Albuquerque, New Mexico, veteran Richard Baca Jr. is back from Camp K9 in Ponte Vedra, Florida, and is bonding with his new service dog, Jersey.
Baca, a 26-year military veteran who struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was assigned the service dog through the nonprofit organization K9s for Warriors. As part of their program, Baca recently completed a three-week course at the training facility with two-year-old Jersey.
“I learned his name was Jersey because Jersey Mike’s Subs donated the money for him,” Baca says. “I am eternally grateful—Jersey has given me hope and a whole new outlook on life and my future.”
K9s for Warriors is the nation’s largest provider of service dogs for American veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and/or military sexual trauma. In K9s for Warriors’ unique program, disabled veterans mitigate PTSD symptoms through the use of task-centered dog commands taught by professional trainers. The life-saving training provided helps veterans reintegrate into civilian society with dignity and independence. Warriors reside on K9s for Warriors’ campus for three weeks and receive 120 hours of instruction prior to service dog team graduation.
"A staggering number of veterans returning from combat suffer from PTSD—the invisible wounds of war," says Rory Diamond, CEO, K9s For Warriors. "To date, we've been able to help nearly 320 military heroes by pairing them with a service dog that has been trained for their specific needs. We are so grateful for this funding and support from Jersey Mike’s Subs; it will help our organization continue to provide life-saving service dogs to veterans that urgently need our help.”