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Warrior Canine Connection: 2013 in Review
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A birth, and a graduation...

Two important events in the life of any family – and for us, tremendous milestones in the evolution and growth of Warrior Canine Connection during 2013.
 
When we began this year, we could not have begun to predict all that it would hold for us. So many events – large and small – have shaped 2013 as a pivotal time where we laid solid, exciting groundwork for years to come.
 
The year began with the joyful arrival of a brand new litter of puppies. Misty’s “Weather Litter” captured hearts around the world, thanks to the generous support of the Annenberg Foundation and their Explore.org live camera. When we first began our camera partnership with Annenberg Foundation, we could not have foreseen how two small views into our world could spread the word about our mission, and have such a tremendous impact on so many lives.
 
Beyond the Puppy Enrichment Center, there are so many places where Warrior Canine Connection dogs are bringing healing and wholeness into lives impacted by war. Other highlights of 2013 include:

 

The generous donation of our new Puppy Enrichment Center by The Home Depot. This amazing company provided us with the materials and the labor of many employees over cold winter months to create a special place for training, socialization, guest puppy/dog accommodations, and the every day business of Warrior Canine Connection. Our ribbon cutting ceremony, which was broadcast live on the Explore.org puppy camera, was an important step in our growth and progress. 


 
In July, our Brookeville, MD Healing Quarters was the scene of the first annual Warrior Canine Connection “Pawty,” a gathering of supporters from all over the United States. This event was made possible because of the community created through the Explore.org camera, where former strangers continue to come together and forge lasting friendships, thanks to their devotion to Warriors, Veterans, and dogs.



 

June saw the birth of nine more Labrador Retriever puppies. Olive’s “Honor Litter” has the distinction to be our first litter named solely for American heroes who served and, in some cases, gave their lives for their country. These spirited puppies are hard at work training for their future service careers. 



 
Warrior Canine Connection won a new Toyota Sienna van during the car manufacturer’s “100 Cars for Good” vehicle giveaway competition. We anticipate taking ownership of this new vehicle in early January, and are eagerly anticipating its use to widen the reach of our programs.

 

We were asked to speak in a groundbreaking event sponsored by the highly respected Bob Woodruff Foundation. The conference, “Healing Therapy: A New Role for Man’s Best Friend,” focused on the need and potential for research into the biological mechanisms and effects of interactions with service dogs on the symptoms of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain disorder.

Last, and importantly, we were contacted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and invited to submit a proposal to secure a long-term lease on a 150-acre farm in Germantown, MD. The DNR acknowledges our past successes in using Maryland parkland to support Veterans and Wounded Warriors. Our challenge is now to show that WCC has the capacity to grow into this ideal property and expand our efforts to serve our Nation’s wounded, ill and injured Warfighters.
In April, WCC was invited to expand our service dog training therapy program to the Welcome Center, a new interdisciplinary facility on the Menlo Park, CA Campus of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.  This 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art Center provides alternative and complementary therapies to meet the diverse and complex needs of our Veterans.
 
In the late spring/early summer, we were introduced to the power of “Crowd” fundraising when we were selected by CraigConnects and the Stewart J. Rahr Foundation to participate in the Veterans Charity Challenge on the Crowdrise website. In the space of just a few weeks, Warrior Canine Connection took first place in the challenge by raising nearly $100,000. This qualified us for an additional prize of $35,000.
 
We were selected – along with the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, United Services University of the Health Sciences, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center – to receive a grant for research that will focus on the neurobiology of the human-animal bond as it applies to the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress. This landmark project will likely commence in the spring of 2014 after all necessary regulatory procedures are completed, and will be a key initiative in the coming year.
 

In November, we were surprised and delighted to win a second Crowdrise.com challenge, this one sponsored by the Newman’s Own Foundation. The generosity of our supporters resulted in WCC taking third place in the challenge and raising nearly $100,000.

 
We proudly celebrated our very first graduation in early November. The Class of 2013, which includes Gabe II, Birdie, Cadence, Navi and Ron – has officially begun its important work as service, facility, and family support dogs. 



 

Looking ahead to 2014, we see so many opportunities for our growth moving forward, starting with our plans for three new litters, the first of which is planned for late winter/early spring. As we grow, you will of course be the first to know!
 
No matter where we have been, or where we are headed, at the heart of everything is the mission of Warrior Canine Connection – to bring healing, hope, and restoration in the lives of Warriors, their families, and their communities. We cannot fulfill our unique mission alone.
 
While I thank you for your support during the last year, I also ask you to include Warrior Canine Connection in your year-end giving plans.
 
It will take every one of our supporters – current and future – to help us create a world where post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury are viewed as highly treatable conditions that can be overcome…one Warrior, and one dog, at a time.
 
The happiest of holidays to you and yours.
 
Sincerely,
Rick Yount
Founder and Executive Director
Warrior Canine Connection
Copyright © 2013 *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.


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