Two shelter dogs chosen as ‘battle buddies’

Southampton Animal Shelter & K9s for Warriors

Two shelter dogs at The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation were accepted into K9s for Warriors, a program that trains and pairs veterans with service dogs. Ace, a two-year-old yellow labrador, and Max, a two-year-old pit bull mix, will train with the upcoming class and graduate this November as service dogs. Max is the first registered pit bull accepted into the program.

“We are so happy to accept more wonderful dogs for our K9s for Warriors program,” stated Deb Hunnicutt of K9 for Warriors. “Thanks to the great training from Southampton, they are on their way to their future as battle buddies for our warriors. They are fitting in and doing great. We look forward to receiving more candidates for our program from the Southampton Animal Shelter.”

SASF established a partnership with K9s for Warriors in 2017. Marley, the first shelter dog from the state of New York to be accepted and to have graduated from the program, is a yellow lab from SASF. Marley now serves as a service dog, paired with a veteran suffering from PTSD.

“For too long, animal shelters have struggled to place large, strong dogs who are not always suitable candidates for a family home. SASF recognized their potential to serve as service dogs and through the amazing efforts of our Behavior & Training team have been able to demonstrate to organizations like K9s for Warriors and others that pairing a shelter dog with a veteran suffering from PTSD saves two lives,” said Jerry Rosenthal, Executive Director of SASF. “I am so proud of the SASF team as they once again demonstrate what makes our shelter one of the most respected animal welfare organizations in our area.”

SASF has plans to expand the program by saving dogs from other shelters on Long Island and training them to be support dogs.

jessica@indyeastend.com