JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A dog training company in Jacksonville is giving back to the veteran community in a special way.
Ridgeside K9 partners up with the Rescue 22 Foundation to train service dogs for veterans at no cost. Ridgeside K9 trains these pups for about 6 to 9 months before they’re placed with their veteran.
“With Ridgeside K9 we trained dogs generally for basic obedience, but we are partnered with the Rescue 22 Foundation,” said Ridgeside K9 Dog Trainer Gregory Hunt.
The costs associated with getting a service dog can be up to $40,000, a cost the Veterans Administration doesn’t typically cover.
“The foundation doing all the fundraising themselves, being able to place these dogs in homes, for the veterans for free is truly a life-changing experience,” said Hunt.
Ridgeside K9 says they’ve recently trained and placed two dogs, one in Pennsylvania and another down in Florida. The one in Pennsylvania was given to a double amputee veteran. His lab is a mobility service animal, and they’re meant to help owners who have physical limitations.
The second type of service dog they train is psychiatric, and these dogs are given to veterans who suffer from conditions like PTSD.
Ridgeside K9 says it’s a life-changing experience to be able to provide these trained pups to veterans.
“It’s a big experience for us as well you know, normally as we’re inside canine doing obedience training for the pet dogs locally, you know, it’s a big thing for us to be able to give back to veterans,” said Hunt.
If you’re interested in donating to the foundation or applying for the program, get more information at these links: