K9s for Warriors
K9s For Warriors is dedicated to providing service canines to our Warriors suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disability, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post-9/11.
Our goal is to empower them to return to civilian life with dignity and independence. We are the nation's largest provider of service dogs for disabled American veterans.
K9s For Warriors is a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.
BECAUSE TOGETHER WE STAND
By Scott Smith
MEET JAMES AND DUNKIN
James Rutland is a 12-year Army veteran who served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004, followed by two more tours in South Korea. He left the military in 2014, suffering from multiple medical conditions related to his service, including mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), sleep apnea, and hearing loss, to name a few.
Most importantly, he suffered from depression and often thought about suicide. Thinking he could do it alone, Rutland tried healing from the trauma on his own. That wasn’t working. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got,” says Rutland.
What Life Without Dunkin?
- James Rutland of K9s For Warriors
In 2016, Rutland finally rounded the bend of recovery when he was paired with his service dog, Dunkin. “I started focusing on "we instead of "me”, says Rutland.
He has a semi-colon tattoo on his right wrist, a known symbol of taking a pause when thinking about suicide. Unlike a “period” which ends a sentence, the semicolon creates a pause, for the reader, then continues the story. Rutland wears it proudly. "It's a great conversation starter," Rutland says.
He goes on to explain that breathing, family, friends, and the program that gave him Dunkin are what keeps him going.
James Rutland, with his service dog Duncan