WARRIOR CANINE CONNECTION INC

Boyds, MD   |  www.warriorcanineconnection.org

Mission

Warrior Canine Connection is a pioneering organization that utilizes clinically based Canine Connection Therapy to empower returning combat Veterans who have sustained physical and psychological wounds while in service to our country. Based on the concept of Warriors helping Warriors, WCC's therapeutic service dog training program is designed to mitigate symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries, while giving recovering Service Members and Veterans a sense of purpose, help in reintegrating back into their families and communities, and a potential career path as a service dog trainer. The program also produces highly skilled Warrior-trained service dogs that will provide years of mobility and social support to Veterans with disabilities.

Ruling year info

2011

Executive Director

Mr. Rick A. Yount

Main address

14934 Schaeffer Road

Boyds, MD 20841 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

45-2981579

NTEE code info

Military/Veterans' Organizations (W30)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Mental Health Disorders (F70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

There are more than 1.4 million people currently serving in the US military, and 18.2 million Veterans. On returning from combat, Veterans may experience visible or invisible wounds from war and face new stressors when reconnecting with their families and communities. The overwhelming quantity of Veterans that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) far outnumber the amount spent on Veterans health care. In addition, it is estimated that only half of all Veterans suffering from PTSD actually seek treatment. Warrior Canine Connection’s Mission Based Trauma Recovery (MBTR) program offers an avenue for treatment of PTSD and TBI symptoms for Veterans that might not otherwise seek help. Through this unique form of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), wounded Veterans help train highly-skilled service dogs for their fellow Veterans, and in doing so, experientially work to regain skills frequently compromised by these types of brain injuries.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Service Dog Training Program

Provides Service Members and Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) with a continuing missin to support their fellow Warriors through the training of mobility service dogs.  WCC's training method offers a safe, effective and inexpensive therapeutic intervention that remediates the core symptoms of PTS and TBI and produces well-trained service dogs that will be partnered at no cost with disabled Combat Veterans.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

Where we work

Accreditations

Assistance Dogs International 2021

Awards

William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award, Montgomery County, MD 2014

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot

Golden Gavel 2012

Fairfax County Virginia Bar Association

Governor’s Citation 2021

State of Maryland

Service Dog of the Year Award 2020

American Kennel Club

Hero Dog Award Finalist 2021

American Humane

Governor Award for Volunteerism 2019

State of Maryland

Governor Volunteer Service Award 2019

State of North Carolina

Dog of the Year Award 2016

World Dog Awards

Donald Schaefer “Helping People Award” 2014

Montgomery County, Maryland

Number of clients who report general satisfaction with their services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans, People with physical disabilities

Related Program

Service Dog Training Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Percentage of Veterans who report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their WCC service dog placement.

Graduates Reporting a Positive Impact in Overall Mood

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans, People with physical disabilities

Related Program

Service Dog Training Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Percentage of Veterans reporting a positive impact or significant positive impact on their overall mood after placement of a WCC Service Dog.

Graduates Reporting a Positive Impact on Social Interactions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans, People with physical disabilities

Related Program

Service Dog Training Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Percentage of Veterans reporting a positive impact or significant positive impact on the quality of their social interactions after placement of a WCC Service Dog.

Participants Reporting Overall Satisfaction With Personal Progress

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

Service Dog Training Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Percentage of Veterans participating in WCC's Therapeutic Service Dog Training Program who report being satisfied or very satisfied with their personal progress in the program.

Participants Reporting Positive Impact on Their Overall Mood

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

Service Dog Training Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Percentage of Veterans participating in WCC's Therapeutic Service Dog Training Program who report positive impact on their overall mood after participation in the program.

Participants Reporting Reduction in Stress

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

Service Dog Training Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Percentage of Veterans participating in WCC's Therapeutic Service Dog Training Program who report reduction in their level of stress after participation in the program.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

1. Provide Service Members and Veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) the opportunity to take part in a critical military-support mission that helps fellow wounded Warriors

2. Offer a safe, effective, inexpensive, non-pharmaceutical therapeutic intervention for the treatment of PTSD

3. Provide highly skilled, purpose-bred service dogs that will provide years of mobility, social support, and independence to Veterans with disabilities at no cost to the Veteran

4. Provide a meaningful career path in the growing service dog industry

5. Relieve stress and strengthen the bonds in military families

WCC will scale operations to serve 8,000 veterans by 2027 through expansion of its MBTR program. Increased availability of this unique intervention for PTSD and TBI will support the following strategies:

1. Through site expansion and increased efficiency, WCC will increase access to Mission Based Trauma Recovery program as treatment for PTSD and TBI, which simultaneously unleashes resiliency and focuses ambition on personal recovery while helping fellow Warriors
2. Provide highly-skilled assistance dogs for Warriors (service, facility, “family support", and therapy dogs)
3. Increase public awareness and education pertaining to PTSD/TBI, Mission Based Trauma Recovery and other forms of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), and assistance dog benefits
4. Engage in scholarly advancement and policy influence through research—creating and transferring knowledge to expand stakeholder support and advance the understanding of policy makers of MBTR and AAT and Warrior potential
5. Provide career skills for Warriors, Volunteers, and clinicians in training—enhancing Warrior career-building skills, introducing dog training skills and PTSD/TBI awareness to Puppy Parents and other volunteers, and advancing health care capabilities through skills based clinical learning

Disabled Veterans from all 50 states and all branches of service are eligible to participate in WCC’s program at 10 locations throughout the United States. All services are provided at no cost to Veterans and their Military Families, who frequently accompany them. WCC currently provides its Mission Based Trauma Recovery program at the following clinical locations:

National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), Bethesda, MD
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals, Silver Spring, MD
Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, VA
Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Menlo Park, CA
Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Palo Alto, CA
Dept of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, San Francisco, CA
Charles George VA Medical Center, Asheville, NC

In the last few years, WCC has expanded its services to communities where Veterans are falling through the cracks and at high risk. Specifically, WCC has enhanced its efforts to provide its MBTR program for Veterans not only at US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and military hospital facilities, but also at community-based intervention sites serving Veterans, and VA-administered Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) that have emerged throughout the country. Diversification of WCC’s program delivery sites is allowing WCC to not only work with critically-ill Veteran populations in hospital settings, but also the vast population of Veterans who may remain undiagnosed and instead opt to seek help through non-profit organizations, VA community centers, and other resources in their local community. WCC currently provides its MBTR program at the following VTCs and community sites:

Warrior Canine Connection Healing Quarters (HQ), Boyds, MD
Baltimore City Veterans Treatment Court, Baltimore, MD
San Mateo County Veterans Treatment Court, Redwood City, CA
Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Buncombe County Veterans Treatment Court, Asheville, NC

Because of WCC’s unique program design, each service dog in training supports far many more recovering Veterans than just the one that the dog is permanently placed with. Throughout its two years of training, a dog may participate in MBTR programming with as many as 60 Veterans depending on its program site, in addition to informal outreach events. Therefore, while WCC has placed 108 dogs with Veterans and Military Families since 2011, more than 5,600 unique Veterans and Military Family Members have engaged in WCC’s MBTR program as part of their recovery and rehabilitation. WCC's unique program model inspired lawmakers in 2021 to pass the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, which calls to add five sites for therapeutic service dog training at VA hospitals across the country.

In addition to engaging Veterans in MBTR programming, WCC also involves more than 500 volunteers each year—49% of whom are Veterans or military connected.

Since its founding in 2011, WCC has provided its unique MBTR program to more than 5,600 wounded Veterans and placed 108 highly-skilled assistance dogs.

Operating at some of the country’s premier VA and DoD medical treatment centers, WCC is frequently asked to provide subject matter expertise to government policy makers and Members of Congress as they consider issues related to service dogs for physical and psychological injuries. WCC is also playing a leadership role in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy, particularly as subject matter experts in the clinical and neurobiological basis of AAT, and is participating in Congressionally-funded research on WCC’s innovative MBTR model.

Guided by an accomplished medical director with more than three decades of experience as a military psychologist, WCC has also taken a leadership role in scientific research into the biological, physiological, and behavioral effects of service dog training as a therapeutic modality to mitigate the symptoms of TBI and PTSD. In 2014, based on positive reports from wounded Warriors and their clinical providers, the House Armed Services Committee directed the Secretary of Defense to conduct research on the therapeutic dog training programs at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). The 2014 and 2015 DoD Appropriations Acts included a total of $7 million to carry out this research.

WCC is collaborating with research experts from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), National Intrepid Center of Excellence, WRNMMC, and the civilian academic community to carry out these DoD funded research protocols.

In addition to its research efforts, WCC partners with national government agencies in support of Veterans issues. For example, in 2020 WCC began a collaboration with PREVENTS, the President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide. Stemming from Executive Order 13861, this join initiative is focused on a public health approach to suicide prevention. WCC’s Chief Medical Advisor is as an Ambassador to the PREVENTS task force.

In September 2020 during Suicide Awareness Month and National Service Dog Month, WCC worked closely with PREVENTS to coordinate the announcement of a First Canine Ambassador to the task force. WCC Service Dog Ron is playing a key role in educating the public about the positive impact that Service Dogs and pets, in general, can have on mental health. They have appeared in public service announcements supporting the PREVENTS initiative.

The WCC Explore Puppy Cam has also been utilized to further educate and inform the public about suicide prevention for Veterans. In November, the NY Times named WCC’s Puppy Cam the best live animal stream for its outreach to millions of people around the globe. During the global pandemic, WCC's live stream was featured at hospitals, senior living centers, and as part of countless virtual conferences.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Warrior Canine Connection utilizes a Mission Based Trauma Recovery model to help recovering Warriors reconnect with life, their families, their communities, and each other. Warriors interact with dogs from birth through adulthood, training these dogs to act as service dogs for wounded Warriors. Warrior Trainers benefit from the animal-human connection, while wounded Warriors receive the support that a service dog can provide. Warrior Canine Connection helps Veterans suffering from the visible and invisible wounds of war: Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mobility loss, Anxiety, or Depression. We also assist Military Families.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

WARRIOR CANINE CONNECTION INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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WARRIOR CANINE CONNECTION INC

Board of directors
as of 3/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Julie Walters

Earl Strimple, DVM

Julie Walters

Rick Yount

Lawrence McBean

Kyle Richards

Rosemarie Kraus

Joshua Stueve

Michael Subin

Spencer Milo

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/15/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.