Atlanta United partners with America’s VetDogs to raise second future service dog
Second-ever MLS club service dog will be trained for placement with disabled U.S. veteran
ATLANTA (Sept. 1, 2021)
– Atlanta United today announced the club has once again partnered with America’s VetDogs, a New York-based nonprofit organization that provides service dogs to U.S. veterans, active-duty service members and first responders with disabilities. Through this partnership, Atlanta United will be co-raising a male, 12-week-old Black Labrador retriever, who will be trained in the Atlanta area for the next 16-18 months with the purpose of becoming a service dog. Atlanta United will host the puppy at community events and select home games to assist in raising and socializing him to be a confident and calm future service dog.
After holding a vote through the club’s website, the puppy’s name was chosen by supporters to be King.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with America’s VetDogs and reach our goal of improving the life of a veteran through this excellent program,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said. “Supporting our military is a foundational part of the club and the Blank Family of Businesses and successfully placing King with a veteran or first responder would be a privilege. We look forward to introducing King to our fans, giving them the opportunity to engage with him and educating the public about service dogs and the ways we can all support the veteran community.”
To learn more about the partnership and King’s journey, visit atlutd.com/pup. You can also follow him at @ATLUTDPup on Instagram
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“America’s VetDogs is thrilled to partner with Atlanta United for a second time on co-raising the team and leagues’ second future service dog,” said John Miller, president & CEO of America’s VetDogs. “Atlanta United’s passion for supporting our nation’s heroes aligns with our mission to provide trained service dogs for veterans and first responders with disabilities. This opportunity offers a unique environment for the pup to grow and thrive in. A well-socialized puppy will have fewer adjustments to make when he returns back to VetDogs for advanced service dog training. When it’s time, that confidence will help someone with disabilities conquer any challenges they may face together as a team.”
King will be trained by an Atlanta-based puppy raiser over the next year. Following his puppy raising stage, King will return to the America's VetDogs campus in Smithtown, New York, to begin his advanced service dog training with a certified service dog instructor. When his training is complete, King will be matched and placed with a veteran or first responder with disabilities at no charge to the individual. Funding comes from the generosity of individuals, businesses, and community organizations.
For more on America’s VetDogs and ways to get involved, visit VetDogs.org.
ABOUT ATLANTA UNITED
Atlanta United joined Major League Soccer in 2017 and won the 2018 MLS Cup in just its second season, the earliest an expansion team has won the title since 1998. The club has set multiple league records including season tickets sales (36,000-plus), single-game attendance (72,548), single-season average (53,002) and total home attendance (901,033). Owned by Arthur M. Blank, and led by club President Darren Eales, Atlanta United plays its home matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For more information about Atlanta United, including how to purchase season tickets, visit: www.atlutd.com, and follow @ATLUTD.
ABOUT AMERICA’S VETDOGS
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 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 over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one 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.