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  • Crystal Mendoza

Hounds & Heroes: Improving The Lives of Rescue Pets & Veterans

Hounds and Heroes is a veteran-focused animal rescue charity based primarily out of California and Texas. The organization aims to rescue shelter dogs, match them with a veteran, and train them to become therapy or service animals.

Horses are also rescued from slaughter, providing veterans an opportunity to visit and ride the horses for therapeutic purposes. The scenario is a win-win; the animals are saved from euthanasia and the veterans are given a chance to improve their quality of life.


Meet The Founder

Bonnie-Jill Laflin used her platform as a sports broadcaster, Lakers scout, and NFL cheerleader to launch a charity in 2010 dedicated to her passion for animal rescue and honoring military veterans. Ever since childhood, Bonnie-Jill has felt a strong connection to animals and would rescue dogs and horses alongside her family. She also had a tremendous amount of respect for service members; her father was a police officer, her uncle served as a Marine, and her two grandfathers were World War II veterans.


As a cheerleader for the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, Bonnie-Jill had been on multiple USO tours, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. She understood firsthand the aftermath of military combat, including Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), amputations, and of course, high suicide rates. Knowing the therapeutic nature of dogs, Bonnie-Jill decided to create a charity that helped train at-risk shelter dogs as service dogs for wounded and combat veterans. “It’s very rewarding in the end to give back to our nation’s heroes and also save an animal’s life.”


How It Works


After confirming military service and medical needs, the organization will find a dog that best fits the veteran’s needs. One of the most significant challenges is procuring enough funds to pay for certified dog trainers. Depending on the veteran’s needs, the rescue dogs will be trained to become therapy or service animals, but may also require basic obedience training. These lessons are essential in providing the veteran with the quality of life they need and deserve. In the future, Bonnie-Jill envisions procuring enough funds to build a centralized sanctuary that can be used for housing animals and hosting veterans and trainers. If you know a veteran that could benefit from this program, they can apply here.


How You Can Support


Donations are always welcome at Hounds and Heroes, but there are other ways to contribute. For example, they regularly host bed and blanket drives that are donated to animal shelters. They are also involved with many veteran-related activities, such as feeding homeless veterans, helping with job hunting, or coordinating care packages for active-duty military members. You can follow Hounds and Heroes on Instagram to keep up with their latest updates.


Gaia Provides is honored and excited to announce our collaboration with Hounds & Heroes on our new campaign Pet Chews For A Cause. If you'd like to directly support Hounds & Heroes through this campaign or any other rescue, please check out the Pet Chews For A Cause Campaign now.


If you’re interested in learning more about Hounds and Heroes, their collaboration with Gaia Provides, or how you can support an amazing rescue like theirs, then check out the interview below: