In honor of National K9 Veterans Day on March 13, Petland and Petland Charities have announced their support of more than 135 service dogs across the country, up more than 35 percent from last year. Petland says it is grateful for the work these dogs do every day to help communities, children, veterans and those with special needs. In Florida alone, Petland stores support 24 K9 units across the state.
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 on-going care.
“Dogs play such an important role in our lives as our pet and companion, but also as a partner or a valuable assistant. 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.”
This year, Petland became a supporter of the launch of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife Law Enforcement Program K-9 units. Five dogs are being trained and are part of the new program, with supplies and food provided by Petland.
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, is 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 three years.
“The difference a therapy dog can make in the life of a veteran is truly astounding. It is a life-changing relationship and we are happy to be able to play a small part in helping make those relationships possible,” Kunzelman said.