More than a game of fetch: Boeing employees train service dogs for veterans

Boeing's new community partner has a unique approach to helping veterans

June 28, 2019 in Community

Warrior Canine Connection has one mission: help veterans recover from the stress of combat and reconnect with the people who are most important to them. In 2018, Boeing invested $100,000 to help the nonprofit achieve its mission.

Warrior Canine Connection is unique in its approach to treatment; it uses what is known as a mission-based trauma-recovery model. It matches service dogs with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other combat-related psychological injuries. But veterans also help train the dogs, and in the process, the veterans learn how to manage their stress and reconnect with society.

“We thought Warrior Canine Connection’s program was so impactful and inspiring that we had to support it,” said Sarah Kyrouac, Boeing Global Engagement Manager. “Boeing is committed to programs that are focused on recovery and rehabilitation because our veterans deserve the best care when they return home.”

Dogs go through nearly two years of training before being placed with a veteran—18 months of that time is spent with “puppy parents” who help socialize the dogs in the community. Each dog can impact 60 veteran-trainers before being placed with its permanent veteran.

Earlier this year, a group of Boeing employees visited the Warrior Canine Connection training center outside Washington, D.C. to experience a training session. Watch the video above to see what Warrior Canine Connection’s program is all about.

Meet the next generation of service dogs

Warrior Canine Connection’s service dogs begin their training when they are puppies. They spend the first few months of their lives at special facility in Boyds, Maryland, and the public is invited to check in on these service-dogs-in-training via a special “puppy cam” on Warrior Canine Connection’s website. Boeing grant dollars will go to programs that develop and train these dogs and help the organization expand its programs to more veterans.

In 2018, Boeing invested more than $30 million to support military and veterans organizations including Dog Tag, Inc, USO Pathfinder, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Invictus Games.