What We Do
and
Why We Do It

What We Do

HELP VETERANS

We empower and support our veterans by providing service dogs to mitigate the effects of PTSD, as well as to assist with a wide range of physical challenges.

RESCUE DOGS

We not only save dogs’ lives, we give them a new path in life. They, in turn, inspire and empower those they touch along their K9s For Camo journey.

INMATE REHABILITATION

Our OCC trainers gain marketable occupational experience, as well as develop life skills that enable them to choose better paths for their future.

Watch our K9s For Camo
as they prepare to report for duty

We Help Veterans

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Scot and Liberty, looking toward their new future

K9s For Camo provides service dogs to support veterans with a wide range of needs. Most of our veterans suffer from PTSD, but we also train K9s to provide support for other challenges, including mobility assistance, seizure alert and diabetic alert. Our K9s assist their veterans with these physical challenges, clearly improving their quality of life on a daily basis, but the real magic is what happens beyond that: With their K9s by their side, we see our veterans empowered to move through life and explore the world with new confidence and security.

We also train K9s to mitigate the effects of PTSD. While there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence demonstrating the numerous benefits service dogs bring to veterans with PTSD, until recently there was little research to back it up. A Purdue University study, released in 2018, evaluated the effect service dogs have on the mental health of veterans with PTSD. The study reported that the veterans with service dogs had:

  • Lower overall symptoms of post-traumatic stress 
  • Lower levels of depression
  • Higher levels of life satisfaction
  • Higher overall psychological well-being
  • Lower levels of social isolation and greater ability to participate in social activities
  • Higher levels of resilience
  • Higher levels of companionship
  • Less absenteeism from work due to health among those who were employed

But we don’t need studies. We see the evidence first hand. We hear the stories directly from our veterans.

Change a veteran’s life today

We Rescue Shelter Dogs

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Tank, ready to start his K9s For Camo journey

Approximately 1.5 million shelter animals, almost 700,000 of them dogs, are put to death each year. Most of our K9s For Camo were shelter dogs, some rescued within days of what, otherwise, would have been the end of their life. It’s easy to understand the reward of saving a dog’s life, but for us it goes much deeper. We see these dogs, once given a chance at life and a purpose in life, embark on a path that changes the lives of many people they meet along the way. It’s as if a magic in them is unleashed, and they pay it forward. First, by giving their inmate trainers a purpose in life, enabling them to learn valuable skills and life lessons, empowering them to choose better paths when they re-enter society. Then moving on to team up with their veteran, many of our K9s leading their veterans back out into a world from which they had retreated, enabling them to embark on new paths in their lives. Our veterans constantly tell us how these K9s have changed their lives, some credit them with literally saving their life.

As you see pictures and videos of our K9s and hear our veterans’ stories, remember, many of these magical dogs, who have changed and actually saved lives, would have been put to death if not rescued by K9s For Camo. Also remember, rescuing dogs is only one part of our mission.

Unleash the magic

We Change Inmates' Lives

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Stephen and Mike, former OCC inmate trainers, now valuable members of our K9s For Camo team

Our K9s are trained by inmates at the Ozark Correctional Center in Fordland, Missouri. The dog training program at the prison is beneficial to K9s For Camo in several ways. In addition to being cost-effective, the time the offenders are able to spend working with the dogs expedites the training process. Research also shows that dogs trained in a prison program have higher success rates than those trained in a traditional training center or home environment.

Perhaps the biggest benefits we see are those realized by the offenders. Current research and literature discuss the benefits of dog training programs in prisons. In addition to the inmates learning a marketable job skill, benefits reported include:

  • Reduced depression and anxiety, not just for the inmates working in the program
  • Decreased aggression and hostility
  • Improved communication, teamwork and social skills
  • Perhaps most important, reduced recidivism rates for those who participate in dog training programs

But we don’t need to read the literature, we have witnessed it firsthand since the beginning of K9s For Camo. Our K9s learn from the inmates, but the inmates also learn from the K9s. We consistently receive feedback from the offenders about the value the program brings to them, some have even credited the program with saving their life. Prison administrators also tell us of the benefits they see, not only for the inmates involved in the program, but for the overall prison population. We have been privileged to observe former inmates apply the lessons they have learned from our K9s as they make better choices, change their path in life and successfully re-enter society.

Change a life today

  • "Lilly has gotten me from always having a plan on how I want to end my life, to having a plan on what I want to do next with my life."

    K9s For Camo Veteran
  • "I love this caring and giving animal and know he will continue to be a blessing to my mental and physical health."

    K9s for Camo Vietnam Veteran
  • " . . . he is my buffer and will not let me fall."

    K9s For Camo Veteran
  • "The effects of Lilly were pretty much instantaneous. Almost immediately I felt happier and my life felt like it was not impossible anymore."

    K9s For Camo Veteran
  • "I have been able to attend places and events I use to avoid with a passion."

    K9s For Camo Veteran
  • "She has . . . offered me the ability to go out in public and live a happy normal life."

    K9s For Camo Veteran
  • "That's what this program is for us . . . something positive that we have in a world of chaos and negativity."

    OCC Inmate Trainer
  • "This has given me the sense of purpose I have desperately needed for years."

    OCC Inmate Trainer
  • " . . . these dogs are giving back for the mistakes we made."

    OCC Inmate Trainer
  • "Moose has taken away the stress . . . of always being on alert."

    K9s For Camo Veteran

Get Involved

Join Our Community

Liberty Magill

Liberty is an Alaskan Malamute who was brought to our program by his veteran. Liberty started training as a puppy and has passed all classes with flying colors. He is task trained to bring his veteran his cane, if needed, and pick other items up off the ground and bring them to his veteran. He also is trained for mobility assistance and to help his veteran up if he falls down.

Serve proudly, Liberty! 

Lilly

Lilly is a black lab who was brought into the program by her veteran. She started the program as a puppy. This K9 and veteran team have passed their AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests. Lilly is trained to help with PTSD and is beginning to alert for blood sugar levels as well. She will post or block in public if her handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Lilly has been to college classes with her veteran and they both walked the stage together at graduation as her veteran received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Serve proudly, Lilly!

Jazzy

Jazzy is a Collie Mix who was brought into the program by her veteran. This K9 and veteran team have passed their AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests. Jazzy is trained to help her Vietnam veteran with mobility and stability and to help him keep from falling. She is task-trained to pause or stop when he approaches ramps or small changes in ground elevation that her veteran may not notice, alerting him and helping him navigate the terrain.

Serve proudly, Jazzy!

Liberty Evans

Liberty is a black lab  who was adopted from HFLCS Canine and Feline Rescue in Buffalo, Missouri. She was then adopted by K9s For Camo to become a seizure blocking dog for a Navy veteran; she cushions and comforts our veteran if she has a seizure, then finds and alerts our veteran’s husband. Liberty is also trained to help with PTSD: she has the ability to pick up and retrieve items, and turn lights on and off. She will post or block in public if her handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between herself and other people. Liberty trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at the Ozark Correctional Center. She has passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests.

Serve proudly, Liberty!

Tank

Tank is a Shar Pei Ridgeback mix who was adopted from Valley Hills Rescue in Springfield, Missouri. Valley Hills adopted him the day before he was due to be put to death. He was then adopted by K9s For Camo. Tank is task trained to pick up and bring medicine, turn on lights, open doors and assist with mobility. He is also trained to help mitigate the effects of PTSD. He will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Tank trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at the Ozark Correctional Center. He has passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests. He is currently serving well and proud!

Serve proudly, Tank!

Beretta

Beretta was rescued from death row due to having a condition that didn't allow her to open her eyes. She had inverted eyelids and could not see. Valley Hills Rescue rescued her and we adopted her from Valley Hills. After she had surgery to correct her eyes, she was task trained to retrieve, post, block, cover and alert her veteran if someone is walking up behind him. She is also trained to help her veteran mitigate the effects of PTSD.

Serve proudly, Beretta! 

Cheyenne

Cheyenne is a hound mix who was adopted from HFLCS Canine and Feline Rescue in Buffalo, Missouri. She was then adopted by K9s For Camo to become an alert dog for a veteran with narcolepsy. Cheyenne is trained to wake her veteran if he falls asleep and will alert him if he begins to blackout while walking, preventing him from falling. She is also trained for PTSD and will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Cheyenne trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at the Ozark Correctional Center. She has passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests.

Serve proudly, Cheyenne!

Thistle May

Thistle was rescued from the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri. He started out in the Puppy for Parole program at Ozark Correctional Facility. We saw a lot of promise in him, so we transferred him to the K9s For Camo program. He is task trained to retrieve, post, block, cover and alert his veteran if someone is walking up behind him. He is also task trained to help his veteran mitigate the effects of PTSD.

Serve proudly, Thistle!

Moose

Moose is a blood hound mix who was adopted from Valley Hills Rescue in Springfield, Missouri. Valley Hills adopted him just a few days before he would have been put to death. He was then adopted by K9s For Camo to become a stability dog for a Vietnam veteran. Moose is also trained to help with PTSD. He will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Moose did training at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at the Ozark Correctional Center. He has passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests.

Serve proudly, Moose!

Chase

Chase is an American Bulldog mix who was adopted from Valley Hills Rescue in Springfield, MO. Valley Hills adopted him the day before he was supposed to be euthanized. He was then adopted by K9s For Camo. Chase has been trained to pick up and bring medicine, turn on lights and open doors. He is also trained to help mitigate effects of PTSD. He will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Chase trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at Ozark Correctional Center. He has passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification test and is fully task trained. He will currently finishing his advanced classes with his Veteran. 

Serve proudly Chase!

Annie

Annie is a black lab mix who was adopted from HFLCS in Buffalo MO. She was then adopted by K9s For Camo to become a battle buddy for one of our returning heroes. Annie is also trained to help with PTSD; she has the ability to pick up items, turn lights on and off, and will bring her leash and other items to her veteran, who is in a mobility chair. She will post or block in public if her handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between himself and other people. Annie trained at the Howliday Inn Pet Resort and also at Ozark Correctional Center. She has passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine, Urban CGC and Public Access certification tests.

Serve proudly, Annie!

Opha Mae

Opha Mae was named after the first ever female Marine. She was rescued from Valley Hills Rescue. She has been task trained for PTSD and will start her training for diabetic alert in the upcoming months!

Serve proudly, Opha Mae!

Mytchal

Mytchal is a German Shepherd who was brought into our program by his veteran. He is being  trained to help mitigate the effects PTSD. He will post or block in public if his handler feels overwhelmed or wants a barrier between herself and other people. 

Mytchal is serving proudly!

Calypso

Calypso is a German Shepherd brought to the program by his veteran. She has been task trained to help mitigate the effects of PTSD and is in training to help with mobility, balance, and picking up items for her vet.

Serve proudly, Calypso! 

Remington

Remington was rescued from Valley Hills Rescue.  He is task trained to retrieve, post, block, cover and alert his veteran if someone is walking up behind him. He is also task trained to help his veteran mitigate the effects of PTSD.

Serve proudly, Remington! 

Sasha

Sasha was rescued from the Humane Society.  She is task trained to retrieve, post, block, cover and alert her veteran if someone is walking up behind him. She is also task trained to help her veteran mitigate the effects of PTSD.

Serve proudly, Sasha! 

Avalanche

Avalanche was rescued from HFLCS Rescue. He is trained to help with mitigating the effects of PTSD and also for balance and stability. 

Serve proudly, Avalanche!