Graham Bloem, Founder of Shelter to Soldier (STS) and William Lyons, CEO of Griffin Funding, are pursuing the goal of being able to underwrite the cost of rescuing and training three shelter dogs and matching them with participating veterans by the end of this year. STS is a San Diego-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that rescues shelter dogs and trains them as psychiatric service dogs for post 9/11 U.S. combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Every day on average, an estimated 22 U.S. veterans and one active duty service member commit suicide (Department of Veteran Affairs); in the past year alone, the number of diagnosed cases of PTSD in the military jumped 50% and this represents cases that have been diagnosed. Studies estimate that one in every five military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is suffering from PTSD. In addition, every 11 seconds, a shelter animal is euthanized in the U.S. In response, Griffin Funding has made a commitment to fund the cost of rescuing, training and partnering three shelter dogs with combat veterans suffering from invisible wounds through STS.
According to Griffin Funding CEO, William Lyons, “Griffin Funding has been supporting STS’s efforts since 2014 and I wholeheartedly support their mission. This year, we’ve stepped up our commitment to take our philanthropic outreach to the next level by sponsoring three dogs. Our business model at Griffin Funding concentrates on serving the veteran population through VA mortgage loans in California and Hawaii for the purchase, refinance or home-improvement of residential properties, so it’s a natural fit for us—we’re proud to donate a portion of each and every loan closed (large or small) toward sponsoring STS dogs. I’ve learned that the VA medical system does not provide or help pay for service dogs for veterans who suffering from psychological disabilities. It’s been well documented that service dogs have a significant impact on the mental health and well being of veterans. With the added component of rescuing three shelter dogs, saving two lives at a time makes so much sense.”
Shelter to Soldier is supported solely through charitable contributions from corporations, charitable foundations and private individuals. The cost of a dog’s journey through the program is $12,000 and includes adoption, safe housing fees, medical care, training, equipment, food, grooming, treats, toys, supplements, testing and certifications, liability insurance, handler training, and graduation materials for the veteran.
Griffin Funding specializes in working with active duty military personnel and veterans by helping them navigate the process of qualifying for special mortgage rates and housing programs that are federally insured by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. They are one of a few select lenders who have the capacity to facilitate jumbo VA loans over the county loan limit and employ and salute U.S. Veterans on their staff.
To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, visit sheltertosoldier.org, or call 855-CUSTMK9 (855-287-8659) for a confidential interview regarding veteran eligibility.