A nonprofit that pairs service dogs — including rescue dogs — with military service members in need is looking to set up shop in New Braunfels.
Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, which is headquartered in northern Virginia, has incorporated in the state of Texas. The nonprofit aims 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 with assistance dogs. Semper K9 offers service dogs for both psychiatric and mobility challenges free of charge.
New Braunfels resident Matt Kinney was named assistant director of K9 programs and military adviser for the board of directors.
Semper K9 is looking for a permanent location in the New Braunfels area to operate or build a training facility. Until then, Kinney is focusing on maintenance training for assistance dogs and community education about service animals.
“We had a lot of veterans in South Texas reaching out to us,” said Amanda Baity, director of operations for Semper K9.
Baity’s husband, Christopher, founded the nonprofit. Christopher is an OEF/OIF veteran Marine Corps dog trainer and kennel master with three combat deployments.
“He wanted to help other veterans with post-traumatic stress and other combat-related disabilities,” Baity said.
Kinney is also an OIF Marine Corps veteran who served with Baity in Baghdad. Kinney received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in an IED explosion in 2008.
“New Braunfels is the perfect place to begin operating in Texas, and I am excited to be part of this amazing organization,” Kinney said.
With the veteran population in the San Antonio area and the Hill Country, New Braunfels made sense as a place to set up to work with veterans. According to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, the Interstate Highway 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio has one of the densest veteran populations in the country.
As for a permanent training facility, Baity said, “We’re looking for either a place that already has the space that someone would let us use, or we’d prefer to build.” She said ideally, Semper K9 wants to find “space for indoor training — opening cabinets, opening the refrigerator, helping with laundry.”
To volunteer, host a fundraiser or make a donation to Semper K9, contact Baity at email@example.com with the subject line “Semper K9 Texas.” The organization also has a GoFundMe campaign to assist with operations at www.gofundme.com/semperk9texas and an Amazon Wishlist for items needed at the Texas campus called “Semper K9 Texas.”
For more information about the organization, visit www.semperk9.org.