The Petco Foundation sponsors ‘Moose’ as psychiatric service dog for a U.S. military veteran

San Diego, CA, September 1, 2016—-Shelter to Soldier, headquartered in San Diego, CA, announced it has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to underwrite the cost to adopt, house, care for, train and place a shelter dog with a post-9/11 combat veteran through Shelter to Soldier’s service dog training program.

Every day on average, twenty (20) U.S. veterans and one (1) active duty service member commit suicide (Department of Veteran Affairs) and every day, 3200 dogs are euthanized in the U.S. Studies estimate that one in every five military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is suffering from PTSD and/or TBI. That’s an average of one life lost every 68.5 minutes. Every year, America sees approximately 7.6 million animals enter shelters. This year alone, 1.2 million dogs will be euthanized due to space, behavioral problems, or medical complications.

The grant was made possible through the Petco Foundation’s annual Helping Heroes fundraising campaign, in partnership with Natural Balance Pet Foods. During the campaign each October, customers are invited to donate in Petco stores across the country to support service and therapy animals and organizations.

The Petco Foundation investment will help to alleviate the post-combat symptoms veterans endure while providing a purpose and home for a shelter dog. Together, the veteran and psychiatric service dog will create a bond that will transform the lives of both. The services Shelter to Soldier provides for free to veterans and their commitment to adopt service dogs, fulfills their mission of “Saving Lives, Two at a Time”.

“We recently adopted the Petco Foundation-sponsored dog, affectionately named “ Moose”, from the San Diego Department of Animal Services Bonita shelter. He is a two-year-old Labrador/Pit mix (endearingly called a “labrabull”) with a spunky but sweet personality, and a keen desire to work and please his handler. We’re thrilled to have found him and grateful to the Petco Foundation for making his journey possible”, remarked Shelter to Soldier Co-Founder Kyrié Bloem.

To learn more about veteran-support services provided by Shelter to Soldier, call (855) 287-8659 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility or visit Information regarding the Petco Foundation can be located at, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.

About Shelter to Soldier

Shelter to Soldier is a CA 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other injuries associated with traumatic service experiences. Founder and Training Director of Specialty Dog Training and Shelter to Soldier, Graham Bloem, has been training dogs professionally for more than fourteen years. He has a true understanding of dog behavior and is passionate about animal rescue and giving back to the men and women in uniform who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms. Graham is the proud recipient of the 10News Leadership and the 2016 Waggy Award. Shelter to Soldier is a gold participant of GuideStar and accredited by the Patriot’s Initiative.

About the Petco Foundation

At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we’ve invested more than $167 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we’ve helped more than 5 million pets find their new loving families, and we’re just getting started. Visit to learn more about how you can get involved.

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