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!

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!


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.

SBF Alum Featured in LivAbility Magazine

SBF Alum Featured in LivAbility Magazine

As of June 20 of this year, 185 veteran and dog teams have successfully graduated the SBF program. Each of these teams have witnessed first-hand the undeniable advantages of having a “best friend” and battle buddy. While we are extremely proud of their dedication and commitment to the program and each other, we are in complete awe with what these teams accomplish together in their day-to-day lives after graduation.

Photo of David and Caleb by Johanna Huckeba

A true testament to the SBF program and mission is seen in the graduate team of David and Caleb. Like many veterans who have witnessed the harsh outcomes of war, David was living with PTSD, making it difficult for him to readjust to civilian life once he returned home. The obstacles David was facing made seeing the light at the end of the tunnel nearly impossible which prompted his decision to search for help. He reached out to SBF with the hopes of regaining control of his life and that is when he was introduced to Caleb. The two trained together to establish the trust, love, protection, and companionship they both lacked prior to meeting each other. Graduation came in August 2015 and things continue to look up for the dynamic duo.

LivAbility Magazine captured a piece of David’s life after Soldier’s Best Friend. He is involved in an assortment of community outreaches which includes providing resources to other veterans and their families and volunteering at homeless shelters for veterans and troubled youth. “I want to do as much as I personally can to give back because so much was given back to me”. We are beyond proud of David for not stopping at improving his own life but continuing to positively impact the lives of the veterans and families he comes in contact with.

Photo of Caleb by Johanna Huckeba

Click here to read the full article on David and Caleb, pages 58-59, in LivAbility Magazine.


Peoria Today Highlights SBF Mission

Peoria Today Highlights SBF Mission

Damian and Bella (2014 Graduates) demonstrate to the Saguaro Chapter of the SAR their ability to operate as a team.

Soldier’s Best Friend was honored to join the Saguaro Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution as they hosted one of their monthly meetings. While there, Damian, who is our Director of Veteran Services, and his best friend Bella represented SBF and the extensive training veteran and dog teams go through while in our program. SBF is an organization dedicated to pairing, training and serving U.S. active duty and military veterans living with combat-related PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs. Most dogs in our program, like Bella, come from shelters all across Arizona which helps us maintain our mission of touching and saving two lives at once.

See below for the full transcript of the article or click on the picture above to visit the source.

Group learns about soldier dogs

Animals help veterans cope

By Stan Hughes


March 22, 2017  |  Page A23

Sons of the Revolution members learned how important dogs are to helping American veterans returning from overseas.

Damian King and his dog, Bella, from Soldiers’ Best Friend, demonstrated at a meeting of the Sons of the American Revolution the training each went through to help each other. Mr. King is Soldier’s Best Friend veterans programs director.

The mission of Soldier’s Best Friend is to provide U.S. military veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury with service or therapeutic companion dogs. Most of the dogs are rescued from local shelters. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once.

The Sons of the American Revolution is the leading male lineage society that perpetuates the ideals of the War for Independence. Those who have an ancestor who supported the cause of American Independence during the years 1774– 1783 are invited to join the SAR.

The Saguaro Chapter is an active group serving all West Valley cities and communities. The Saguaro Chapter meets for breakfast the fourth Saturday each month from September to May at the Golden Corral, 17674 N. Litchfield Road, Surprise. Call Jan Huber, registrar, at 623-975-4805.

Editor’s Note: Mr. Hughes is a Peoria resident and member of the Saguaro Chpater of SAR.

Copyright © 2017 Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA, All rights reserved. 3/22/2017

SBF on ABC15 Arizona: Memorial Day

SBF on ABC15 Arizona: Memorial Day

Phillip and Samson after Samson passed his Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC).

Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF) is dedicated to reducing the symptoms some combat veterans face once their final mission serving our country is complete by means of a service dog or therapeutic companion dog. A great example of our program is found in the veteran and dog team of Phillip and Samson. Their story of finding each other through the SBF program was captured by ABC15 Arizona this past Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, we are given the opportunity to pause and reflect on the freedom we have because of the men and women who sacrificed their lives to protect it. While we mourn the loss of our brave service men and women, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, we must also be aware of the ones who come home but continue to fight in the mental battlefield brought on by memories and physical injuries of war.

Phillip enlisted after 9-11 and his Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms, related to his time serving in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, were completely dictating his life. He reached out to Soldier’s Best Friend with the hopes of addressing and lessening those symptoms and that is how he was paired with Samson. Samson was brought to us via The Fetch Foundation where they saw potential for him to perform in an honorable role such as that of a service dog.

Phillip and Samson have worked and trained for many hours to reach their goals. They are looking forward to their upcoming graduation, when they will join the other 170 SBF alumni. While graduation is an accomplishment we absolutely celebrate with our teams and families, touching two lives at once and inspiring countless others is a mission SBF is dedicated to continue.

If you missed the ABC15 segment featuring Phillip and Samson, you can watch the video provided here or visit ABC15’s website.

Rotary Event for SBF in the News

Rotary Event for SBF in the News

The Foothills Focus published an article on the front page of their March 8, 2017 issue highlighting the upcoming Rotary Club of Scottsdale North fundraising event for SBF. Tickets are available for this fun event on Saturday evening, March 18, at Pinnacle Peak Village. Thank you to The Foothills Focus for the publicity and to Rotary Club of Scottsdale North for all their hard work hosting this event for the benefit of veteran/dog teams in our program.

Entire article as published in The Foothills Focus on March 8, 2017: http://www.thefoothillsfocus.com/030817-RotaryClub.asp

Peoria Chick-Fil-A and American Legion Auxiliary Sponsor Team

Peoria Chick-Fil-A and American Legion Auxiliary Sponsor Team

In honor of the World War I peace treaty signed at 11 a.m. on 11/11, the Arrowhead Chick-Fil-A donated 11% of their proceeds to the Peoria American Legion Auxiliary Unit 62. The Auxiliary raised the remaining funds to combine with this donation to sponsor a Soldier’s Best Friend veteran/dog team. This is a wonderful example of how teamwork in our community can benefit veterans. Soldier’s Best Friend thanks the Arrowhead Chick-Fil-A and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 62 for their support as well as their collaborative spirit to work together to accomplish this goal.

Entire article as seen in the Sun City Independent on December 7, 2016: Sun_City_Independent_20161207_A16_0

SBF on Fox 10 Phoenix: Grand Opening of Training Campus

SBF on Fox 10 Phoenix: Grand Opening of Training Campus

Soldier’s Best Friend celebrated the Grand Opening of the new Training Campus on November 3, 2016. Fox 10 Phoenix interviewed Founder and Board President John Burnham, DVM about the important of the new Training Campus and the positive impact it will make.


‘Soldier’s Best Friend’ helps Valley veterans fight PTSD

By: FOX 10 Staff

Posted:Nov 03 2016 12:37PM MST

Updated:Nov 03 2016 09:54PM MST

A Valley non-profit has trained hundreds of service dogs for vets with PTSD.

And they’ve done it without a facility that they could call their own.

But on Thursday it all changed.

The bond between a veteran and the furry friends beside them can be special and life-changing.

“Anywhere from tear-jerking to literally taking your breath away,” John Brunham said.

Five-and-a-half-years-ago, John was inspired to being “Soldier’s Best Friend.” As a veterinarian and now the non-profit’s president, he’s seen how a service dog can help in the battle against PTSD.
‘Soldier’s Best Friend’ helps Valley veterans fight PTSD

“We hear from veterans directly, we hear from spouses and significant others, we hear from moms and dads; the changes that they’ve seen in themselves or in their loved ones and how they’ve begun to adjust to civilian life,” he said.

The organization spends six-to-nine months training the dogs to perform tasks like fetching medication or simply staying by a veteran’s side. Until today, all of that training has been in shared spaces around the Valley.


Source: Fox 10 Phoenix << Read full story

SBF Grand Opening featured on Glendale Daily Planet

SBF Grand Opening featured on Glendale Daily Planet

Soldier’s Best Friend celebrated the Grand Opening of the new Training Campus on November 3, 2016. The Glendale Daily Planet covered the event.

Touching 2 Lives at Once: Soldier’s Best Friend grand opening

By Bette Sharpe – Glendale Daily Planet

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, was the official grand opening for Soldier’s Best Friend, 14505 N. 75thAvenue, Peoria, Arizona, 85381.

Soldier’s Best Friend provides United States military veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters.

Soldier’s Best Friend is a 501(3)3 tax exempt organization founded in 2011.

After the veteran or active military member is accepted to the program, they begin training with our professional trainers. They are provided a rescued/shelter dog or train with their own dog, if it meets SBF’s criteria. Training takes about 6-9 months. The pair attend training classes two times a week. During training the dog lives with the veteran. There is no cost to the veteran for placement, training and basic supplies. The approximate cost to pair, equip and train is $4,000, per team. There are currently 41 teams currently in training as of last month. Three-hundred and 25 have been accepted into the program. And as of September 2016, one-hundred and 50 teams have graduated from the program. Over one-hundred dogs have been rescued from local shelters.

Source: Glendale Daily Planet << click here for full story