From puppy to pairing

Dog's Journey

From puppy to pairing with a veteran in-need, we put love and heart into each dog every step of the way.

Where do our dogs come from?

At K9s For Warriors, we procure dogs from a variety of sources, including: animal shelters, rescues, dog donations, Service Dog agencies and in 2022 from select breeders.

In 2022, our veteran waitlist was longer than 4 years and Covid played a big role in that. It limited Warrior travel and greatly reduced our ability to rescue dogs from shelters. To reduce wait time, we made the decision to acquire more dogs from breeders and other Service Dog agencies. Veterans now wait, on average, 18 months to be paired with a dog. Ultimately, we believe the decision saves more lives.

Our procurement team continuously searches animal shelters, seeking suitable Service Dog candidates.

We would love if all of our dogs could be rescues but that would increase our wait list for veterans and ultimately lead to fewer annual pairings. Because lives are at risk, we must acquire dogs outside of shelters to meet the urgent demand.

Dogs bred to be service animals arrive on our campus needing less training than shelter dogs so we can pair them with veterans in a more timely fashion. Our rescue dogs naturally require more training. Our goal is to have shelter dogs comprise 70% of our dogs. Over the lifetime of our organization (2011-2023), we estimate 90% of our dogs have been rescues.

To find out more about our shelter-to-Service-Dog procurement process, visit our blog.


For some Service Dogs, training starts early. The K9s For Warriors Puppy Program consists of volunteers who dedicate countless hours training and caring for a puppy before it enters the kennels to become a future Service Dog.

As we expand, the need for puppy-raisers is greater than ever! If you live within 50 miles of a K9s For Warriors campus and are looking to make an impact, fill out our puppy raiser form today.

Dog Donations

We also accept dog donations — both puppies and adult dogs — from eight weeks old to three months of age.

If you’d like to donate a dog to a veteran, please fill out our dog donation form.

K9s For Warriors Gold Stars Emblem

Are You Ready To Help A Veteran Move Forward With Life?

Career Changes

While many of our dogs go on to become Service Dogs and are paired with a veteran, some dogs do not qualify to live the Service Dog life and are career-changed.
The K9s For Warriors Station Dog Program

The K9s For Warriors Station Dog Program provides law enforcement and first responder agencies with reliable, high quality K9s that provide emotional support to police officers, firefighters, dispatchers, victims, and others who are repeatedly exposed to traumatic events in the line of duty.

Local Family Dog Adoption

Other dogs that career-change during training are adopted out to local families. 

Request A Tour

Thank you for your interest in touring our National Headquarters in Ponte Vedra, FL. K9s For Warriors is a residential training facility. Our Warriors live on our campus for 21 days while learning to work with their new Service Dogs. To respect our Warriors privacy, we are unable to accommodate field trips, large group outings, and large parties. Additionally, some of the tour information may not be suitable for children.

Save Two Lives

Give $20 A Month

Roughly 20 veterans die by suicide every day, and K9s For Warriors is determined to change that. By committing to $20 per month, you can make a difference in the lives of the veterans that have sacrificed for our freedoms.

Adoptable Dog Waitlist

Thank you for your interest in adopting one of our dogs. We hope that your perfect fit becomes available soon! Please fill out the application below – and our Adoption Team will add you to our waitlist.