Soldier’s Best Friend to host fundraiser in west Phoenix

Soldier’s Best Friend is hosting its Seventh Annual Sporting Clay Event from at Ben Avery Clay Target Center, 5060 W. Skeet St. in Phoenix, with raising money for the organization.

Soldier’s Best Friend provides U.S. military veterans living with combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 7, a press release states.

“We hope they will come out to support us at this event. We receive an average of 40 inquiries a month from veterans interested in the program, clearly the need exists,” Dr. John Burnham, the local veterinarian who founded the organization in 2011, said in a prepared statement.

“The two critical components of our mission are providing service dogs trained to do PTSD service work which helps mitigate the veteran’s symptoms and readjustment to civilian life and providing homes for local shelter dogs.”

Dr. Burnham said once a dog is paired with a veteran, the team trains together for six to nine months before graduating from the program.

“Soldier’s Best Friend is committed to providing honorable work and loving forever homes for rescue dogs that are suited to this life-changing service,” he said in a prepared statement.

“With each pairing, the veteran and dog build a relationship that can save two lives and inspire countless others.” Upon graduation, the dog qualifies as a trained Service or Therapeutic Companion Dog and aids in the veteran’s readjustment to civilian life, rebuilding self-esteem, confidence and trust through the canine connection.”

Through February 2018, 210 veteran-dog teams have graduated with an additional 44 teams currently in training, according to a release.

All skill levels are welcome and loaner equipment will be available. Registration includes 50 clay pigeons, 50 shotgun shells, lunch, prizes for first, second and third place as well as opportunities for prize drawings for all participants.

Sponsorships remain available and offer a great opportunity to showcase your business. All proceeds from this event will be used to grow the organization’s pair and train program.

The average cost to pair, equip, train and support each veteran/dog team is $4,000. Sponsorships and community support help us provide ongoing support to our veterans and their families as they transition into their new lives, a release states.

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