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Veteran Service Dog Capital Campaign
WDVF 2024 Expansion Project

 

Working Dogs For Veterans is a non-profit organization with decades of experience training rescued dogs to perform individually specific tasks that cater directly to the needs of disabled veterans. Each veteran has specific experiences that impact his or her healthcare, mobility, and accessibility to daily life, so our ethos is to train each dog to fit perfectly as a tool for the impacted veteran to mitigate impacted circumstances. In this regard, no two animals are the same! We pride ourselves in serving more than 6,600 Veterans and dogs with positive placement outcomes to date. 

 

Specifically, WDFV aspires to provide: 

- A new mission and sense of purpose for veterans; 

- A supportive community, sense of belonging, and renewed fellowship among disassociated veterans; 

- A therapeutic outlet for veterans;  

- A medium in which animal rescue can be combined with Veteran services

- Service guidance and training for veterans (particularly women veterans, minority veterans, disabled veterans, and other traditionally underrepresented groups) leading to adaptive lifestyles, career opportunities, and positive health outcomes; and

- Inspiring veterans to live happy and healthy lifestyles with representation, inclusion, empathy, and understanding.

Working Dogs for Vets (WDFV) is proposing to expand our cornerstone training facility in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee to meet the current demand for WDFV-trained animals. WDFV is a non-profit organization that trains rescue dogs to mitigate circumstances for disabled veterans. With our volunteer trainers, we have developed a unique training style that allows each dog to be equipped with skills critical to their veteran. Our training style was designed by a world leader in dog training, Ken Knabenshue.

 

Overseen by Ken, our trainers work with the veterans to determine their needs, whether it be assistance opening a refrigerator, reminders to take medication, or any skill that may be of use. If there is a will, there is a way at WDFV.

 

Currently, we have a long waitlist for our services. The only way we can cut down our wait times and fulfill requests for our veterans is to expand our space. At this time, we have secured the land and permits for a new 5,000 SQFT training facility that would double our capacity to serve upon its completion. This request is to carry out the framing for the physical plant. The timetable for completion of this project ranges from Q1 of 2024 to Q2 of 2026, with current supply tables and projected labor estimates in conjunction with fundraising. WDFV will be using all pre-qualified vendors to complete the project. 

 

To keep our cost-free for the veterans, we must have partners to support our capital projects. We will evaluate the success of this capacity expansion by tracking all outcomes in comparison to current outcomes with currently available resources. As stated previously, we hope to double outcomes out of our Tennessee training base.

For this project, we are utilizing the professional services of Summertown Metals, a local business. This project focuses on the monolithic slab, the shell of the building, and interior framing, which is estimated to be $154,000. 

 

Materials include:  4’’ concrete slab w/ footers, 2x6 ext walls 16’’ OC, 2x4 int walls 16’’ OC, 7/16 OSB on walls and gables, Trusses 2’ OC, 2x4 lathe 2’ OC on trusses, House wrap on walls, Bubble wrap on the roof, #1 painted metal, White standard vinyl windows to plans, Ext doors to plans

 

The total construction and completion of the building will take roughly 2 years, accounting for all supply chain, labor, and permitting time accountancy. Currently, Summertown is roughly 8-12 months out, so grant funding would allow us to start the process with an estimated completion date of Q1/Q2 2026. 

 

Should supporters have any other questions about this project, please contact 

Project Manager

Kenneth Knabenshue

3138 Buffalo Rd.

Lawrenceburg, TN 38464

84-Dogs-Help = 843-647-4357 

support@workingdogsforvets.org

 

Upon completion of this phase, we will enter a second phase for gutters and other exterior elements and furnishings of the building in 2026. 

 

Although this is a long-term project, we can utilize the shell as soon as it's safe and clear for usage. This project will instantly expand our capacity to serve by at least 40%. Supporting partners will be recognized with physical signage within the completed project. We are actively fundraising to supplement the rest of the funds, and with your support, we will be ready to proceed. 

WDFV has partnered with large players across industries, including the American Gold Star Mothers, American Legion, Kroger, The Petco Love Foundation, Guidestar, the State of Tennessee, and more. Our proven record of success has generated a giant list of veterans needing WDFV-trained service dogs. With no shortage of dogs in kill shelters across the United States, the only thing standing in the way of fulfillment is having the capacity to handle the need whilst remaining free to those who need it the most. Funding will help us meet demand and increase our capacity to create wildly impactful outcomes for disabled veterans across the United States.

WDFV serves disabled veterans across the United States. Our waiting list has nearly tripled in recent years, and demand has surpassed our capacity to fulfill training and placement requests while remaining a low-to-no-cost service for participants. Current alternatives are simply too expensive and have unreasonable wait times for pairing if the participant can afford a placement. 

 

Over 17 million Veterans are currently living in the United States. Today, approximately 1,300 new veterans and their families will return to civilian life, with that number increasing every day. As many as 80% of them will not have the supportive services needed to achieve everyday life and functionality. 

Reintegration into society is often a struggle for returning service members. Military service usually involves extended exposure to trauma, deployments away from natural support systems, and uniquely stressful situations. Social and familial reintegration challenges are further exacerbated when the returning service member suffers from PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or other mental or physical health conditions, such as depressive symptoms, grief responses, or compromised physical health.

1 in 12 Veterans in need of care actively goes without care because they cannot access or afford it. Additionally, some Veterans do not seek help because of the stereotypes and public perception driven by media and age-old archaic attitudes towards mental health rehabilitation. Many feel that traditional therapeutic methods also seem out of reach and ineffective in dealing with the unique and intensive trauma upon return. There are holes in a broken system, with those suffering begging for alternatives. 

 

A secondary need for the Veteran population and inspiration for this program is the lack of safe, trusted 

programs that can produce long-term solutions with specialty tricks and service training to suit ANY individualized need. Although there are several service dog training and matching programs across the US, very few provide animals that have personalized functionality to the individual in need, and hardly any of them allow the Veterans to be immersed in the training processes. 

WDFV combines all of these elements with an age-old success method stemming from founder Ken Knabenshue's methodology. Ken, his WDFV family, and volunteer trainers are a group of animal lovers passionate about training dogs and helping those who served our Country. 

With a majority of service dog providers out of touch with the individualized needs of their participants, including cost and time restraints, WDFV provides a hands-on approach to ensuring each service animal is trained to accommodate the individual needs of the Veteran at hand to create high rates of success which in turn provide deeper value in positive healthcare outcomes.  WDFV has served thousands of men, women, and dogs, but has a waiting list of thousands still waiting for help. A capital expansion is critical to meet the need for WDFV-trained dogs.

The Knabenshue approach to dog training makes our program unique, and we eliminate the time and cost restraints of traditional service dog placement and training institutions. The largest weakness of traditional programs outside of the cost and time restraints is the training - at the end of the process, veterans are placed with a cookie-cutter service dog trained to serve the general population of disabled veterans, not specifically trained to serve the individual. The WDFV program works with each veteran one-on-one to specifically identify the needs and train the animal to perform tasks necessary to help each veteran mitigate the impacts of the disability on the veteran. WDFV models the military approach to training, step by step, smooth and steady, for easy and adaptive, safe and comfortable activities.

WDFV also helps train volunteers across the country to widen our reach. We instill the WDFV training model for all our veterans, volunteers, and satellite locations to ensure our sustainable programming and training are uniform so that all WDFV dogs are certified, safe, and personalized for their Veterans. Although the brilliance of award-winning trainer Ken Knabenshue and his family has also been captured in a training program to train over 100 WDFV trainers to model the method to keep up with demand, a majority of the training activities occur at the WDFV headquarters in Tennessee. That facility is at maximum capacity for training both dogs and trainers. More space is needed to maximize our potential and eliminate our waitlist as quickly as possible while remaining free to those who need it.

WDFV also helps veterans who can train their service dogs with the support necessary, and many of our veteran dog team graduates, in turn, help other veterans. This results in veterans helping veterans; many become volunteer trainers, giving them a sense of purpose. 

WDFV takes in all sorts of dogs in need and trains each to be specifically suited to perform tasks for their matched Veteran partner. WDFV also has an inclusive and immersive model where each Veteran can come and train with their dog. 

Kenneth Knabenshue Founder, Brenda Moody Co-Founder, Matt Owens board member, with veterans and volunteer trainers 

● To provide trained service dogs to veterans at no out-of-pocket cost to the veteran. 

● To reduce suicide rates among our veterans.

● To provide veterans with training and skillsets to rebuild confidence and help other veterans 

● To help reduce overpopulation among shelters. 

Total Project Budget

$500,000.00

Your support will be contributed towards the construction of our 5,000 SQFT expansion. With this project, we can double our capacity to serve and provide as many as 600 successful dog placements and training per year out of our Tennessee location, allowing us to begin eliminating our waitlist. Grant funding will enable us to support our expansion project without the need to charge program participants to ensure every veteran has the opportunity to receive a WDFV dog, no matter their circumstances.

WDFV is a very unique but trusted long-standing program. We understand questions may arise, and we are happy to respond promptly we must continue to secure great partners so we can continue to serve disabled veterans across the country by mitigating their circumstances and eliminating burdens of access.

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