June 29, 2020
With the support from the Petco Foundation’s Helping Heroes grant, Shelter to Soldier adopted a gorgeous (from the inside-out!) shepherd mix named “Scout” from Labs and More (Labradors, Retrievers and More) Rescue out of San Diego According to Shelter to Soldier President Graham Bloem, “So far, he’s an all-star in training and has thrived immensely in working with our team. It‘s obvious to our staff that he was destined for a great purpose as he has a special way about him. Our training regimen has refined wonderful traits of companionship and a renewed confidence in Scout. He’s put himself on the fast track in our program, excelling in his training every day. He’s on target to begin the process of meeting veterans to start handler training, most likely in the summer of 2020.”
From Oct. 5 to Oct. 27, 2019, the Petco Foundation raised funds to support thousands of therapy, service and working animals that have a significant impact on people across the nation. The Petco Foundation places a special emphasis on programs that obtain dogs from shelters to transform them into “Helping Heroes.” Donations throughout October of last year were collected at Petco stores and online. Shelter to Soldier was selected as a recipient of the campaign, with an added charitable component.
According to Kyrié Bloem, Shelter to Soldier co-founder and vice president, “To maximize their impact this year, the Petco Foundation generously pledged to match up to $20,000 in donations given to Shelter to Soldier through the month of October, 2019, to support our comprehensive work to facilitate dog rescues for our service dog program, and to support our veterans suffering from invisible wounds, such as Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and more. We’re tremendously grateful for their continued support that enables us to expand our services.”
It is estimated that 16 veterans lose their lives to suicide every day in the United States, and in 2018 alone, 6,317 veterans took their lives. Shelter to Soldier is committed to making an impact on these devastating statistics by providing hope through the companionship of a psychiatric service dog who provides non-judgmental, 24/7 support and motivation to veterans otherwise debilitated by mental illness.
Since 2012, the Petco Foundation has invested more than $14 million to support the life-changing work of all helping heroes. These Helping Heroes not only safeguard the military and support wounded U.S. veterans, but they also rescue people during disasters, help provide independence, comfort the sick and even benefit children learning to read.