K9s for Warriors, a nationally recognized nonprofit that provides service dogs to wounded military personnel, broke ground on a new training facility in Nocatee on Thursday.
The organization, founded in 2011, works to aid veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries as a result of military service. Its workers train service dogs and then pair them with wounded warriors, who participate in a three-week residential training program to learn how to work with their dogs.
The new facility, directly across from Palm Valley Golf Course on Palm Valley Road in Nocatee, will accommodate up to 16 veterans each month. Currently, K9s for Warriors can accommodate four veterans a month at its three-acre facility in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Veterans participating in the program, like graduate Capt. Jack Capra of the U.S. Navy (pictured with his dog, Rocco), live on-site for three weeks in a four-bedroom, two-bath home while they are paired and trained to work with their service dogs.
The new facility in Nocatee will include four homes where veterans will live during their training and a clubhouse with a fitness room, big-screen televisions, pool tables and computer stations where veterans can keep in touch with their families.
There will also be an outdoor patio and fishing pond, an expanded kennel and a dogbone-shaped pool for the service dogs, which have been rescued from animal shelters.
“K9s for Warriors is very grateful for the outpouring of support for our troops, veterans and rescue dogs,” K9s for Warriors president Shari Duval said in a news release. “When Summit Contracting Group approached us about spearheading a project to build a new campus for K9s for Warriors, we could not have imagined all of the building subcontractors and support businesses that would step forward and donate to this effort.”
Duval said her organization is also grateful to the Nocatee community for embracing K9s for Warriors.
For more information on K9s for Warriors, go to www.k9sforwarriors.org.