America's VetDogs Partners with Houston Texans and Kroger to Raise Future Service Dog
Trained puppy will be placed with a disabled veteran or first-responder with disabilities
– The Houston Texans, in partnership with Kroger, today announced a joint collaboration with America’s VetDogs to name and train a future service dog that will be placed with a veteran or first-responder with disabilities.
The Texans’ pup is a 10-week old male, yellow Labrador Retriever, who will undergo basic training and socialization with Texans staff, players and fans during the next 16-18 months. The Texans and Kroger will host the puppy at community events, meet and greets, and select home games to assist in raising and socializing him to become a future service dog. Fans will be able to follow the pup on Instagram at @TexansPup
, on Twitter at @TexansPup
, and on TikTok at @TexansPup to stay up-to-date on his training and scheduled local appearances.
Texans fans will have a chance to help name the new puppy by submitting a suggested new name for the Labrador Retriever starting July 23. Those who do so will have an opportunity to win a Texans Pup prize pack, courtesy of the Texans and Kroger. Voting will run until July 29 with a final fan vote taking place Friday, July 30. Contest details are available at tex.nz/Pup
Following his early training, the puppy will be returned back to the America’s VetDogs campus in Smithtown, N.Y. to begin his formal service-dog training. At the conclusion of his training, the Labrador Retriever will be matched, at no cost, with a veteran or first-responder with disabilities. VetDogs’ assistance dog programs were created to provide enhanced mobility and renewed independence to veterans, active-duty service members, and first-responders with disabilities.
America’s VetDogs, a New York-based nonprofit, provides service dogs to veterans and first-responders who have experienced physical injuries, PTSD, hearing and vision loss, and seizures. It is the same organization that trained and placed service dog Sully H.W. Bush with President George H.W. Bush.
Typically, it costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place an assistance dog, however, all of America’s VetDogs services are provided at no charge to the individual. Funding comes from the generosity of individual donors, corporations, and service and fraternal clubs.
Outlets interested in coordinating media appearances with the puppy should contact Sam Fristachi of the Texans’ PR department at email@example.com.
Since 2003, America’s VetDogs (www.VetDogs.org) has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first-responders, including fire, police and emergency medical personnel. America's VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation, and it serves clients from across the United States. VetDogs relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place an assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual. America’s VetDogs has been accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.
About the Houston Texans
The Houston Texans were introduced as the NFL’s 32nd franchise on Oct. 6, 1999 thanks to a city-wide effort spearheaded by franchise founder and late owner Robert C. McNair, and current Co-Founder and Senior Chair Janice McNair. The Texans have since evolved into Forbes Magazine’s 19th-most valuable professional sports franchise in the world, with an estimated value of $2.8 billion, and are annually ranked among the Houston Chronicle’s “Top 100 Places to Work in the City.” The Houston Texans are the only expansion team to have won their first game, defeating Dallas, 19-10, on Sept. 8, 2002. The team has sold out every preseason, regular season and postseason game in franchise history, and donated more than $35 million back to the community through the Houston Texans Foundation. The team won AFC South division titles in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016. NRG Stadium, the NFL’s first retractable-roof stadium, is the home of the Texans.
About Kroger Houston
The Kroger Houston Division operates more than 100 stores in SE Texas and Louisiana and employs over 18,000 associates. Last year, Kroger Houston donated $1.9M to local non-profit organizations and schools, and donated 2.6M pounds of food to local food banks. We are committed to creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.