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Canines For Veterans

June 9, 2020

In 2015, Petland, Inc. committed to supporting the cost of one dog per year for five years. The average cost to raise and train each service dog is $7,200. This May, in addition to the yearly commitment, Petland company stores initiated a ‘Round Up at the Register’ campaign for Heartland and raised more than $7,000. Petland locations in Dunwoody (GA), Rome (GA), Dalton (GA), Iowa City (IA) and Hillsboro (OH) also contributed.

“Approximately 17 U.S. veterans die by suicide every day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. For some, a four-legged companion is the difference between life and death,” said Steve Huggins, Executive Director of Petland Charities. “We are so grateful to have been able to raise these funds during such challenging times.”

“During an unprecedented time in our Country, we are so amazed at the generosity of Petland Charities, Petland stores, and Petland customers,” said Kevin Pruitt, Executive Director of Heartland Canines. “Often these dogs are the first step in the healing process for some veterans. We are made up of veterans, military families, and dedicated military and veteran supporters supporting our motto ‘So They Never Walk Alone.’ Our relationship with Petland not only allows us to place purpose-bred service dogs with veterans in need, but also to continue to spread awareness of veteran suicides.”

Since Heartland Canine’s inception and with the current effort, Petland and Petland Charities have contributed more than $73,000. The mission of Heartland Canines for Veterans is to provide purpose-bred, professionally-trained service dogs to veterans in need. These service dogs are provided to the veteran at NO COST to them; Heartland bears all costs relating to procurement, general and veterinary care, training and equipment during the training and pairing process. The organization was established as an active 501c3 non-profit organization in 2015 and is led by a team of veterans, mental health professionals, veterinary staff and professional pet breeders. Heartland’s Service Dog candidates are donated by members of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association, and must undergo rigorous evaluation trials and screenings before being accepted into the training program. A typical service dog training program lasts about 12-14 months, sometimes longer for specialized individual tasks; the ultimate goal is to assist veterans who suffer from illnesses/injuries such as depressive disorders, anxiety, mobility issues and/or Post-Traumatic Stress. Each veteran candidate also completes a thorough application and selection process, designed to identify individual needs, and our board members work with several affiliate veteran organizations to ensure timely and accurate submissions.

Petland’s and Petland Charities’ national Community Service outreach includes offering support to local police, sheriff and fire departments as well as support for military veteran service dogs. The assistance for protective K9 units is most often a feeding program, supplies or fundraising for specific items, such as bite-suits or training gear. Petland stores currently support more than 200 K-9 units across the country. Support for veteran service dogs often goes towards the costs associated with raising, training and on-going care.

Petland and Petland Charities are also supporters of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife Law Enforcement Program K-9 units and the Ohio Rescue Dog Association.

Additionally, Petland supports service and therapy dogs for children through Safari Stan’s Children’s Charities which supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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