In April 2022 our first San Antonio, TX class graduated and since then we have rescued and re-homed over 200 dogs in Texas alone and graduated 59 Warriors from our Petco Love K9 Center.
This has all been made possible because of this partnership with Petco Love that started in 2019 with a generous $2M grant that allowed us to expand our operations to Texas.
We checked in on Warrior Sam and Service Dog Jax and asked how life has changed since graduating from our Texas campus in 2022.
How has life been since graduating?
I have to say that since graduating, my life has improved in multiple ways. He has enabled me to rejoin the outside world and not be a self-proclaimed hermit from most of society. He has opened me up to talking with many people I would have avoided previously. Jax took to my family as if he had always been there. My family in turn took to Jax and his role in my day-to-day life with open arms.
What are the major differences in your day-to-day life before and after being placed with Jax?
Before having Jax I would avoid going out pretty much at all costs. I would go to work and come home and watch some TV and go to bed. That was pretty much life. After Getting Jax, I was eager to train with him and see some of the things I was missing. Knowing he was there and using him as a distraction from the perceived chaos of society helped get me out there and into life again. Without even noticing it, I was interacting with those around me more and with complete strangers which was a complete no go for me before. People would ask his name and give me compliments on his behavior in public. So, I would answer their questions and then it would spark conversations. I found myself sharing things with complete strangers and making some friends along the way.
What would you say to a Veteran considering applying to K9s For Warriors?
If I could say one thing to those looking and contemplating applying, I would simply say do it. You will not regret the decision and the only thing you will say after is ‘why did I not do this sooner?’ You will be amazed at the transformation in yourself.
If it wasn’t for K9 for Warriors ‘Petco Love K9 Center…
First of all, the expansion of K9s For Warriors and the opening of the Petco Love K9 Center was a huge deal for me. If it wasn’t for the Petco Love K9 Center, it would have been a much longer wait for me personally to be paired with a Service Dog. Being in Texas, I was not far from the new location and was privileged enough to be in the inaugural class. I am so thankful to all the sponsors that made this facility possible. K9s For Warriors is the absolute best thing to happen to me since I separated from service life. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
And we’d also like to extend our own thanks to Petco Love, who has helped us transform the lives of Warriors like Sam as well as the lives of Service Dogs like Jax!