Upon Completion of the Davis Family Mega Kennel, K9s For Warriors’ Current Four-year Waitlist for Veterans to be Paired with Service Dogs will be cut in Half
PONTE VEDRA, Fla. (May 16, 2022) — K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs to military veterans, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today commemorating the opening of phase one of the Davis Family Mega Kennel, the world’s largest rescue-to-Service Dog training facility. The facility, which is located just minutes from the nonprofit’s Shari Duval National Headquarters, sits on six acres of generously donated land by the Davis family in Northeast Florida.
Phase one of the Davis Family Mega Kennel will enable K9s For Warriors to train 88 more Service-dogs-in-training, dramatically reducing the four-year waitlist. Upon completion of phase two, the waitlist will be cut in half. Phase one consists of 68 kennels, 20 wellness kennels, a K9 enrichment area, food storage building and by the end of the summer, a splash pad. A portion of the funding for the buildings in phase one was provided by the Davis family, Lee and Dorothy Thomas, the Foar from Home veterans, and Flagler Health+.
“Today is a great day for our veterans across the country and for so many dogs waiting to be given a chance. Back in 2011, Shari Duval set out to better the lives of veterans struggling with invisible wounds of war by giving them rescued Service Dogs. Today, we remain steadfast in our mission of saving lives,” said Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors. “The Davis Family Mega Kennel will enable us to rescue more dogs and get them in the hands of our veterans in need, changing their course in life for the better. This facility will also drastically reduce the time our future Warriors have to wait to receive a Service Dog, which currently extends to 2026.”
The need for the Davis Family Mega Kennel is imperative given the overwhelming demand for Service Dogs and the ongoing issue of veteran suicide, as nearly 20 veterans die by suicide every day. K9s For Warriors is determined to end veteran suicide and assist veterans facing invisible wounds of war, including PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma.
Phase one cost roughly $8 million to complete. Phase two construction will start in the coming months with support from the state of Florida and generous donors. State Sen. Travis Hutson and State Rep. Sam Garrison championed $2.5 million in state funding for phase two. State Sen. Jennifer Bradley and State Rep. Cord Byrd also secured $750,000 to help with operational costs. Additionally, the David and Cheryl Duffield Foundation provided a generous donation to complete the veterinary clinic and the Snodgrass Family Foundation of St. Johns County donated money for more than 170 new beds for the new kennels.
To learn more about K9s For Warriors and to support the nonprofit’s programs, visit www.k9sforwarriors.org.
About K9s For Warriors
Determined to end veteran suicide, K9s For Warriors is the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs to military veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma. With most dogs coming from high-kill rescue shelters, this innovative program allows the K9/Warrior team to build an unwavering bond that facilitates their collective healing and recovery. This treatment method is backed by scientific research (from Purdue University’s OHAIRE Lab) demonstrating Service Dogs’ ability to help mitigate their veteran’s symptoms of PTSD while simultaneously restoring their confidence and independence. Founded in 2011 as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, K9s For Warriors remains committed to bringing widespread awareness to veterans’ mental health and contributing to policy-level reform.
The organization’s five facilities include: K9s For Warriors National Headquarters (Ponte Vedra, FL) Davis Family Mega Kennel (Ponte Vedra, FL) Gold Family Campus (Alachua, FL) Petco Love K9 Center (San Antonio, Texas) and K9s For Warriors at Heidi’s Village (Phoenix, AZ).