K9 Veterans Day Spotlight: HeroGrown® HG-K9 and Freedom Service Dogs

K9 Veterans Day Spotlight: HeroGrown® HG-K9 and Freedom Service Dogs

K9 Veterans Day, celebrated on March 13th, primarily honors the service and sacrifices of military and working dogs throughout U.S. history. This includes K9’s involved in various roles such as search and rescue, detection, and combat operations.  

In a broader sense, K9 Veterans Day can also extend to recognize service dogs that assist veterans with disabilities, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), showcasing a wider recognition beyond just military working dogs. Given the loyalty and service these working dogs make in the line of duty, it is only appropriate that their dedication is celebrated annually. 

Recognizing and supporting these working and service dogs is important, and it's here that partnerships between organizations like HeroGrown® Foundation, Freedom Service Dogs, and Charlotte's Web come into play. Read on to learn how these two organizations provide support for our four-legged friends, and how that support in turn helps improve veterans’ lives, and more. 

HeroGrown® Foundation’s HG-K9 program

HeroGrown® Foundation's HG-K9 program is dedicated to supporting the wellness of both active and retired working dogs, along with the service dogs of veterans. This initiative is centered around offering Charlotte's Web Pet CBD products at no cost, specifically targeting our members with service K9s, and extending support to active and retired military and law enforcement personnel who find themselves financially constrained. By providing these complimentary CBD products, the HG-K9 program aims to alleviate the economic pressures faced by veterans, ensuring they never have to choose between their own health needs and those of their faithful service dogs.  

Nick Martin, the co-founder and director of HeroGrown® Foundation stated "the kickoff of our HG-K9 program, in partnership with Charlotte's Web, marks a significant milestone. It demonstrates how collaboration can ignite innovative solutions with substantial impact. Charlotte's Web has played a crucial role, providing the support needed to elevate the HG-K9 program to new heights. We are now assisting hundreds of incredible K9s across the country." Nick went on to say "partnering with Charlotte's Web has elevated our mission, spotlighting our cause and amplifying our efforts significantly. Their enthusiasm and understanding of our goals have transformed our initiatives, showcasing the power of collaboration. Their steadfast and unwavering support has not only broadened our reach, but it has also led to an unprecedented wave of positive feedback from our members, highlighting the exceptional quality and impact of their incredible hemp products." 

Nick shared with us some inspiring stories from two members of this program who both happen to be U.S. Navy Veterans. We wanted to highlight them here so you can get a better understanding of the impact HG-K9 makes, what Nick refers to as “bringing good into the world.”   

Justin M. and Josie

Justin M. - U.S. Navy Veteran, and his service dog Marley, clients of HeroGrown Foundation

“Dealing with my Boxer's hyper vigilance, stress from separation and car rides were wearing her and everyone out. Thanks to HeroGrown and the HG-K9 program, I discovered Charlotte's Web CBD Calming Chews. They've been great for reducing Josie's stress levels and allow her to truly relax. It really made a difference for her and the entire family. I'd recommend these chews to any pet owner with similar problems.”

- Justin M. - U.S. Navy Veteran 

Nick S. and Marley

Nick S. - U.S. Navy Veteran and his service dog Marley, clients of HeroGrown Foundation

"Marley provides unconditional love and companionship to our whole family and I want to show that same support to her.  After getting one TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery, she unfortunately needed to have a second TPLO before the age of 3 years old.  After undergoing double TPLO surgery, Marley was experiencing discomfort, soreness, limited mobility, swelling, bruising, and tenderness around the surgical sites. I also had to go through knee surgery post-military-deployment, and what helped me a ton with recovery was natural medicine.  I wanted to give Marley the best possible odds of a full recovery to ensure she has many more happy years with our family, so we started her on Charlotte’s Web™ Hip & Joint chews. She has since made a full recovery, gained all her spirit back and now burns laps around the backyard at lightning speed and couldn’t be happier!"

- Nick S. - U.S. Navy Veteran  

HeroGrown® Foundation’s HG-K9 program has also partnered with other organizations to pass on Charlotte’s Web™ hemp extract to amplify the support for these dogs . Currently these two organizations are K9’s for Warriors which is the nation’s largest provider of service dogs for veterans. The other organization is Bodhi Battalion which provides trained service dogs to veterans and first responders experiencing challenges related to post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues.  

HeroGrown® Foundation does much more than the HG-K9 program. Its primary mission is to fight for the 20 million military veterans and tens of millions of active and retired first responders. It is the preeminent organization fighting for their right to choose cannabis as a safe and viable alternative to prescription drugs by providing it for free to these heroes in need. Be sure to check back soon as we will be highlighting HeroGrown® Foundation’s core purpose in greater detail! 

Freedom Service Dogs of America  

Freedom Service Dogs of America (FSD) is another impact partner that deserves special recognition on K9 Veterans Day. FSD partners custom-trained assistance dogs with adults and young individuals challenged with disabilities, including veterans, active-duty military members, and members of law enforcement struggling with PTSD and TBI. They also place FSD Skilled Companion Dogs with veterans, first responders, active-duty military members and their families, as well as Gold Star families, to provide loving companionship in the home.  

For our veterans and active-duty military members struggling with the effects of PTSD, receiving a Freedom Service Dog can be truly life-changing. Our dogs open the door to new possibilities and help them rediscover their sense of confidence, independence, and freedom. With a FSD dog by their side, they feel more secure in crowds and learn to reconnect with their loved ones. They experience new things and feel a greater sense of self-esteem, happiness, and hope. 

FSD dogs perform a variety of tasks to assist veterans and active-duty military members with PTSD, including interrupting anxious behaviors and nightmares, providing deep pressure therapy (DPT), creating space in crowds, opening doors, picking up dropped items, pulling off clothes/socks, retrieving medication, finding help when need be, as well as providing some balance support, and more. 

Training for these types of dogs is extensive, and during the first two weeks that adult dogs are in formal training, they receive Charlotte’s Web™ hemp extract to help them transition to the kennels and reduce their kennel stress. Adult dogs that exhibit more kennel stress receive a longer duration of Charlotte’s Web™ products. 

Since FSD’s founding in 1987, they have supported over 550 teams of clients and dogs. In 2023 alone, 70 teams received lifetime support, 262 adult dogs and puppies were cared for, and FSD partnered 13 veterans suffering from PTSD with a FSD service dog. Here are two of their stories.

Thomas and Valor 

Among the many success stories facilitated by Freedom Service Dogs of America is that of Thomas, a U.S. Navy Veteran whose return to civilian life was fraught with challenges. After more than two decades of service across the globe, Thomas faced a daunting battle against PTSD and service-related injuries that severely limited his mobility and independence. Desperate for a change and inspired by the potential of a service dog to aid in his recovery, Thomas embarked on a transformative journey. It was this leap of faith that led him to Valor, a skilled and compassionate black Labrador Retriever. Together, they have forged a path toward healing, companionship, and reconnection with the community. 

“Getting Valor felt hopeful. Truly hopeful,” Thomas recalled. “Having Valor is far beyond just having a well-trained dog. He’s a package deal. Yes, I have a service dog that is my battle buddy, but I also have someone who depends on me and vice versa. He also reminds me of where I’ve been and encourages me to help others.”

– Thomas – U.S. Navy Veteran 

Josh and Champ 

Josh’s journey from a dedicated military career to facing the challenges of Ménière’s disease, a debilitating inner-ear disorder, underscores the profound impact of service dogs on veterans’ lives. Ménière’s disease not only ended his military service but also stripped away his independence, plunging him into a world of uncertainty and vulnerability. However, Josh’s indomitable spirit led him to seek support from Freedom Service Dogs, where he found a new partner in Champion, aka Champ, a service dog who would help him navigate the complexities of his condition. Champ has been instrumental in restoring Josh’s sense of freedom and confidence, providing not just assistance but also companionship. 

“Champ has become more than a service dog to me. He has become my wingman, my loyal companion, and my ‘furever’ best friend. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. Freedom Service Dogs not only provided me with a well-mannered, well-trained service animal, but they have also allowed me to enjoy life again.”

– Josh – U.S. Air Force

Tim and Cypress 

Tim’s transition from a U.S. Army and National Guard Veteran to confronting the invisible wounds of PTSD, anxiety, and a sense of isolation highlights the critical need for support beyond traditional therapies. Despite receiving counseling and medication, Tim found himself grappling with the profound impacts of his condition, including severe social anxiety and a heightened sensitivity to sounds, which disrupted his daily life. It was his decision to explore the healing potential of a service dog that led him to Freedom Service Dogs, where he found not just a dog, but a lifeline in Cypress, a yellow Labrador retriever. Together, they embarked on a journey of healing, and mutual support, illustrating the bond between a veteran and his service dog. 

“Don’t ever forget that if you get a service dog from FSD, you are never alone. You have your furry battle buddy. You have the support of the FSD team who are always there for us. You also belong to a larger community of veterans who were brave enough to get a service dog and commit to their recovery. We are always there for you, and we will never stop being your advocate.”

– Tim – U.S. Army and National Guard Veteran 

K9 Veterans Day honors the legacy and sacrifices of military and working dogs across U.S. history, recognizing their essential roles in operations from search and rescue to combat. It also pays homage to service dogs aiding veterans with disabilities, such as PTSD, broadening the day’s observance to include all service dogs that contribute to veterans’ well-being beyond traditional military roles. This day serves as a reminder of the profound bond between humans and dogs, celebrating their dedication and the diverse ways in which K9s serve our nation and the heroes that have protected it. 

We support and applaud our two partner organizations because they are making such a positive impact on the lives of those they reach. We encourage our readers to consider donating to support their mission. HeroGrown® Foundation accepts donations and has a merch store. Freedom Service Dogs of America offers 10 different ways to give including a merch store. And if you are interested, learn more about the full history of K9 Veterans Day.