K9 With A Mission is a program designed to fund support, service and companion dogs for our Veterans. This is a program under the umbrella of Swim With A Mission, a not for profit, which since its formation in 2017 has already donated over $6 million to support our Veterans.
FUND A DOG PLEDGE
After 20 years of the War on Terror, the longest war in the history of our Country, our special forces, including the Navy SEALs have been engaged in decades of some of the fiercest combat. They have had some of the toughest assignments and fought bravely side by side with the rest of our soldiers. After so much combat, some of our SEALs are now trying to make the transition to the civilian world while in some cases overcoming physical and mental injuries. Some of our warriors are in need of a service dog to assist in that transition. The bond between an elite operator and an elite canine provides the structure and fellowship many Veterans find lacking upon their transition to the civilian world, something they often feel is missing after leaving years of training and combat behind. We would like to make sure that every SEAL and every other veteran that needs a service or support dog, gets one. Working with Baden K-9 in Ontario, the Navy SEAL Museum K9 Project places dogs with SEALs with diverse needs, such as mobility limitations, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder, providing them with working dogs that dramatically improve their quality of life – physically and emotionally.
This program inspired Swim With A Mission to create K9 With A Mission, dedicated to raising funds to purchase service and support K9’s for our veterans. In 2019, we asked for support and our donors gave $255,000 to fund 17 service K9’s. So we are back trying again. This time, from July 8 – 10th, we are running a special fund a need program.
Each time we raise $15,000,
another elite warrior or veteran
will receive a service or support dog!
K9 With A Mission’s most recent donation occurred on January 13th of this year. We are so pleased to provide the funds for another working dog to be paired with a veteran of the Special Operations community. Through the National Navy SEAL Museum’s K9 Project Program and with the unwavering support from their partner Baden K-9, a 14-month-old Saber Shepherd named “K9 Cato” was presented to a special operations veteran at the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida on Jan 13, 2021. “K9 Cato” is a fully-trained service dog from a long line of seasoned working dogs. He has already been embedded with his handler to provide companionship, as well as support in mobility and rehabilitation following combat. Cato’s training will be ongoing through the K9 Project and Baden K9 curriculum as the operator’s needs evolve.
On May 29, 2020 K9 With A Mission provided the funds for another working dog to be paired with a veteran of the Special Operations community. Through the National Navy SEAL Museum’s K9 Project Program and with the unwavering support from their partner Baden K-9, a 12-month-old Belgian Malinois was presented to a special operations veteran at the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida on May 29, 2020. “K9 Dawson” is the son of the Museum’s lead working dog Raven. Named for William “Bill” Dawson, one of the last remaining Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) operators of World War II who passed away last year, the young pup has been noted for his exceeding intelligence and even temperament. Like his namesake, Dawson’s life will be dedicated to meaningful service, following a legacy of great honor.
Previous K-9 Donations
K9 WITH A MISSION PHOTO GALLERY
HOW DO SUPPORT/SERVICE DOGS HELP VETERANS?
When we reflect on our Veterans, especially those that have been in combat and have seen and done things that are incomprehensible to the rest of us, those experiences are hard to process and cope with. When they arrive back on their home soil and find themselves outside the battlefield, without other soldiers, it can be hard for them to carry the weight of what they have experienced.
The companionship of a support dog has been known to have a very positive impact on Veterans, so we need to do what we can to get dogs to Veterans who need them. We invite you to be inspired and join our mission to match the finest and most capable dogs with Veterans who need the physical and emotional support of a battle buddy that loves them unconditionally.
Each organization benefiting from K9 With A Mission was established to provide veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, anxiety, traumatic brain injuries, and physical disabilities with a highly-trained service dog free of charge. Many of the organizations train dogs from rescue organizations, shelters, animal control agencies, and humane societies. All of them are committed to giving back to our country’s veterans and improve their quality of life and restoring their independence. The goal of many of these charities is to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the dogs and the veterans.
K9 With A Mission is a program of Swimming With A Mission, Inc. a NH based 501(c)(3) non profit organization. All events are fundraisers to further support Veteran service organizations.
K9 SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS
K9 With A Mission works closely with the following organizations to provide service and support dogs to Veterans.
Hero Pups is a New Hampshire-based, non-profit organization that pairs support dogs with veterans and first responders throughout New England who have been diagnosed with service-related psychological challenges. Laura Barker founded the organization after her son was wounded in Afghanistan. Hero Pups was founded on the belief that since our Heroes have already given so much, it’s the least we can do to provide them a companion to help them lead a happier life, free of charge. Hero Pups received 501(c)(3) status in 2016. Our program is headquartered on 50-acres of private, rent-free land in New Hampshire. Before our program’s second anniversary, community members, local businesses, and volunteers came together to make our kennel building and quarantine zone for incoming dogs possible. And by our fourth anniversary in 2020, our sponsors and volunteers helped to turn an existing building into a training building. This included new flooring, insulation, garage doors, and furnace repairs. Our facility is not excessive, but the dogs have everything they could need and are very comfortable. We choose to focus on the dogs and Heroes – not fancy swimming pools or career aspirations. Hero Pups is 100 percent volunteer-run with no paid staff.
Operation Delta Dog is a nonprofit based out of Hollis, NH that rescues homeless dogs and trains them to become service dogs for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and other related challenges. Most service dog training organizations use trainers or prison training programs to train their service dogs, and then veterans must travel to their facility for a short period of time at their own expense to learn how to work with their new service animal. The veteran then returns home with the animal and little is done by way of follow-up with their success or struggles. Operation Delta Dog takes a hands-on role in the training of their service dogs and continues support throughout the life of the dog and beyond. Veterans are matched with a dog after the dog goes through an extensive twelve-week foundation training program with Operation Delta Dog’s training director, dog trainers and kennel assistants. Veterans then start attending classes with their dog at least twice per week to make sure the match is a good one for both the veteran and dog. After another four to six weeks, if the match works, the dog will move in with the Veteran and they will continue to come to classes together, have one-on-one home training sessions, and attend educational opportunities and meetings with veteran caseworkers until the dog is fully trained.