K9s For Warriors and Merrick Pet Care are partnering to demonstrate the effective role service dogs play in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disability (PTSD) among American military veterans.

Merrick announced at Global Pet Expo 2016 it will now offer its Hero’s Banquet canned recipe year round and donate a portion of the item’s proceeds to underwrite research on how pairing specially trained rescue dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI), helps veterans readjust to civilian life. The research will be conducted by Purdue University’s Center for the Human-Animal Bond.

"More than half a million war veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disability and struggle to see that there is life after combat," said Shari Duval, president, K9s For Warriors. "We know these specially trained service dogs give warriors suffering from PTSD a new leash on life and with Merrick’s help we are now going to be able to scientifically validate this particular treatment’s success. With this evidence, we hope to increase political and financial support of trained service animals as an effective treatment intervention for PTSD."

"There is currently no comprehensive evidence to support the validity of service dogs as an effective therapeutic intervention for veterans diagnosed with PTSD or their families and we’re hoping to change that," said Greg Shearson, CEO of Merrick Pet Care.

The $250,000 donated by Merrick will allow for research to create guidelines to predict efficacy based on warrior characteristics and to identify the organizational and service dog training standards required to achieve desired outcomes.

Merrick’s help and commitment to veterans and service dogs also includes hundreds and thousands of pounds of high-quality food and treats it provides to K9s For Warriors. In addition to feeding these best service dogs ever, Merrick launched a limited-edition special can recipe of Merrick dog food, Hero’s Banquet, last fall, honoring American military veterans. The 12.76 oz. can will now be available nationally year-round at Petco, independent pet supply stores and online with a suggested retail price of $2.99 beginning in September.

K9s For Warriors helps veterans with PTSD and/or TBI have a new outlook on life. The non-profit group carefully selects dogs for their program from animal shelters across the country and professionally trains them at their facility. The dogs are then matched with warriors with whom they live, learn and bond together for three weeks with up to 16 other warrior-dog teams.

For more information about the Merrick/K9s for Warriors partnership, watch one warrior-dog team story, click here.

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