Milestone made: 1000 Veterans paired with service dogs


K9s For Warriors marks a significant achievement in its efforts to support veterans in need

K9s For Warriors, the nation's largest provider of trained service dogs for veterans, celebrates its newest milestone in successfully matching 1000 veterans with service dogs. K9s For Warriors aims to prevent and end veteran suicide with service dogs trained to support individuals with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, or military sexual trauma. Retired Army Staff Sergeant Ryan and his service dog Frankie became the 1000th Warrior/K9 team to walk across the stage at K9s For Warriors Shari Duval National Headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Florida.1

Warrior Ryan and service dog Frankie. (Photo courtesy of K9s For Warriors)

Warrior Ryan and service dog Frankie. (Photo courtesy of K9s For Warriors)

K9s For Warriors offers trained service dogs at no cost to veterans and this was one of the main reasons Ryan decided to apply to K9s after one of his mental health providers recommended the program to help him navigate his PTSD, according to the news release.1

"Frankie will help provide me the support I need when in high anxiety situations, to be more emotionally and mentally available for my family. He has already significantly reduced my anxiety and provides me comfort and support in what used to be high anxiety situations,” Ryan said.1

"This month marks an extraordinary milestone for K9s For Warriors as we celebrate the graduation of our 1,000th Warrior paired with a life-saving service dog—1000 unique Warrior lives saved," said K9s For Warriors chief program officer Kevin Steele. "This achievement wouldn't be possible without the unwavering dedication and support of so many – our team members, donors, partners, and incredible volunteers. Together, as we celebrate transforming the lives of 1000 veterans and their service dogs, we look to the next 1000 ready to give them their new leash on life."1

Currently, it is estimated that about 20-22 veterans die by suicide every day in the United States.1-3 Research has proven that service dogs can positively impact veterans’ stress levels. A recent study found that those with a service dog had healthier cortisol levels compared to those without a service dog.4

Warrior Charlie and service dog Lady Cameo. (Photo courtesy of K9s For Warriors)

Warrior Charlie and service dog Lady Cameo. (Photo courtesy of K9s For Warriors)

Navy veteran Charlie was one of the first Warriors to get a service dog from K9s For Warriors back in 2011 when the organization was founded. Charlie reported in the release that his first dog, Slider, made a profound impact on his life. Sadly, Slider passed away a few months ago, however Charlie reached out to K9s For Warriors to see if he could be paired again for additional support.

"If it wasn't for Slider, I wouldn't be here today. He not only helped me, but he helped my family, he helped me get my life back. I recently lost Slider, and I started going downhill fast, so I contacted K9s For Warriors, and they immediately added me into the March class. I was paired with Lady Cameo this month, and we immediately hit it off – she loves to give licks and kisses, but she also seems to know when I'm starting to have a trigger. I'm excited to go home and make my relationships with family better."1


  1. K9s For Warriors celebrates milestone achievement: 1,000 veterans paired with life-saving service dogs. News release. K9s For Warriors. March 22, 2024. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  2. Military service members and veterans. Suicide Prevention Resource Center. accessed March 28, 2024.,place%20comprehensive%20suicide%20prevention%20programs.
  3. Kemp J, Bossarte R. Suicide data report, 2012: Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Services Suicide Prevention Program. 2012. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  4. Yankowicz S. Veterans report healthier cortisol levels from the support and companionship of service dogs. dvm360. February 15, 2024. Accessed March 28, 2024.
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