Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera and Wife Stephanie Partner with K9s For Warriors and Humane Society of Charlotte to Save Veterans and Shelter Dogs

The Riveras donate $20,000 to Humane Society of Charlotte to rescue dogs for K9s For Warriors’ Service Dog program

Ron Rivera and wife Stephanie announce partnership with K9s For Warriors and Humane Society of Charlotte

Charlotte, NC. (March 17, 2023) — Long-time Carolina Panthers Head Coach and current Washington Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera and his wife Stephanie joined Humane Society of Charlotte and K9s For Warriors, the nation’s leading shelter to Service Dog organization, today to announce a new initiative to help get more Service Dogs in the hands of veterans in need.

Roughly 20 veterans die by suicide each day, and with the support of the Riveras as well as the Humane Society of Charlotte, K9s For Warriors is determined to change that through the healing power of highly trained Service Dogs.While touring HSC’s new facility, the Riveras announced a generous $20,000 donation to go towards Humane Society of Charlotte’s efforts to procure dogs eligible for K9s For Warriors’ Service Dog program. Patronus and Lumos are among the first shelter dogs coming from Humane Society of Charlotte that will begin training to become Service Dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD and other invisible wounds of war.

The Riveras first learned about K9s For Warriors through Mando, the Service Dog in training who that stole the hearts of its players and fans as the Washington Commanders team dog during the 2022-23 season.

“When we learned of the K9s For Warriors mission, saving two lives, a veteran and shelter dog, we thought that a partnership with Humane Society of Charlotte was the logical answer,” said Ron and Stephanie Rivera. “HSC now has the facilities to take in a greater volume of dogs from throughout North Carolina and they have qualified staff on hand that can help K9s For Warriors identify great candidates for training. We are excited to help sponsor this program and follow the journey of HSC dogs and their veterans.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with K9s For Warriors on this special opportunity to unite a veteran in need with a canine from the Humane Society of Charlotte’s adoption program,” said K.C. Thompson, Humane Society of Charlotte’s Shelter Manager. “To know a dog that we rescued is going to go on to receive such specialized training and serve a veteran in a critical way brings such joy to our hearts.”

“K9s For Warriors simply would not exist without the support of incredible people like the Riveras. Their generous donation will enable us to save more dogs and get them in the hands of veterans in need,” said K9s For Warriors CEO Carl Cricco. “Their commitment to veterans and rescue dogs allows us to save lives at both ends of the leash.”

Ron Rivera was recently awarded the 12th Annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA and the NFL for his work with members of the U.S. military and their families during the 2022 NFL season. His long affinity for veterans stems from his family’s military background. His father, Eugenio Rivera, served as an officer in the U.S. military for 32 years.

With the majority of K9s For Warriors’ dogs coming from rescue shelters and now from the Humane Society of Charlotte, the innovative program allows the K9/veteran team to build an unwavering bond that facilitates their collective healing and recovery. There are more than three million dogs in shelters in the U.S., far too many of whom are subject to euthanasia because they are not adopted. The Humane Society of Charlotte is committed to saving as many dogs and cats as possible through its partnerships with other agencies and takes in over 3,000 animals annually through its adoption program.

To learn more about K9s For Warriors and to support the nonprofit’s programs, visit For more information on Humane Society of Charlotte, please visit

About Humane Society of Charlotte

The Humane Society of Charlotte is a community resource committed to delivering effective, innovative services that strengthen the human-animal bond and improve the lives of companion animals and the people who care about them. Their vision is for Charlotte, NC to be a united community where animal welfare is valued and demonstrated through educated and collaborative efforts leading to positive outcomes for animals.

The Humane Society of Charlotte follows a no-kill philosophy, which is based on saving all animals that come to them, and in addition to low-cost fees for adoption, spay/neuter and wellness services, rely on the generous support of animal-loving individuals in the community to fund their work. For more information, please visit or @humanecharlotte on all social platforms.


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 facilities include: K9s For Warriors National Headquarters (Ponte Vedra, FL) Davis Family Mega Kennel (Ponte Vedra, FL) Gold Family Campus (Alachua, FL), and the Petco Love K9 Center (San Antonio, Texas).

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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.

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