Grantor Name: Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

Program Name: Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program

Grant Amount: $30,000

Recipient Name: Soldier’s Best Friend

Overview of Use of Funds: Good Works Grant Writing is excited to congratulate our client, Soldier’s Best Friend, for being selected to receive a $30,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA)! This generous foundation grant will support Soldier’s Best Friend’s Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program during 2024. This program serves as a parallel support plan to each participating veteran’s medical treatment, helping them to reduce PTSD and/or TBI symptoms and improve their quality of life. At no cost to the veteran, each veteran/dog team completes three types of training over six to nine months for a minimum of 180 training hours aligned with Assistance Dogs International standards: Basic Obedience, Public Outings, and Specific Task Assistance. With support from CFSA, Soldier’s Best Friend plans to serve at least 8 veterans in Pima County, 10 veterans in Cochise County, and at least 4 veterans in Yuma County, with 85% of program graduations reporting a decrease in PTSD or TBI symptoms and a notable improvement in overall quality of life.

Overview of Grant Objective/Impact: Soldier’s Best Friend’s Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program employs the owner/trainer model. The participating veteran lives with and trains the dog from the beginning of the relationship, as the veteran/dog complete intensive training alongside their canine companion under the guidance of a professional trainer until the dog qualifies for Service or Therapeutic Companion Dog status. From the time a veteran is paired with a rescue dog, the pair works together to build a supportive and successful life together. Soldier’s Best Friend is also unique in mainly using rescue dogs from local shelters for our program – each dog is vetted to ensure physical and temperamental suitability for our program. They also provide all adoptions, pairings, training, and veterinary care at no cost to the veterans accepted into their Training Program, whereas other organizations may charge fees up to $25,000.