Most of us can’t imagine what it feels like to return from war with traumatic memories that make it difficult to live back at home. But Brett Simon does, and when his parents saw him struggling after serving two tours in Iraq, they knew they had to do something.
Simon worked as a bomb dog handler and was also a former K9 Police Officer, so his family started researching how a service dog might help. A service dog ended up being so helpful, the Duval family knew they had to share this help with others; it was here the non-profit K9s For Warriors was born.
“Brett is the reason we are so successful,” his mother and the organization’s founder Shari Duval says. “The veterans relate to him and trust him because he speaks their language.”
K9s For Warriors rescues dogs they think will be good service animals, targeting those with no time left. They often pick up dogs with less than a week left to euthanasia at local shelters. From there, professional trainers spend months with the dogs, teaching them to become certified service dogs.
“All of our trainers that work with the warriors have deployed and have a service dog, just like them,” Duval says. “It’s what sets us apart.”