Helping Veterans and dogs

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Thursday, November 11, 2021
Shelter to Soldier helps bring Veterans and dogs together
Shelter to Soldier helps bring Veterans and dogs together. Graham Bloem, president & co-founder of the organization and Rich Barnes, president, The Barnes Firm talk about the partnership.

Shelter to Soldier brings Veterans & dogs together. Graham Bloem, president & co-founder of the organization & Rich Barnes, president, The Barnes Firm, talk about their partnership.

"We adopt dogs from shelters and rescues after careful evaluation, and we bring them into our program to train them as psychiatric service dogs. The program, on average, is 12 to 18 months of dog training to prepare these dogs and we're able to place them with post-911 combat Veterans in need, at no charge," explains Bloem.

Statistics at show that an average of 20 Veterans and one active duty military personnel die of suicide every day. Meanwhile, nearly 1,800 dogs are euthanized nationwide. Bloem says the staggering statistics are the reason they started the program.

Bloem says as dog-lovers and professionals in the dog-training realm through Shelter to Soldier, he's found that "these dogs provide an incredible sense of comfort, stability, motivation and they're tasked-trained to support very specific medical needs."

Rich Barnes shared that he chose to partner with the organization because his father and three of his brothers fought in World War II. Tragically, one of his brothers was killed in the line of duty in the European theater. In addition, Rich's brother, Steve Barnes (1958-2020) who was founder of The Barnes Firm, "was a Major in the United States Marine Corps. for many years. He actually commanded a tank battalion in Operation Desert Storm."

RELATED: Shelter to Soldier gives Veterans company in the form of shelter dogs

By "Saving Lives, Two At A Time," The Barnes Firm is very proud to be a sponsor of Shelter to Soldier. Anyone wanting to support the organization or a Veteran looking for services can visit their website for more information.

About Shelter to Soldier

Shelter to Soldier is a California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries. Shelter to Soldier Co-Founder, Graham Bloem is the recipient of the American Red Cross Real Heroes Award, 10News Leadership Award, CBS8 News Change It Up Award, Honeywell Life Safety Award, and the 2016 Waggy Award for Animal Welfare.

Additionally, Shelter to Soldier is a gold participant of GuideStar and accredited by the Patriot's Initiative. To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, visit

About The Barnes Firm

The Barnes Firm has experienced personal injury attorneys who focus exclusively on accident cases including, but not limited to, auto/motorcycle, construction/workplace and mesothelioma/medical injuries. The attorneys at the firm have helped thousands of injured victims recover millions of dollars through their personal injury claims. The firm has locations in California and New York, with offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Buffalo, Rochester, New York City, and Long Island. For more information, visit or call 1-800-800-0000.

Stay connected by following on social:

Facebook: @sheltertosoldier

Facebook: @TheBarnesFirm

Twitter: @TheBarnesFirm