Soldiers Best Friend

Soldier’s Best Friend Receives Support from Thunderbirds Charities

Local nonprofit, Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF), is pleased to announce that Thunderbirds Charities has awarded a grant in the amount of $20,000 towards SBF’s Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program that supports veterans living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in Arizona. The funding will be used to pair the program’s veterans with appropriate and vetted rescued dogs, providing professional training, all necessary equipment and veterinary care to the veteran/dog team for the duration of their participation in the program.

Founded in 2011 and based in Peoria, the Soldier’s Best Friend mission is to provide veterans with combat-related PTSD and/or TBI with service/therapeutic companion dogs. The effects of PTSD can include anxiety, depression, flashbacks, reclusive behavior, uneasiness in public and suicidal thoughts. Additionally, TBI can cause mood and behavioral problems, memory loss, physical pain and difficulty with communication. To lessen the challenges these conditions present, the veteran/dog team undergoes 6-9 months of training with SBF trainers, and upon graduation, the dog has qualified for service/therapeutic companion dog status. SBF conducts training in metro Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, Sierra Vista and Flagstaff. Through August of this year, 281 veteran/dog teams have graduated and over 156 dogs have been rescued from local shelters. Thirty-five teams are currently in training.

“In 2014, June was designated PTSD Awareness Month, so the timing of this generous gift from the Thunderbirds Charities is perfect,” says Jill Nelson, Board President. “The need is so great. Just in Arizona alone, it is estimated that more than 120,000 veterans are affected by PTSD or TBI. This grant will absolutely help us reach our goal to serve 125 veteran/dog teams this year. The Thunderbirds are well-known for the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament which has raised more than $147 million for Arizona charities. Soldier’s Best Friend is honored to be included.”

For more information about supporting Soldier’s Best Friend or applying for the Service/Therapeutic Companion Dog Training Program, please visit or contact them by phone at 623.218.6486. Information about Thunderbirds Charities is available on or by phone at 602.870.0163.

Soldiers Best Friend

About Soldier’s Best Friend

Soldier’s Best Friend provides U.S. military veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once and inspires countless others.

For more information about Soldier’s Best Friend, visit

Thunderbirds Charities
Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in our communities. The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. For more information on The Thunderbirds or the 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit For more information on Thunderbirds Charities, visit

This grant is part of the Spring 2019 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees.