New Life K9s
Service Dogs for Veterans and
First Responders with PTSD

Giving Tuesday
This Giving Tuesday we hope you choose to support the mission of New Life K9s by helping our service dogs save countless lives on the Central Coast!

New Life K9s has many different ways you can show your support!

  • Time can be donated by volunteering or being a puppy parent. 

  • You can use the services of Thousand Hills Pet Resort for doggie daycare or boarding. The proceeds from this cover all the administrative costs of New Life K9s so 100% of your financial donations go directly to providing Service Dogs for our veterans.

  • You can also donate by giving or purchasing cars. Information on this program can be found at 

  • Finally, you can donate financially as an individual or on a team. 

  • Individually you can donate a lump sum or sign up for monthly recurring donations. 

  • Team donations consist of 22 participants each donating $22/month for 22 months (in recognition of the 22 veterans who take their lives each day) to fully fund a Service Dog. 

All financial donations can be given through our website; or by check, made out to "New Life K9s" and mailed to P.O. Box 4412, San Luis Obispo, CA 93403.
The Value of the Animal-Human Bond
Dear Supporters of New Life K9s,

This month I'll begin a series of columns which I hope will bring you some nuggets of information about the wondrous nature of our dogs, ourselves, and the relationship between us. I'll try not to drag you too far into my nerdy love of research but instead, bridge the mission of New Life K9s (of saving lives through the healing power of the human-canine bond), with information that further deepens our appreciation of our canine companions and service dogs. 

Having worked as a psychologist with veterans for over 30 years and having a beloved-by-all canine companion, Koki, participating in that work for nearly 7 of those years, I can personally attest to the impact of Koki’s relationship with my clients. More so, I can share the mounting research support for the benefits of relationships with animals and nature throughout the life span. So I begin, this month, with an introduction to: 

"The Value of the Animal-Human Bond"

As dog lovers, it will come as no surprise that evidence is mounting on the mutually beneficial value of the dynamic relationship between humans and animals. Indeed, the 2017 survey of the American Pet Products Association* found 68% of American households have at least one companion animal, with the largest percentage (48%) having one or more dogs. This percentage has grown more than 20% over the last 30 years. What is referred to as the Animal-Human Bond, or Human-Animal Interaction (HAL) is a relatively young area of research though it has grown tremendously in the past 10 years, with a focus largely on the canine-human bond. Numerous studies have explored and discovered, for example, the effects of therapy dogs on decreased pain, improved social behaviors in children on the autism spectrum, and improved motivation and program adherence in hospital patients. Other studies on pet ownership have discovered links to decreased blood pressure, higher one-year survival rates following heart attacks, and reduced health care costs. Currently, studies are showing great promise in establishing the benefits of service dogs for veterans with PTSD.*

Researchers have identified how animals may improve the "social capital" *of human beings. What that means is that a significant part of our well-being is related to our relationships and connections. It is part of our biology, our psychology and our culture to form relationships. Our relationships with animals and nature have significant implications for the well-being of all of life. Along these lines, research has identified risks associated with limited attachments to nature/animals, referring to it as a "Nature Deficit” with links to how this may negatively affect us physically, emotionally, and behaviorally. The quality of our attachment with others, including other people, animals, nature and our environment has been shown to be a better predictor of success in life than our "IQ."*  Along these lines, studying the healing and growth potential of the human-canine bond links us to the mission and passion of New Life K9s.

In terms of the New Life K9s goal of providing veterans with PTSD with a service dog at no cost to the veteran, the bond established between a veteran with PTSD and his or her service dog is seen as the foundation for a healing and supportive relationship together.  In recognition of the critical value of this bond, the New Life K9 Educators (Director Nicole and Educators Rosa and Courtney) have gained education and adopted the "Bond-Based Choice Teaching" model* in preparing service dogs for their partnership with a veteran. This approach was developed by Jennifer Arnold, through her many years of preparing service dogs for people with disabilities. We'll be sharing more with you about this philosophy of learning as it relates to the work of New Life K9s and our relationships with our dogs...and theirs with us.

In the meantime, wishing you and yours, both human and canine, a joyous holiday season!

Robin Lewis, Ph.D.                                                                                                      
Licensed Psychologist                                                                                                   
Co-Chair, New Life K9s Advisory Board         

*For space and interest considerations, if you would like a list of the references linked to this column, please email me at
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New Life K9s Calendar
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Our Next Graduate!
Rusty with his California Men's Colony
Inmate Handler Wesley
We have very exciting news at New Life K9s. We are getting very close to graduating our very first service dog out of California Men's Colony! Rusty is a yellow Labrador Retriever who has been learning to become a service dog for about 2 years now. Rusty and our Canine Educators are working hard to make sure a life saving bond is being built with a Central Coast Veteran. Thank you to everyone who has supported New Life K9s to make this graduation possible. Rusty is expected to be graduated and placed in under a month! Be sure to check out our next newsletter to see how Rusty does with his graduation.
New Life K9s
Branch of Son Care Foundation, Inc.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Saving Lives through the Healing Power of the Human-Canine Bond