ARF Breaks Ground On Pets & Vets Center In Walnut Creek

By Carrie Hodousek, KCBS Radio

April 3, 2019
ARF Breaks Ground On Pets & Vets Center In Walnut Creek (Photo credit: Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio)

(Photo credit: Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio)

WALNUT CREEK (KCBS RADIO) — Tony La Russa Animal Rescue Foundation breaks ground on a Pets and Vets Center in Walnut Creek. KCBS Radio's Carrie Hodousek said the building will allow more veterans to be paired with a service dog.

Marine Corps vet David Fuller says he relies on his 3-year-old pit bull, Katie. That's because he suffers from PTSD. "At night, if I'm having a panic attack she's trained to provide therapeutic pressures," Fuller said. "She would put her paws on my chest. Sometimes if I'm at an ATM getting money out she'll turn and brace yourself against my back so I know that nobody's going to sneak up behind me,"

Those are just some of the training techniques he's been able to teach his dog through ARF's Pets and Vets program launched seven years ago by ARF co-founder and former Oakland Athletics manager Tony La Russa. 

He says the new facility will give vets a private space to train, bond and connect with their dogs as well as house up to 500 more dogs a year.

"Just being a companion animal is how it started," La Russa said. "The emotional support, unconditional love every day. And at most, of our veterans that's what they have. They just have somebody that they can trust, who has their back."

The goal is to eliminate the line of vets waiting for a service dog and to increase the number of rescues at the foundation at ARF Walnut Creek.