog and Dog Training: Supports individuals with mobility issues, PTSD, or hearing issues to train their dog to become their service dog. If they do not already have a dog, they assist in finding a dog, first through rescues. Located in Conifer, Colorado.

  • Pets for Patriots: Its companion pet adoption program helps U.S. military veterans adopt shelter dogs and cats. Provides ongoing support to nurture the healing bonds between veterans and their adopted pets. Located in Long Beach, New York.

  • Dog Tag BuddiesFocuses on helping veterans live more fulfilling lives through training and building relationships with their service dogs. Located in Billings, Montana.

  • Soldiers Best Friend: Provides U.S. military veterans living with combat-related PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury with service or therapeutic companion dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters. Located in Peoria, Arizona.