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Petco Love K9 Center: Helping Save Lives on Both Ends of The Leash in Texas

Friday, December 15, 2023

2 min read

Petco Love has been instrumental in helping K9s For Warriors save Veterans and rescue dogs.

Our partnership started in 2019 with a generous $2M Petco Love grant that allowed us to expand our operations to the Lone Star state. In late 2021, we opened the Petco Love K9s Center in San Antonio.  It’s home to our Texas dog rescue and training program as well as our monthly Texas Warrior graduation ceremony.

Since the opening of Petco Love K9 Center we have: 

  • Paired 54 Veterans with Service Dogs in San Antonio, TX
  • Rescued and rehomed over 200 dogs

One of our first Texas Warrior graduates is Army Infantryman John. Since the 1st grade, John had wanted to join the military after witnessing his grandfather serve in the Coast Guard and older brother in the Navy. He served 4 years in the Army and that included a 15-month deployment to Iraq.

In 2009 when John returned home to his wife Brooke and two children, he found it hard to adjust back to civilian life. He struggled to manage his emotions in public. He felt overwhelmed, lacked drive, and failed to find his purpose…until Odie.   

K9s For Warriors rescued Odie from a Texas shelter and trained him to save a Veteran like John. It’s all been made possible due to support from Petco Love.

“From almost the first day of getting Odie, I knew that he was hand-picked and tailored to match me. Our bond was strong from the start. I could feel that he knew exactly what it was I struggled with, and how he could show me how he could help. When out in public I immediately noticed that he was always watchful and alert of his surroundings and would frequently check in with me because that was always my biggest struggle was dealing with the feeling to ALWAYS be alert, scanning for threats, exit points, choke points, or other hazards. But having Odie almost seamlessly takes some of that role over for me, made me feel more at ease.” 

Recently John and Odie paid a visit to John’s son’s classroom where they educated second graders about Veterans and Service Dogs.

 

Letters from Grateful Students

The kids wrote letters to Warriors in our November class just in time for Veterans Day. Here are some excerpts:

  • “Dear Veteran, thank you for all you do! Thank you for protecting our country! You are very important, you know that, right!?”
  • “Dear Veteran, thank you so much for your kind heart and for keeping the planet safe. Thank you for protecting our country. You spread kindness.”

We feel the same way about Petco Love. They have helped us transform the lives of Warriors like John and rescue dogs like Odie and we are forever grateful!

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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.

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