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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Semper K9 Assistance Dogs

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Training, Animals, Mental Health, Mental Health Disorders, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for wounded, critically-ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families by providing them assistance dogs. Using rescued and donated dogs we provide service dogs for psychiatric alert and mobility challenges free of charge to wounded service members.

Target demographics: U.S. Service Members and their families

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Facility Dogs, Military Family Support Dogs, Maintenance Training, Community Education, Service Dog Support for Veterans and Family Integration Program.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 usmcspouse2000

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Semper K9 was founded by an OEF/OIF combat veteran to help wounded veterans. I think this is always going to be the best for any VSO. Having someone who truly understands about combat life & military culture is critical. After meeting Mr. Baity you will instantly realize he is the real deal. Being that their founder and K9 Program Directors are both combat veterans, military working dog handlers, trainers and kennel masters makes this nonprofit so successful. All of their directors and advisors are combat veterans, military spouses or have strong ties to the mission. I am thankful to have this nationally recognized nonprofit in the county that my family calls home, Prince William, VA! Semper Fi

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What started out as a cool idea for me and my 13 year old son to do, has turned into a true passion and shared mission with Semper K9. We thought it would be great to have a puppy in the house and to learn more about training dogs. After working with Chris and Amanda, and seeing their commitment and dedication to training service dogs to assist Veterans, we cannot be more proud of the work we have done to support Semper K9's mission. Chris and Amanda care deeply about the Service Members they are assisting and the dogs they are training. When the service member is paired with his/her dog, it is life changing and in some cases, life saving, for the Veteran. We have had the privilege to meet some of the Veterans, hear their stories, and see the difference their service dog is making in their life. It's a beautiful thing and we look forward to being a part of this organization for years to come.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Semper K9 is a 501C non-profit that is veteran run. What I find remarkable is that this non-profit remains humble, yet completely focused on its commitments. Everyone affiliated with the group, from organizational leader to the veteran and their families, along with volunteers, are included to make the best outcome possible for the handler/dog team. There is great respect for all participants, from the top, to include the board of directors, coaches and volunteers to even the family members of volunteers and veterans, who often work side by side. The committments set out by Semper K9 are reached in a timely matter, fulfilling all expectations; doing so in a fun, relaxed (though committed) way. But ultimately, the goal is reached... a shelter or donated dog is trained to provide a service that will enhance or even "give back a new life" to a veteran who has been given a service dog free of charge.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I met some reps from Semper K9 2 years ago and have been following them on social media since. I recently ran into the same people at another event and they remembered me! I feel like I know the founders and the dogs based on what is shared online and from what I have encountered what you see if what you get. I feel everyone involved is so authentic and really gives 100% to this mission. Love having them so close to my home!

1 Lillian W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The way Semper K9 give 100 % to help others inspires me. I love that the dogs they use are rescue dogs, and that through their organization and the efforts of a volunteer crew, they are able to supply a veteran in need with the service dog suited to them.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Veteran family we are happy to help other veterans through Semper k9, by training rescue dogs to support disabled vets. Their obvious care for both the veterans and the dogs is shown through their dedication to dog training and careful pairing the right dog with their veteran.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm thankful that this organization provides services to veterans at no cost, and they incorporate the family into the process. The volunteers I have met were extremely professional and knowledgeable. There needs to me more non-profit around the world providing these services to our troops!
Semper Fidelis

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

When our 15 year son, who was healthy, active and thriving was hit with a sudden onset Tourette's his world crumbled and we were devastated by the debilitating disorder. After many doctor consults and medication changes, we found Semper K9 and Mikey. Once we were approved, Mikey and our son spent 4 months training together with the objective of getting back into school. Bottom line it was a miracle. Chris, Amanda and his wonderful volunteers all helped to bring back our son and allow him to face the challenges of high school with his service dog and companion, Mikey. Semper K9: Hooah! Thanks for all you do for our Veterans and their families.
Douglas B. Earhart
Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Retired)

3

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I coached Semper K9's Mikey. I knew from the start that it would be difficult when he grew up and moved on to work with his forever person, but the whole year I spent with him, I was looking forward to his graduation ceremony. It meant a lot to me to have that milestone of closure for a job well done. During the year I coached Mikey, I was repeatedly told what a wonderful training coach I was and how much they appreciate and love me. They even named a puppy, Vinny, after my Grandpa - and they did this as a thank you to me. 
Mikey had already begun his graduation training and I had already spent several months coaching Vinny when Semper K9 announced the date for Mikey's graduation. They decided they have a policy of only coordinating events with the handlers with whom the dogs are placed. So they did not check with the coaches who had dogs graduating (a total of two coaches) when they chose the date. Nor did they give us a "save the date" when they set it on their calendar. 
They picked a day when I could not attend. This hurt my feelings very much on several levels. I love Mikey like crazy (I'm kind of his "mommy", even though he has more than one) and it was very important to me to be there. I am also confident that Mikey's family wanted to extend their appreciation to his coaches and that they never would have wanted this event to be planned without making sure the coaches could attend. 
I was told that it would have been too much work to try and coordinate with "all the coaches" when setting the date for graduation. Frankly, I threw a fit at this. There were only two coaches with dogs graduating this summer and we were all in contact several times a week. It's simply not true that it would have been too difficult to give us a date to save on our calendar. In addition to my personal hurt, I think it reflects poorly on the organization that they are willing to have coaches be absent at graduation. What are they saying to the public? That they choose coaches who don't care enough to show up? Or that they don't care enough about their coaches to make sure they can attend? 
Since I threw a fit, then they told me I don't understand the mission and they had a board meeting where they voted I could no longer coach. They told me that I don't understand the priorities - that the only important people are the veterans we place the dogs with. This was also extremely hurtful on many levels. I am the first to admit I was not graceful about pointing out I thought it was BS when they said they "couldn't" coordinate graduation with the coaches because it was "too much work" (to talk to all two of us).
At a routine veterinary visit for Vinny, the second dog I was coaching, Semper K9 showed up at the clinic (without telling me they planned to do so) and when the checkup was over, picked up his leash and told him to "say goodbye" to me. And thus, without saying anything to my face other than "do you have his vest with you" (which I didn't, because I was just there for a vet visit, and they were surprising me by taking him away), they "fired" me from Semper K9. 
Vinny was placed with another coach because he "deserves a chance to work with Vinny". I am still wondering, what do I deserve? 
If you're still reading, let me say I want to reach out to Mikey's family and to anyone working with Vinny now and in the future. I love those two boyz and would be delighted to hear from you at any time during their lives. Mikey & I spent a year attached at the hip and I told him regularly that if at any time he needs another place to stay or to retire to, he can always come back to me. I feel the same way about Vinny and I never wanted to stop coaching him. If I had a magic wand, I would use it to help get the message through that I do still want to work with Vinny. 
To Mikey's family again: I am really glad I got to meet you all briefly. I loved seeing the relationship develop between Mikey and his handler. I realize that graduation does not mean you are done training; training never stops. I do not have as much dog training knowledge as the semper k9 dog trainer but I do have some, and I do know and love Mikey-boy. So if ever there comes a time when the exec director is too busy or it would be helpful to have another set of eyes to help practice things, I would be happy to help. I just don't want you to be told that I "left" Semper K9 and am not a possible resource. I am dedicated to Mikey at any point in his life. Same with Vinny. 
The ED said he didn't know how I "misunderstood" that I was "being excluded from Semper K9". My first hint was when you scheduled my dog's graduation without checking that I could be there. Second hint was when your wife showed up at the veterinarian’s office, picked up Vinny’s leash, and told him to “say goodbye”. Third hint was when you placed Vinny with another coach. I don’t know what kind of support you wanted me to still be giving you, but I told you and I’m saying again, I just wanted/want to continue working with Vinny - because I love him, because I already started, and because he is named for my grandfather.
Some of these dogs are psychiatric service dogs. What is going to happen when someone with a psychiatric disability gets their feelings hurt and throws a fit? Are you going to come take away their service dog like you took Vinny from me? 
I also hope you reevaluate some of the dual relationships you have in your organization which contributed to this sh!tstorm and which I think are going to be detrimental to your long-term success. If you are going to work together husband and wife, you have to be careful that the dog training director doesn’t throw out coaches because the director of operations pressures you into doing so. And if you have a board member who is your boss at your paying job, this doesn’t mean that the board member is your boss at Semper K9. Board members should never try and manage individual volunteers and they probably shouldn’t contact them directly, certainly not without introducing themselves as board members. The DO’s response to the board member should have been “ok, we will deal with the situation”. Instead, she felt she “had to” take Vinny away from me because the board member is her boss - at PWL magazine, not at Semper K9. 
With these dual relationships and conflicts of interest, one level of my heartbreak is that I don’t see how Semper K9 is going to succeed in the long run. I was involved nearly from the start and felt like I was an important part. But if their attitude toward me could turn on a dime the way it did, I don’t see how they will maintain long term relationships supporting their service dog teams or how the organization can ever outlive the founders. 
I am sad about the end of what I thought was a very deep friendship with the people in Semper K9. The coaches who train the dogs *are* the organization and I am extremely sad that you made the decision that your “policy” is that the coaches are not a priority when scheduling gradution. I know this letter is harsh but there isn’t anything in it I haven’t already said to you. I have been clear that I want to talk face to face and mend the bridge. Perhaps with this posted publicly, you will reflect on your decisions and reconsider that you still haven’t communicated with me clearly about this whole incident. It is never too late and I welcome a conversation - a real one, not electronic.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Semper K9, changed my life and many others. Semper K9 goes out of it way to help Service members in need of a service dog through training, socialization and eventually placement with a dog. Without Buster I'm pretty sure I would still be trapped in my own mind.

2 Bonnie109

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SemperK9 is an amazing program filled with a kind and compassionate crew of tireless volunteers. When my daughter wanted to get involved I was hesitant at first but after all that I have learned about how they train and place their dogs with the right veterans, I have no doubt about the awesome organization we have joined!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer and a K9 Coach I have been able to see first hand the way Chris Baity is changing the lives of others through use of donated and shelter dogs. His work benefits everyone involved with the Semper K9 organization; from the occasional volunteer, K9 coach, dog, and veteran''s family all the way to the veteran. As there is no charge to the recepient for the receiving of a service dog or for continued maintenance training, is imperative that this organization receive donations to further its mission. Semper K9 is truly thankful for all donations received.

3 Barb51

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined Semper K9 as a way to work with animals. It has been an amazing experience to watch Chris and Amanda's leadership in training volunteers to prepare our dogs to help our veterans. Couldn't ask for a better organization with more heart. Photos are from my work training Levi, one of our dogs.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family has been associated with Semper K9 Assistance Dogs for a year. We have seen first hand how the hard work of everyone in this organization, especially Chris and Amanda, positively changes the lives of Veterans. By rescuing and training services dogs they give Veterans their lives back. It is an honor to be a part of this amazing organization and something our entire family can be a part of.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chris and Amanda have the biggest hearts of anyone I know. They truly care about veterans and their families AND the dogs they rescue and train for veterans. I love that the dogs choose their veterans so they make a great match!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Semper K9 helps train service dogs to place with handicapped US veterans.

2 novavets1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Semper K9 is a partner member of Northern Virginia Veterans Association. We vet all of our partners and are proud to have Semper K9 as not only a supporter of our mission but as an advocate for all veterans. We know they deliver and provide quality and custom trained service dogs to service members in need.

2 Pamela130

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's easy to say that you support our troops; do you actually DO something to support them? My daughter and I have been volunteers/K9 coaches/students of Semper K9 since August of 2016. This is a nonprofit organization that takes rescued/donated dogs and trains them to become service dogs (mobility/psychiatric alert) for veterans. We do this in honor or my son's service in the USMC and this organization has made us feel part of a family.

2 Stacy76

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We've been k9 coaches with Semper K9 since October of 2015. We are working with our second service dog in training,Lizzy . Chris and Amanda have been fabulous to work with and have such a huge heart. You can clearly see the difference that they make in the veterans lives! We are so proud of the work they do and feel very privileged to work with this organization. The training classes also have been great. They are one of a very few organizations that allow young teens to be k9 coaches and that has always impressed me. Thank you so much Semper k9. Here's Lizzy doing some task work.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a veteran who has gotten a dog. GREAT organization committed to helping veterans.