The human-animal bond and supporting organizations that serve the most vulnerable through a connection with animals has never more important. The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor (KCAHC) initiated the Spirit of Service Award to recognize not-for-profit organizations that work to improve the health and lives of both animals and people. Animalytix is proud to be a primary sponsor with NAVC of the Spirit of Service Awards.
Chris Ragland, CEO of Animalytix, says ”Our commitment to the Spirit of Service Award is a natural fit with the company’s mission to support the animal health industry. We often say that our industry is more humane than the human medical industry and a big part of that is the human animal bond that we experience on a daily basis. Animals enrich our lives in so many ways and those organizations that bring those experiences into the lives of children, the elderly or those that may be suffering from a physical or emotional trauma or illness are worthy of our support,”.
2020 SPIRIT OF SERVICE HONOREES
The mission of Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is to change lives through the training and placement of service dogs with disabled veterans and children with autism.
Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs to help people with a primary focus on training dogs to serve the needs of veterans and children with autism. They breed and train chosen dogs that exhibit specific traits necessary to perform tasks to help these individuals. They believe in matching the dog to the recipient.
Their training program isn’t designed to train each dog the same way. Instead, dogs are trained to meet the needs of their specific recipient. Each dog will complete one or more Impact Program throughout their training. These programs include attending elementary schools, correctional facilities, college campuses and summer camps. During this training, the dogs are learning specific tasks, becoming familiar with different environments as well as making an impact on each individual they come in contact with. The dogs go through more than two years of training to meet Retrieving Freedom’s strict standards for a successful placement.
Retrieving Freedom, Inc. operates out of two locations, Waverly, Iowa, and Sedalia, Missouri as an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International. The service dogs trained by Retrieving Freedom increase the independence of the individuals they are matched with. Not only do they help with specific commands to mitigate that individual’s disability, but they also offer companionship and unconditional love.
Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center’s (SBTC) mission is to enhance the mental health and well-being of people through evidenced-based treatment and to aid in the physical and psychological recovery of abused and traumatized dogs with interactive training and the application of the human-canine bond in a therapeutic environment.
SBTC accomplishes their mission through a variety of programs, most notably by teaching a structured class to the post-traumatic stress wing at the Veterans Administration Hospital, alongside their registered therapy dogs, where they discuss the human-canine bond, what role it can play in lives and in recovery, and how it can be a vehicle to channel the skills patients learn from their doctors and social workers while at the hospital. Other programs include a Peace with Packs class where people working through stress and anxiety are paired with shelter dogs to work on mindfulness exercises with a licensed social worker, and their compassion fatigue and burnout training for animal shelter staff and first responders.
For the last 8 years, SBTC has facilitated their mission through programs in the community, at the VA Hospital, animal shelters, and classrooms. The most effective way to achieve their mission and maximize the reach to people and dogs in need is to build a facility to incorporate a multi-pronged approach to outpatient treatment. In 2019, SBTC secured over an acre of land in Lawrence, KS, to build their Center. SBTC will be launching a capital campaign for the building.
PREVIOUS SPIRIT OF SERVICE AWARD RECIPIENTS
If you would like to nominate a not-for-profit organization committed to helping both animals and people for the Spirit of Service Award, please click here.