Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Holiday!

As we near the end of 2018, we think back on all the wonderful things this year brought to Soldier’s Best Friend. Through the incredible support of many of you, many teams have successfully completed their training. To date, 258 veteran/dog teams have graduated. That means 516 lives forever changed. Many foundations, civic groups, American Legions, other veteran groups, businesses, families and individuals contributed gifts to make it possible to offer this life-changing program at no cost to the veterans. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We continue to utilize our beautiful campus in Peoria, AZ. This year, one of our graduates in Sierra Vista gifted SBF building space for training. Now our teams in the southern part of Arizona have dedicated space, giving them the ability to train with fewer distractions. We continue to train in borrowed spaces in our other training areas including, East Valley Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott and Flagstaff.

Our annual Sporting Clay event and Golf Tournament were both successful this year, raising funds to support teams in our program. Thanks to all the participants, sponsors, volunteers and other supporters who had a part in this success. We look forward to hosting both of these events in 2019 and hope you will join us.

There are many more wonderful things that came our way this year and, if you were a part of it, we thank you. We recognize how fortunate we are to have such dedicated volunteers, donors, trainers, sponsors and supporters. You are critical to the success story. Whether you know if or not, you are making a lasting impact in many lives. So during this holiday season of celebration, we celebrate you, and wish you all the best for a happy holiday.

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on November 27th and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back.

Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y – a community and cultural center in New York City − #GivingTuesday inspired millions of people to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $300 million was raised online to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness. “We are incredibly inspired by the way the #GivingTuesday community has embraced this concept for a worldwide movement,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and Executive Director of 92Y. “As we prepare for November 27, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. The levels of creativity, effort and the quality of the new ideas people have contributed and shared are phenomenal.”

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we want to say “thank you” to everyone who has supported Soldier’s Best Friend. Whether you have supported us with a donation, sponsorship, participating in one of our events, or you have given of your time and talent, you have been an integral part of helping us grow and thrive. We sincerely thank you for your gifts.

If you would like to support Soldier’s Best Friend on Giving Tuesday, please make your donation via our website. Your gift will benefit combat veterans and Arizona homeless dogs going through our training program. A combat veteran and their canine partner will learn the tasks and skills they need to navigate as a team in public. Your gift will help provide them with professional training, equipment and tools, veterinary care and the support they need to succeed. Thank you for your generosity on this day of giving.

Honoring Veterans

Honoring Veterans

Veteran’s Day is a day of remembrance and gratitude.  We honor and celebrate the men and women who have bravely served our nation and fought to maintain our freedoms. For some the fight continues, long after they return home. We encourage everyone to be aware of the internal battles that veterans may face. Today, and everyday, we thank all veterans for your service, courage, and strength.

Veterans in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Call 800-273-8255 and press 1
Chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat
Text to 838255

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July

Each year on the 4th of July holiday, we celebrate the historic day we declared our independence. While it is easy to get carried away by the excitement of all that is taking place, let’s remember the veterans and active military members who find it a little harder to cope with their symptoms of PTSD around Independence Day. The fireworks we enjoy watching explode in the night sky, with their piercing noise and bright flashes of light, can be a trigger for unwelcome memories and flashbacks for combat veterans. Not all veterans with PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries are affected by fireworks. However, for some, it takes them right back to the battlefield. As we all look forward to the 4th of July, let’s remember those who fought and sacrificed so much of themselves for the freedoms we celebrate.

Related imagePlease keep your pet’s safety in mind too during the holiday. The 4th of July is a difficult time for a lot of pets. The unusual roaring fireworks nearby can send some pets into a terrified frenzy. “Animal control officials across the country see a 30-60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and 6th. In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters” (PetAmberAlert, 2016).

By using some common sense, you can help protect your pet or find them if they run away during the holiday. There are a number of reputable websites with pet safety tips. For example, take a photo of your pet just in case the unthinkable happens and they become lost. Is your pet microchipped?

If you live in an environment where it is hot, and most of us do this time of year, think about heat safety for both humans and pets. Make sure this 4th of July is fun and safe for everyone.

KSLX 100.7 4PetsForVets Campaign

KSLX 100.7 4PetsForVets Campaign

During the third week of June, in tandem with PTSD Awareness Month, 100.7 KSLX radio hosted an on-air fundraiser to benefit the veterans and Arizona homeless dogs coming into our service/companion dog training program. Setting their original goal at $20,000 seemed like a reach, but they hoped their listening audience would rally and support the cause. The KSLX team pulled out all the stops with their social media, on-air promos throughout the day, and messages all week during the morning commute show by Mark and NeaderPaul. They put together a heart-tugging montage of sound bites from several of our SBF graduates talking about how their lives have changed for the better since having their service dog.

Not only did the KSLX audience come through, they responded with great enthusiasm. At one point on the final day of the campaign, donations were coming into the SBF website so fast the donors crashed our server. Thankfully, our website designer was monitoring it closely and fixed it in less than two minutes. The final result of the campaign was astounding, with nearly $55,000 raised to support veteran/dog teams.

All of us at Soldier’s Best Friend send a special ‘thank you’ to everyone who generously contributed to Mark & NeanderPaul’s “4 Pets For Vets” campaign on 100.7 KSLX radio. We are so humbled by the tremendous outpouring of community support for the veterans and Arizona homeless dogs helped by our service/companion animal training program. Your generosity will directly impact incoming veteran/dog teams and help change their lives.

Mark and NeaderPaul shared this message, “It’s difficult to express how grateful we are to our listeners and clients who contributed to help combat veterans and shelter dogs through Soldier’s Best Friend. We can’t wait to do it again!” -Mark & NeanderPaul, 100.7 KSLX

In the words of a few of our graduates:
“I don’t feel alone anymore because she is always there. She relieved my symptoms in crowds and she helps tremendously when a debilitating anxiety attack stops me in my tracks.”

“He has saved me from my own destruction and continues to do so. Teaching me how to be able to function like a civilian in a world unknown to me.”

From all of us at Soldier’s Best Friend, thank you!

Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

May 30, 1966 was the first declaration of Memorial Day in the country. Originally, Memorial Day only celebrated the lives of those who fought and perished in the Civil War. Today we honor and recognize all American men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom in the line of duty. Although we remember our veterans who braved the fight every day, for 52 years this holiday has been a pinnacle point for paying tribute on a national stage.

We get the day off, not to spend lakeside or to applaud our own hard work from day to day, but to highlight the service and life of those who lost their right to it, fighting for ours. It is our duty to support the efforts of those most brave and to reflect on the sacrifices made to maintain our rights to live as freely as we do. There isn’t a single day that goes by that those men and women are not sorely missed by their family, friends, brothers/sisters in combat and by our team at Soldier’s Best Friend.

Each year it becomes increasingly more difficult as the numbers of lives only tallies higher. It is with heavy hearts that we seek to acknowledge those who have given their all for the country they love. Whether those veterans fell to a musket at Gettysburg, were swallowed at the beaches of Normandy, struggled for breath through the jungles of Vietnam, or sacrificed over an IED in the Middle East, we owe them unwavering gratitude for giving their life to maintain the safety and prosperity of ours.

This Memorial Day we encourage everyone throughout the Soldier’s Best Friend community and beyond to make it a point to show your appreciation. Even in the smallest gestures, you are playing a vital role in the celebration and remembrance of those who have served.

Soldier’s Best Friend wants to thank all of our veterans who continue to fight, knowing what sacrifice might one day be required of them. We are grateful for the next generation of men and women who serve, not ever letting fear derail their patriotism.

It isn’t without loss that we truly value what we have gained. No matter which branch they fought under, they stood united in their fight.

SBF in PetSmart Charities Ad

SBF in PetSmart Charities Ad

PetSmart Charities chose SBF for their ad campaign highlighting some of the nonprofits they support. We are very honored to be part of this and appreciate PetSmart Charities’ support for our service dog training program. Below is a link to the 60-second ad that includes SBF teams along with other nonprofits. They are working on additional footage specific to SBF. When we receive those links, we will share them as well. Thank you PetSmart Charities!


SBF 7th Annual Sporting Clay Event

SBF 7th Annual Sporting Clay Event

Join us for a unique fundraiser and fun day at Ben Avery Clay Target Center. SBF is hosting our annual Sporting Clay event on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Players of all skill levels are welcome to participate. Last year, we saw the largest registration turnout since starting this event. Help us break that record this year. Player Registration

Strong support for last year’s event provided direct funding of equipment and training for veteran/dog teams participating in our program. To date, we have graduated a total of 210 teams. At any given time, an average of 35-45 teams are in training. Your support for this year’s event will help us continue to provide this life-changing service for veterans and their canine partners, while also helping to increase our visibility and encourage veterans to stay engaged in their community.

Businesses can support our cause through a sponsorship. There are more choices this year than ever before, giving you the ability to choose an option that best fits your interest and budget. We’re excited to announce that an anonymous sponsor will match dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 in additional sponsorships. This is a great way to double your support for a worthy cause. A sponsorship at any level is greatly appreciated and now even more effective. Whether you are interested in making a tax deductible donation, increasing your company’s visibility or simply having fun in your community, there are many options to show your support while honoring those who have served.

Should you have questions, please contact Jay Montoya at (623) 218-6486 or email [email protected] All proceeds from the tournament will be used to continue our pair and train program and provide ongoing support to veteran/dog teams at no cost to the veteran.

On behalf of our veterans and their best friends, we thank you for your support.  We look forward to your participation in our Sporting Clay Tournament and appreciate your commitment to those who have served our country.

Go to the Sporting Clay webpage


14-year-old Scout Helps SBF

14-year-old Scout Helps SBF

Source: 12News website

Watch the news story video

With persistence, dedication and love, Hayden Larkin, a Boy Scout, has created one of the first dog agility courses in his troop.

Hayden, from Surprise, is 14 years old and is currently a Life Scout with Troop 194.

He is the brains behind the invention of the dog agility course that will help train rescued dogs for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“The whole reason for the dog agility course and how that came about was, I initially wanted to go to Alaska and help build dog shelters,” said Hayden.

He decided to put his creative energy and his heart into giving back to a local organization called a Soldier’s Best Friend.

“My mother found a mutual friend between herself and an organization called a Soldier’s Best Friend,” said Hayden. “They said they would like an agility course to be made and I said, ‘I can do that.’”

Hayden researched other agility courses and gave himself the challenge to create one.

“A-frames, dog walks, tunnels, wing jumps, weave pools — I looked it up all at home,” said Hayden. “I bet if I complied these, I could turn it into a course.”

So far, Hayden has already spent over 100 community service hours just on this course alone.

“And that doesn’t include the work still left to be done and the work that will be continued on,” said Chad Larkin, Hayden’s father and the assistant scout master for Troop 194. “Boy Scouts gives back hundreds and thousands of hours every year.”

We decided to test the agility course with one of Hayden’s pups — it didn’t go so well.

But the good news is that with more training and patience, other rescued pups will be able to change the life of a veteran.

“This organization is perfect. It’s everything I would make if I could make any organization,” said Hayden.

Hayden’s course is all made from donations. He even took a chance at tweeting President Donald Trump to see if maybe he would want to donate towards his course — no response.

Hayden’s not stopping here — he plans on extending his course. He will deliver his course to the organization at the end of December.

“I’m pretty proud to see that it is almost done, that it is officially created, that it’s here,” said Hayden.