North County Supports Shelter to Soldier™

September 2, 2017

North County Supports Shelter To Soldier Brings Hair-Razing Fundraiser to Vista

VISTA — North County Supports Shelter To Soldier (NCSSTS) will assist with staging an upcoming fundraiser in the group’s efforts to aid a nonprofit organization that provides service dogs free of charge to military veterans in need. The event will feature long-haired and bearded volunteers who have offered to be shaved during the afternoon party. Offering up their heads and faces for charity are Joe Kuntz, Alina Diaz, Daniel Humann and Jake Jucenas. Chances to shave these volunteers will be raffled off during the event. Event tickets for attendees at a concurrent “Sadie Hawkins” Dinner Party will be available for $10 apiece.

Date/Time: Saturday, September 2, Noon

Location: Alvin Myo Dunn American Legion Post 365, 1234 S. Santa Fe Ave., Vista, CA 92084

Proceeds from event the will go to Shelter to Soldier™, which describes its organizational mission as “saving lives two at a time,” first by rescuing dogs at risk of being euthanized for lack of shelter space, and second by training and partnering those dogs as psychiatric service companions for recently separated veterans of military service, especially those diagnosed as experiencing post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and depression.

The post-service casualty rate, according to the Veterans Administration, is loss of 22 to 23 U.S. military veterans committing suicide daily. Among homeless dogs, about 2.7 million are put to death annually, for scarcity of adoptive homes and shelter space. Those startling numbers inspired longtime dog trainer Graham Bloem and his wife, Kyrié, to found Shelter to Soldier™ in 2012.

On average, the care, boarding and training costs for each STS dog total $12,000. During this current fundraising year, NCSSTS is near to reaching the goal of paying for one service dog for a veteran in need.

Congratulations Luna and Jeremy!

August 31, 2017


Shelter to Soldier™ is proud to announce that on June 28th, 2017, US Marine Veteran Jeremy Engle and his Shelter to Soldier™ service dog, Luna, graduated our program! 
This goofy girl had a tough start in life, but her journey lead her to Shelter to Soldier™. She was found by a close friend of our co-founders, Graham and Kyrie Bloem, as a stray on the streets of Tijuana, Mexico. She was suffering from severe mange and malnutrition. Thankfully, her rescuer Leigh Ann got her the medical care she needed for a full recovery. After evaluating her in her healthy state, we knew she would make a great addition to our program! 
Luna was a rockstar from the beginning! It was clear very early on that she loved to work and was happy to learn. After almost a year of training with our professional training team, Luna was a new, highly trained dog and we knew she was ready for the next stage of her journey. She was soon matched with her veteran, Jeremy Engle!  The pair had an instant bond, and worked together to strengthen this bond through months of handler training. They completed our program ready to start a new life together and shortly after graduation, they made a family move to Georgia! We are so happy for Luna and Jeremy!  
Luna’s housing, food, care and training were generously sponsored by our Red Star Sponsors at Integriv, whose dedication to supporting their community has been directly responsible for saving two lives, and giving both Jeremy and Luna a second chance at greatness. This was Integriv’s second sponsorship through our program, as they previously made possible the placement of Shelter to Soldier™ service dog Jade with veteran Chris Meyer-Ontiveros.
Click the icon below to see the YouTube video we put together of Luna and Jeremy’s graduation ceremony!

Introducing NCSSTS

February 24, 2017

North County Supports Shelter to Soldier™ (NCSSTS) is an incredible group of people who have come together for the sole purpose of raising funds, support, and awareness for the Shelter to Soldier™ mission of “Saving Lives Two at a Time.”
NCSSTS is based out of Vista’s Alvin Myo Dunn American Legion Post 365 and their executive committee has already planned various events to take place throughout the year with the main goal of raising enough funds to sponsor at least one new dog through the STS service dog training program. The cost to sponsor a dog for the duration of their time with us is $12,000 which includes adoption, housing, medical care, food, and training for the 12-18 month training program. Though every donation counts and helps us inch closer to our next rescue and veteran pairing, sponsors like NCSSTS are vital to the overall success of our organization. The extreme generosity shown by this group in committing volunteer hours, fundraising efforts, and spreading awareness for our cause will undoubtedly lead to a new furry face being adopted from a local shelter and a new veteran receiving a companion that will give them a new lease on life.
Not wasting any time, the NCSSTS team has already been hard at work planning a few events over the next few months. On February 25th, they will be hosting a Veteran’s Formal Ball.
These events are also on their calendar for the upcoming months; all proceeds for these events will go toward supporting the Shelter to Soldier™ mission:
March 4th: a Motorocycle Poker Run in conjunction with ALR-365 Riders
March 12th: a St. Patrick’s Dog Walk
For more information on the Dog Walk, please visit:
Information on other events can be acquired by inquiry to or by phoning the Vista American Legion Post (760) 726-0472.

Shelter to Soldier™: Get Your Kids Involved in the Fun!

February 8, 2017

During the month of February, Shelter to Soldier™ wanted to do something fun to get kids involved, not only in our mission but also in doggy safety. We have decided to host a fun coloring contest!

We are encouraging little ones to show their support for Shelter to Soldier™ by coloring these pages and sending them back to us! Simply click the picture below, print, and color away!

You can email them to or mail them to Shelter to Soldier™, 2665 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103.

We will choose a winner and announce them on March 15th! The winner will be sent an STS water bottle and t-shirt!

Happy coloring!

Kira Color Page



What is Corporate Giving?

December 20, 2016

In the business world, the idea of corporate social responsibility is proving to be a growing trend. There are many reasons for this; not only does corporate giving reflect the values of the organization in question, but it has also been shown to increase employee morale and even job satisfaction! When employees feel that they are standing behind a brand that shares their values and positively impacts their community, they are more motivated workers and tend to feel more personally invested in the organization. The term, organizational culture comes to mind. This concept focuses on the idea that regardless of how great an organizations business strategy is, without a coinciding culture in place, that strategy simply cannot succeed. Even the best strategy will fail if the culture surrounding it is not in line with the values it expresses; even on a corporate level, it is vital to keep your actions in line with your mission in order to gain and keep the support of your employees and customers.

Shelter to Soldier™ has been blessed with many generous corporate sponsors in the years since we started our organization. First, our Founding Partner, Specialty Dog Training, which has used large portions of its profits to start and support Shelter to Soldier™ while we were building awareness in the community. Specialty Dog Training’s trainers volunteer time to work with our pups and they are a huge part of how we got started; without Specialty Dog Training, Shelter to Soldier™ would simply not be able to give back to the community the way we have. Goodsell & Company is our other founding partner. One of the principles at Goodsell, Krys Holc, is a Co-Founder and Treasurer of STS. Krys and her accounting firm donate time, expertise, the use of their office and they make direct contributions to the charity. Having a pro-bono accounting firm support STS is an amazing blessing.

“Building a brand isn’t just about making money or personal achievement, it is also about utilizing that brand to give back and do good in the world…paying it forward.” -Graham Bloem, Specialty Dog Training CEO and Training Director as well as Founder of Shelter to Soldier™.

Along with our Founding Partner, we also have many Red Star Sponsors we want to point out and thank for their unwavering generosity and support of the Shelter to Soldier™ mission. These are businesses in our community that take their dedication to social responsibility very seriously and have become corporate sponsors of our program. These Red Star Sponsors include: Schubach Aviation, Ranch & Coast Magazine, Griffin Funding, Integriv, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Plato Pet Treats, West Palms  Event Management, Nine10 Photobooth, Paw Paradise, Northrop Grumman, Fine Magazine, Pay It Forward Processing, Canine Caviar, Petco Foundation, The Thursday Club Juniors and Unite Professional Salon System.

This holiday season, our wish is that more organizations around the world will cultivate an environment of social responsibility and utilize their influence through corporate giving to give back to their communities in authentic, genuine ways.

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Unite Introduces Doggy ‘Poo

November 29, 2016



Smell good, do good. That’s the premise behind Doggy ‘Poo, the ultra-gentle new dog shampoo launched in October 2016 from professional hair care leader UNITE. An unprecedented 90 percent of proceeds from sales of Doggy ‘Poo will benefit two powerful animal advocacy organizations: Shelter to Soldier™ and San Diego Humane Society.

Doggy ‘Poo is the brainchild of UNITE founder and CEO Andrew Dale, a recognized expert in developing premium “people” formulas as well as a longtime animal welfare supporter, who, together with his wife Brenda, are the proud parents of three rescue pit bulls.  After trying countless products on his dogs, Dale set out to create a gentle, effective formula with a dual purpose:  to leave beloved pups clean, comfortable and smelling sweet while also helping others find homes.

Developing the right formula was the first step. Doggy ‘Poo boasts oatmeal to moisturize and soothe itchy skin and help relieve symptoms of allergies, dry skin, hot spots, and flea and tick problems. Argan oil promotes a healthy, shiny coat, and just as it does in human shampoos, nourishes, hydrates, and moisturizes without causing any buildup, irritation, or greasiness.

Next, the UNITE team worked to build key alliances that would allow Doggy ‘Poo to make the biggest impact. “Charity starts at home and we are proud to partner with the San Diego Humane Society,” said Dale.  “In addition, Shelter to Soldier™’s mission really moved us. They pair combat veterans with trained psychiatric service dogs to help them overcome PTSD and other obstacles presented after serving in combat zones. UNITE is also sponsoring a dog and following his journey from the shelter, through training, to his eventual partnership with a deserving veteran. The entire UNITE family is excited about this process.”

“Thanks to the very generous support of UNITE and their new product, Doggy ‘Poo, our program is not only going to be able to continue our mission, but also assist many more veterans in need as well as help more homeless dogs,” said Shelter to Soldier™ founder Graham Bloem. “We are lucky to be in the company of such a caring organization and we look forward to working together to ‘save lives, two at a time.’”

Doggy ‘Poo retails for $16.50 and is available at Doggy ‘Poo. Human tested, doggy approved.


For more than a decade as a leader in the professional hair care industry, UNITE has been committed to “making life easier for the salon owner and stylist.” A California based company with global reach, it places a premium on developing strong relationships with its salon partners and offering 360-degree support and turn key programs that go deeper than other brands. UNITE is also one of the rare hair care companies still owned by a hairdresser. Founder Andrew Dale’s career took him from the sophisticated streets of London to the sandy coast of the Pacific where, ultimately, he followed his passion to teach. As a result, UNITE offers not just top tier product but the education and business tools to help a salon thrive.

UNITE boasts a refined line of around 40 exceptionally formulated products for all hair types, with many signature skus coveted by stylists, influencers and celebrities. Products are sold in over 2000 salons around the world and are guaranteed only when purchased through authorized professional beauty outlets and prestige stores, not from a drugstore, supermarket, mass outlet or unauthorized source. UNITE’s academy and the flagship UNITE salon, where all of the net proceeds go to charity, are located in San Diego, California.  For more information visit


Shelter to Soldier™ is a CA 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Posttraumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries associated with combat service experiences. Each sponsored service dog serves the critical role of psychological support to his/her veteran handler. To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, call (855) 287-8659 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility. Shelter to Soldier™ Founder, Graham Bloem, is the proud recipient of the 10News Leadership Award and the 2016 Waggy Award. Additionally, Shelter to Soldier™ is a gold participant of GuideStar and accredited by the Patriot’s Initiative.


Serving San Diego County since 1880, San Diego Humane Society’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. San Diego Humane Society offers San Diegans a wide range of programs and services that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty/neglect, provide medical care, educate the community on the humane treatment of animals and provide safety net services for all pet families needing assistance with keeping their pets.

As one of San Diego’s oldest nonprofit organizations, San Diego Humane Society has campuses located in Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego as well as adoption centers inside Petco stores throughout San Diego County. San Diego Humane Society is supported solely through contributions, grants, bequests, investments, proceeds from the Muttique retail store and small fees for services. For more information or to view our current animals available for adoption, please visit

Click the icons below to learn more about this amazing product and the organizations it supports.




Shelter to Soldier™ Graduation of Liz Carmouche and Charlie

November 12, 2016

On October 29, 2016, Schubach Aviation generously hosted one of our graduation ceremonies at their beautiful private hangar. The graduation of veteran recipient, Liz Carmouche, and her Shelter to Soldier™ service dog, Charlie. Schubach Aviation was our first red star Corporate sponsor and they have continued to support our mission for over 3 years now. Through their continued support, Schubach sponsored Charlie, taking care of all fees associated with his care, training and graduation.

Charlie was found as a stray in Chula Vista, CA. Animal Services took him in and cared for him, but he wasn’t getting adopted. Our friends at Rancho Coastal Humane Society transferred him to their shelter to get some “fresh eyes” on him to see if someone visiting their shelter would adopt him. They took great care of Charlie, but sadly once again, he wasn’t getting adopted. After many months of being in a shelter, our Founders, Graham & Kyrié Bloem, went to Rancho Coastal Humane looking for dogs to adopt for our program and met this special pup. RCHS had affectionately named him Scuttlebutt. He was reserved but very sweet. He did well during his evaluation but it was clear that he needed confidence building and lots of training. Of all the dogs we have worked with so far, his stay with us was one of the longest simply due to the time it took to convince him that some people were worth trusting. He excelled with his training but he “picked” his people. Ultimately, he chose Liz Carmouche. We were so excited when he met Liz and they worked together to build mutual respect and admiration. They truly are a perfect pair and are meant to be together.

Schubach Aviation never lost hope or interest in Charlie throughout his training, they continued to inquire about his progress and they were ecstatic when they learned that he was matched.

In addition to being a United States Marine Corps veteran, Liz Carmouche is a well-respected Mix Martial Arts fighter, with a promising career in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Liz is on the UFC 205 fight card at the one and only Madison Square Garden’s and her pal, Charlie, will be making the trip with her to NYC. Liz is also the proud owner of the MMA gym, San Diego Combat Academy.

Charlie has settled into his new role as her service dog at work and during training. We are so excited that these two have officially started their lives together, and couldn’t think of a better partner for our special boy, Charlie. Keep up the good work, you two! We will be here every step of the way.

Click the icons below to follow us on Instagram and Facebook; learn about the dogs we currently have in our program and stay updated on their training progress and veteran matches!



Charity Woof Cup 2016-Presented by: The San Diego Union-Tribune

October 26, 2016

Every year, the Del Mar International Horse Show and the San Diego Union-Tribune hosts the crowd-pleasing Charity Woof Cup and for the last few years we have had the honor of being one of the 6 local charity beneficiaries of this fun and exciting event.

This event consists of six teams competing to raise needed funds and awareness for six different charities. The 6 dog agility teams are matched with 6 Grand Prix riders and their horses to compete for the Charity Woof Up.  These competitors battle the clock to complete a relay course of agility (for the dogs) and jumps (for the horses.) The group that has their entire team finish the course the fastest is the winner!

It is always so much fun to see the crowd in an up-roar, on their feet and full of support and enthusiasm all in the name of charity! It is a great event to be a part of and even spectators have a great time!

This year the team running for Shelter to Soldier™ was made up of dog and handler team, Rev & Nancy Brook, and horse and Grand Prix Rider, Anwin & Mandy Porter. They did a phenomenal job and placed second! Big thanks to our team sponsor, Doggy’Poo by UNITE!

It is so nice to see the love and passion on so many faces and we are honored to continue to be invited to participate and assist in the Charity Woof Cup Classic.

Special thank you to Stacy Winkler for putting together the dog agility teams, bringing the dog agility equipment and a huge thanks to all of the dogs and handlers that participated!! Everyone did such a great job and it was all for great charitable work. Thank you to all of the STS volunteers that went above and beyond to make this happen!

Click the picture below to watch the full video of the event, including commentary!


Click the icons below to read local coverage of this event:


Shelter to Soldier™ 4th Annual Benefit

October 25, 2016

Last Friday, October 21st, was the night of Shelter to Soldier™’s 4th Annual Benefit. Held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the beautiful Del Mar Arena VIP room overlooking the Del Mar International Horse Show Charity Class; it is one of our most exciting events of the year! This year hosted a 1920’s theme including live jazz music courtesy of Alli & The Cats, delicious food, drinks, and costumes! We were expecting a big (and festive) turnout this year and we were not disappointed!

A big thank you to the many donors involved in this event: Farrell Family Foundation, Toast Catering, Isabelle Briens French Pastry Café, Venissimo Cheese, Cupcakes Squared, and Nine10 Photobooth, Equestrian Artist Lauren Salas, West Palms Events Management, and many more!

A special thank you to the Irene Valenti Foundation and Griffin Funding. Each donated $12,000 to our cause; which is the amount it costs to “sponsor” a new dog into our program. This is the third dog sponsored by Griffin Funding and we continue to be amazed at their generosity and desire to give back to their veteran community! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see these new pups enter our program and follow their training.

We want to thank you all for participating and making our 4th Annual Benefit such a huge success; events like these are the reason we continue to be able to add dogs to our program and make a dent in our always-growing veteran wait list. There is simply never a shortage of dogs or veterans who truly need our help.

Some photos from the night can be found below, and on our Facebook page. Everyone came decked out in their best 1920’s fashion and we all had such a great time while working towards a mission that is so close to our hearts.

If you missed this, follow us to stay updated on coming events! Click the icons below to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and read local coverage of this event!








The Thursday Club Juniors raise $88,400 for Shelter to Soldier™ program!

June 24, 2016

On April 22nd, 2016, The Thursday Club Juniors hosted an 1940’s themed “Night at the Hollywood Canteen” gala to benefit our mission at Shelter to Soldier™. It was truly a night to remember. The Thursday Club was founded in 1921 to promote social, educational, cultural and civic activities throughout San Diego County.
“The Thursday Club Juniors is proud to support Shelter to Soldier™ and its dedication to the men and women who have selflessly given so much of themselves in service of our great Nation,” said Ginger Dethloff, president of the Thursday Club Juniors.

For nearly 100 years, the Thursday Club members have combined social activities and volunteering their time for civic and benevolent projects benefitting Balboa Park and the San Diego Community.

From the smallest detail, to swing dancers and a trio of dolls dressed in their pin-up best singing all of the era’s greatest hits, the gala was loaded with all things 1940’s. Ladies were dressed for the occasion, and their dates were in full costume from flight suits to sailor gear.

The incredible women of the Thursday Club Juniors worked tirelessly over months to bring this memorable event together. They gathered donations from local businesses for the silent auction, and decorated each item to the max. The live auction was exciting and incredibly moving, as guests stepped up in a big way with donations to support out cause. The event itself was a snapshot back in time, with incredible decor, mess-hall style exquisite cuisine, and fun for all in attendance.

On May 19th, The Thursday Club Juniors held their May luncheon, inducting new members into the club, introducing the women to hold office positions for the 2016-2017 year, and presenting the checks for the donations they raised for three worthy charities through their 2015-2016 fundraising efforts: The Travis Manion Foundation, San Diego Zoo Global’s Wounded Warrior Project, and Shelter to Soldier™. vo•cab•u•lar•y boutique held a fashion show at the luncheon, with Thursday Club Junior members as the models for Spring and Summer fashions. It was a touching day, and our team felt very moved to be a part of such enormous, genuine, and compassionate work on the part of the ladies of The Thursday Club Juniors who have given back to their community in such a big way, and this year, specifically to the veterans of San Diego county.

The Thursday Club Juniors gala raised $88,400 for our psychiatric service dog program! This donation will help us to adopt, raise, and train approximately 8 dogs for our mission. These dogs will be placed, free of charge, with post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other injuries associated with traumatic service experiences. Together, the Thursday Club Juniors and Shelter to Soldier™ are “Saving Lives, Two at a Time.”

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