Giving veterans a second chance at life…
“Giving Veterans a Second Chance at Life” is their slogan.
K9 Partners for Patriots works toward that goal by matching Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury with service dogs who stand alongside the heroes and help them with daily living.
When a Veteran comes to K9 Partners for Patriots, Mary Peter, founder and Certified Master Dog Trainer, is confident she can help them … If they can get out of the car. She says that it is often the spouse of the Veteran who reaches out on behalf of his or her partner. In one case, a woman came to see her while her husband, a Veteran, could not leave the safety of his vehicle on the first visit.
Once he or she is in the door, they can begin work.
St. Leo University Counselors provide support on one level while Mary and her team go to work to help find a dog partner for the individual.
Canines are selected based upon their personality, instincts, and ability to be trained. They are matched with the Veteran, who works with the dog from the first day, each one learning how to interact with the other.
All of the services are free to the Veteran.
“For what they suffered, for what they sacrificed, they shouldn’t have to pay for anything,” Mary says.
Weekly classes are a requirement for dog and master. The group setting works on many levels, by encouraging interaction among the Veterans and dogs. Mary leads the training sessions, which go through basic commands of walk, heel, sit and stay, but also introduce real-world distractions. Mary parades around the dogs, twirling an umbrella, while others ring bells and make noises. The dogs sit at attention, keeping eye contact with their masters while waiting for the next verbal command.
They prepare for emergency situations by having the Veteran lie on the ground and utilize the dog to help get up. The dogs are attuned to their master’s comfort level and recognize when breathing becomes more rapid and anxiety increases in their owners. They help re-direct the Veteran to the task at hand and are trained to stand in front of the individual when people approach, creating an additional buffer of personal space.
K9 Partners for Patriots is a non-profit organization,
funded by public donations and grants.
They were established by Stillwater Dog Training, Inc., but incorporated in 2013, and received IRS certification as a 501 c3 Corporation on November 4, 2014. This year, they moved to their new location in the Hernando County Industrial Park, where they share space with Joni Industries, a promotional products company. Their area includes an office, conference room, a lounge for Veterans to enjoy, and a large, open training room for the classes.
Contact K9 Partners for Patriots at 16230 Aviation Loop Drive, Brooksville, Fl 34604 and by phone at 352-397-5306