Helping veterans get much-needed service dogs is a goal of Las Vegas nonprofit

Published: Nov. 12, 2022 at 12:59 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A local nonprofit is helping raise funds for veterans in need of service dogs and raising awareness of the importance of service animals and working dogs in the military and law enforcement.

Troops with Paws, based in the Las Vegas Valley, was founded by Patrick Sekino and inspired by his friend, Mike Lee, a K9 handler in the U.S. Air Force.

“It really broke my heart hearing stories about veterans returning from service from active duty and having these emotional injuries and these mental injuries,” Sekino said, noting that a service dog could cost $25,000 and up-- on top of routine medical expenses and food. Obtaining a service dog through federal aid for veterans is often a long wait with high demand.

“Through the V.A.--it’s pretty impossible,” said Caleb Klein, who served in the U.S. Army at Fort Benning and was injured in a Stryker accident. He was able to obtain a service dog through a donation from a local and aptly named his service dog Stryker.

“He’s really helped me kind of reintegrate into society as effectively as possible. I have to get up and he wants to get out and meet people... If I didn’t have Stryker, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Klein said.

Troops with Paws has been working to honor and support local law enforcement and military handlers, and has been raising funds for veterans to assist with service dog expenses.

For more information, click here: Troops with Paws