Dogtopia of Warwick – a daycare, boarding, and spa center for your four-legged friends – is known for celebrating its canine clientele with humorous, seasonally themed photoshoots like January’s ski trip getaway or February’s heart-filled Valentine. But look closer and you will find another very meaningful reason to celebrate – Dogtopia just reached its goal of raising $6,000 to help sponsor a third service dog for a military veteran.
Husband-and-wife owners David and Jennifer Giardino have a personal connection to the military (Jennifer’s brother and father are in the services) and they fully support the K9s For Warriors’ mission to end veteran suicide and return those who have experienced emotional or physical trauma to a life of dignity and independence.
“Each month we have $5 Treat Day – for example January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day!” shares David. “The dogs love it and the money goes to a great cause, thanks to the Dogtopia Foundation, which has raised $1.4 million and sponsored 23 service dogs to date.”
David is in awe of the generosity he has witnessed in Rhode Island. “We keep an ongoing tally of the money raised in our reception area and when we were $500 shy of our latest goal, we gave an extra push and one of our pet parents – an ex-military veteran herself – wrote out a check for the full amount, along with a note saying she would like to make her donation in the name of her late beloved pet. Dogs are such a source of inspiration.”
Last month the Giardinos huddled up in their East Greenwich home with their two daughters and three family dogs to watch service Labrador Retriever Maggie’s graduation ceremony. It was a moving moment for all the Dogtopia of Warwick community as pet parents have been following her training progress on Instagram (@dogtopiawarwick), with endearing reports written from Maggie’s perspective:
“When my trainer is sitting down and says ‘Lap!’ I am supposed to put my front paws over their legs. This can help my Warrior if they could use an extra cuddle for whatever reason. I am very polite and never jump up on people so I wasn’t sure what to do initially!” reads the Instagram entry.
Maggie will soon be handing over the bone-shaped baton to trainee service dog number three, but in the meantime you can be assured that Dogtopia of Warwick will continue to “fetch it forward!” L
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