Petco Foundation Donates Fitting Tribute To Overseas War Dogs
As unbelievable as it may seem, few of the thousands of working dogs serving overseas in the Armed Forces actually make it back to U.S. soil. Yes, due to transport costs many are “retired” and adopted out in the country where they are serving. This is heart breaking for the troop members working alongside them and undoubtedly distressing to the dogs who have forged close relationships with their handlers (not to mention an unfitting tribute to these four-legged heroes).
While proposed legislation is being tabled to ensure that all military K9 handlers would be guaranteed the opportunity to be reunited with their canine partners (without having to absorb the costs as is currently required), times a ticking and the need is now.
Enter the giving folks at Petco Foundation. With a mantra that every animal deserves to live its best life, the group has stepped up to the plate in a big way by donating $250,000 to return and reunite these retiring military and contract working dogs.
The worthy grant recipient is the United States War Dogs Association (USWDA); a group that assists returning soldiers with the costs needed to transport their war buddy back home. The organization also helps with the cost of ongoing medical care for the pooch because according to USWDA President Ron Aiello, “There’s a bond that forms from the moment you meet your dog. You can almost read each other’s minds. It’s a special bond that doesn’t end with your tour of duty and we’re so happy to be able to bring these dogs home.”
Other extraordinary acts of kindness by Petco Foundation include a $2.5 million donation to the Search Dog Foundation’s National Training Center in Santa Paula, California where funds will be used to build a new training facility. The organization trains dogs rescued from area shelters to become rescuers themselves, providing search and rescue teams throughout the U.S. with canine assistance in disaster situations such as earthquakes as well as large scale catastrophes such as train crashes, or building collapses.
The decision to provide such substantial grants to these organizations was a no-brainer according to Petco Foundation Executive Director Susanne Kogut. “The transformative impact that these dogs have on so many lives is nothing short of heroic, and our partnerships with the Search Dog Foundation and the United States War Dog Association will ensure these courageous heroes are well-prepared for this important work and rewarded with a loving home after their years of service.”
Bravo Petco Foundation! Today you are my hero!
More by Mary Simpson