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!
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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.
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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. www.thethursdayclub.org.
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.”
May 12, 2016
On March 31st, 2016, FINE Magazine hosted its 5th Annual Spring XPosure Fashion Show to benefit Shelter to Soldier™ at The Forum Carlsbad featuring San Diego designers, live music by Daring Greatly, and silent and live auctions. The event helped us to raise $7,435 to support more dogs and veterans in our community.
“Kira gave me my life back. Shelter to Soldier™ did more than Save Lives, Two at a Time for me, they helped give my children their father back, and my wife her husband back.”
– Vic Martin, US Navy Ret. and Keynote speaker at the event
It was an honor to come together with the amazing team at FINE Magazine again for this year’s Spring XPosure fashion show. Shelter to Soldier™ was able to raise much needed funds for our mission, gain some great exposure, and meet many wonderful people. We wouldn’t be able to fulfill our mission of “Saving Lives, Two at a Time” without the support of companies like FINE Magazine.”
– Graham Bloem, Cofounder, Shelter to Soldier™
Dermacare Carlsbad generously donated a $3200 SculpSure treatment at their Carlsbad location, designer Rich Freshman donated a bag handmade at the event, and Renzulli’s Jewelry World donated a stunning diamond necklace to our exciting live auction hosted by Steve Lewandowski.
Guests at the Spring Xposure event were treated to live music by band Daring Greatly. With VIP seating along the runway, beer and wine tastings from The Wine Loft, Estate d’Iacobelli Winery, Carruth Cellars, Coomber Family Winery, U4rik, Hess Brewing Co, Bellamar Spirits, Regal Jacksonville & La Crema Wine, Mediterraneo Taste and Novo Brazil, and eatery and beverage tastings from Illy Coffee, Huberts Lemonade, OH Juice, Solar Rain, San Diego Cake Pop, Jimbo’s Naturally, Panera Bread, Buffalo Wild Wings, Which Which, Bice, Rotisserie Affair, Red Oven, Casa de Bandini, Buca di Beppo, Moss Grills and Ara Lebanese -our guests were treated to a fun, high-fashion night out!
Shelter to Soldier™ would like to express our sincere thanks to all of the individuals who generously donated for t-shirts, participated in the silent auction, or bid in the live auction, we appreciate your support! Huge thanks to FINE Magazine for choosing Shelter to Soldier™ as the charity partner for this event for the second year! Thanks to Dermacare San Diego, Renzulli’s Jewelry World, Rich Freshman, Specialty Dog Training, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Valley View Casino Center, Carmel Valley Facial Plastic Surgery, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres, Mantra Yoga and Juice Bar, La Jolla Playhouse, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Buck Ramsey, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Plato Pet Treats, and TRE Boutique Del Mar for your donations that helped us to raise over $7000 at this event! Thank you to Schubach Aviation, American Portfolio, Increase Clean Energy, Staged Homes, San Diego Chargers, Harley Davidson, Backyard Vacations, Selfie Station, The Dailey Method, Rejeuvine Medspa and The Ideal Match for being the amazing sponsors that made the event the success that it was!
To view exciting upcoming Shelter to Soldier™ events, please visit our
March 25, 2016
Fundraising Event Highlights Bringing Post-9/11 Combat Veterans Together with Trained Rescue Dogs
Carlsbad, CA March 15, 2016 – In partnership with FINE magazine and the The Carlsbad Forum, Shelter to Soldier™ is proud to present the 5th annual Spring Xposure Fashion Show on
March 31, 2016 at the Carlsbad Forum retail center located at 1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, CA 92009 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
The fundraising fashion show includes both a live and silent auction, of which 100% of the proceeds will benefit Shelter to Soldier™. Shelter to Soldier™ is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from an otherwise uncertain future in local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries associated with traumatic service experiences. Tickets are available at $60 per person online, and $125 at the door.Companies donating auction items include Urban Plates, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, CA Botana International, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres, OH Juice, Catamaran, Renzulli’s, Rodan & Fields Skincare,Paper Source, Chico’s, Plato Pet Treats, Cathy Carey studio, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Mantra Yoga & Juice Bar, and Specialty Dog Training..
Guests at the Spring Xposure event will be treated to live music by band Daring Greatly. There will be VIP seating along the runway, and beer and wine tastings will be available. Drinks will also be served via a cash bar. Some ofA variety of the breweries and wineries providing tastings at this time include, The Wine Loft, Estate d’Iacobelli Winery, Caurruath Cellars, Coomber Family Winery, U4rik, Hess Brewing Co, Bellamar Spirits, Regal Jacksonville & La Crema Wine, Mediterraneo Taste and Novo Brazil.
The Spring Xposure Fashion Show will feature some of San Diego’s premiere designers and stylists. Doing theHair hair and make-up creations for the fashion show is include stylists from Quattra via Aveda; Haim and and Headlines Tthe Salon along with Waatani Norris will provide hairstyles. Make-up will be done by MACMAC and Ulta are donating make-up and application for the runway models. The fashions in the Spring Xposure show includes designers Satori Designs, Haus of K2, Cocoyana, Bravua Sydney, Zaneta Owens Collections, garments from Soma Intimates, Nicole Miller, White House Black Market, lululemon, Chico’s, JoS. A. Banks, Francesca’s Collection, Couture by the Sea, Mulloy’s Jewelry, Moosnmilk Jewlery and Tina Frantz Designs.
Eateries and beverages include Illy Coffee, Huberts Lemonade, OH Juice, Solar Rain, San Diego Cake Pop, Jimbo’s Naturally, Panera Bread,, Buffalo Wild Wings, Which Wich, Bice, Rotisserie Affair, Red Oven, Casa de Bandini, Buca di Beppo, Moss Grills and Ara Lebanese.
Other sponsors of the event at this time include, Schubach Aviation, American Portfolio, Increase Clean Energy, Staged Homes, San Diego Chargers, Harley Davidson, Backyard Vacations, Selfie Station, The Dailey Method, Rejeuvine Medspa and, The Ideal Match.
ABOUT SHELTER TO SOLDIER
Shelter to Soldier™ is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from an otherwise uncertain future in local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries associated with traumatic service experiences. Shelter to Soldier™ raises funds primarily through donations. Shelter to Soldier™ is the proud recipient of the San Diego 10News Leadership Award and the Los Angeles 2016 Waggy Award. Visit www.sheltertosoldier.org or call 855/287-8659 to donate or inquire about veteran eligibility in the STS outreach program.
February 24, 2016
On Wednesday, February 17th, 2016, Ricky Mendez of the United States Marine Corps graduated the Shelter to Soldier™ program with his new service dog, Plato.
Shelter to Soldier™ CoFounders, Kyrié and Graham Bloem, adopted Plato from a rescue group in the LA area in February 2015 under the corporate sponsorship of Plato Pet Treats and their philanthropic program, Plato Wags Back. Over one-year’s time, Plato Pet Treats donated $10,000 toward the adoption, care, housing, training and graduation of Plato through our program in addition to a year’s worth of pet treats that all of our Shelter to Soldier™ service dogs enjoyed during their training sessions. They also generously donated silent auction items to all of our fundraising events during their partnership with Shelter to Soldier™. We feel honored to have been the recipient of such generous corporate giving, as we know that their contribution indeed helped us “Save Lives, Two at a Time” with the adoption of Plato and his subsequent placement with USMC veteran, Ricky. A short documentary film, organized and produced by the Plato Pet Treats team, will highlight the impact our organization has on the lives of shelter dogs and post-9/11 combat veterans by documenting Plato and Ricky’s journey with Shelter to Soldier™.
The pair had been in handler training for 5 months prior to graduation, during which time Ricky learned all about Plato’s service dog training, psychiatric service tasks, and how to be a good handler of Plato in public settings. Their graduation was a special platform to honor Ricky for his brave service and countless sacrifices as well as celebrate Ricky and Plato on their hard work together as a team. Cecilia Meech, Plato Pet Treats representative in San Diego, attended the graduation on behalf of the Plato Pet Treats team whose headquarters are in Los Angeles, CA. We had the privilege of working with Moving Map Pictures who filmed the graduation ceremony.
Pay It Forward Processing also attended the event to celebrate the success of Ricky and Plato and also to present a check in the amount of $2124.44 raised through their charitable merchant processing platform, Every Swipe Benefits Charity. Shelter to Soldier™ is so pleased to be Pay It Forward nonprofit partner!
Brad Fite, author of Life After Death, acclaimed novel about the struggle with Post Traumatic Stress after traumatic combat experiences and rising above the diagnosis and injuries in everyday US society and Amazon Best Seller, spoke at the event to shed light on the reality of combat in the Middle East, his severe injuries incurred during his service overseas, and the recovery process that has lead him on a journey to serve our veterans on the home front and raise awareness of the troubling epidemic of Post Traumatic Stress for the brave men and women who defend our freedoms.
The evening of February 21st, 2016 was one to remember for Shelter to Soldier™ Founder, Graham Bloem. The Tailwagger’s Foundation honored Graham’s work with Shelter to Soldier™ with the 2016 Waggy Award. Presenting the award was Mitch O’Farrell, councilman proudly representing the constituents of the 13th Council District in the City of Los Angeles. The Tailwaggers Foundation provides funding to qualified 501c non-profit organizations who provide life-saving treatments to sick and injured animals. Most animal rescue organizations spend between 40 and 50 percent of their budgets to medically treat sick and injured animals. Rescue organizations simply do not have the budget to treat all the animals that come through their doors. In many cases, bringing an injured dog or cat back to a state of health can mean the difference between being adopted and euthanasia. The Tailwaggers Foundation is built to assist the rescue organizations in their efforts to help more animals get healthy and find Forever Homes.
The 2016 Waggy Awards ceremony was hosted by HGTV stars Clive Pearse and Lisa LaPorta who kept the audience rolling in laughter. Other award winners include Jane Velez-Mitchell and Matt Dabaneh. Jane is an award-winning television anchor (CNN, HLN), author (iWant, Addict Nation, Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias), and online journalist (janeUnchained.com). On television and outside of it, Jane dedicates her time and resources to various charitable and humane causes. She is well known for her animal rights advocacy and is a vegan and an environmentalist. In July 2009, Farm Animal Rights Movement awarded Jane the Celebrity Animal Activist Award. While working at Celebrity Justice, her reporting on animal cruelty earned that show Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States. She earned additional Genesis Awards for her show Issues in 2010. PETA awarded her their “Movers and Shakers Award” in 2012. Her award was presented by friend, prolific TV producer and TMZ founder, Harvey Levin.
Matt Dabaneh was elected to the State Assembly in 2013. He represents Greater Los Angeles’s 45th District, which includes Calabasas, Encino, and Sherman Oaks (among others). Matt authored the Research Animal Adoption Bill (AB 147) in 2015. The bill, signed into law in October, requires that California research laboratories receiving tax-payer funding offer healthy dogs and cats — no longer needed for research purposes—to non-profit animal rescue organizations. Said Matt: “California — a leader in animal welfare legislation — has passed a common-sense and compassionate law to ensure that research animals are given a second chance at life. No longer will it be acceptable to euthanize adoptable dogs and cats.” His presenter was LA comedian and host of Two Girls One Pup, a pet-friendly comedy experience designated by L.A. Weekly as one of the “10 Best New Stand-Up Shows in L.A,” Monique Madrid.
Linda Blair, actress in “The Exorcist”, author of “Going Vegan,” and Founder of the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, was also a presenter at the awards ceremony.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of the evening was meeting all of the wonderful people involved with The Tailwagger’s Foundation, and the animal activists from the Los Angeles and Southern California regions. Shelter to Soldier™ would like to express a heartfelt thank you to all of the sponsors of the evening who made The Waggy Awards the success that it was and to all of the animal activists doing incredible work for our friends with no voice. We feel so proud to have been recognized next to individuals who are changing the way society views animal rights and welfare, and who are truly making a difference in the world.
February 1, 2016
January 25, 2016
What a beautiful day at Poway Veterans Park!!!! So special because Jade, a Shelter to Soldier™ service dog, graduated our program with her veteran handler Chris Meyer Ontiveros, U.S. Army Ret. We are so proud of the incredible journey they have created together and we look forward to watching it continue! Huge thanks to @Integriv, an amazing company out of #carlsbad, that is paving the way for #corporategiving. Not only did they sponsor the adoption, training, care and placement of Jade in 2014/2015, they just sponsored a second dog! Our mission at Shelter to Soldier™ would not be even remotely possible without the support of corporations and individuals who give back in the wonderful ways they have. THANK YOU! And CONGRATULATIONS to Jade and Chris! Thank you to our #veterangraduates Ben and Tank, and Vic and Kira the Service Dog for coming out to support! #veterans #dogrescue #shelterdog #servicedog #ptsd #usarmy#army #military
October 19, 2015
Our Saving Lives Two at a Time Benefit last night was wonderful! We met some great people, shared our mission, watched the horses show off and we raised much needed funds to support our program! Thank you to our attendees for taking time to learn about our mission and for being so generous!
Huge thanks to West Palms Events for allowing us the opportunity and for all of the support! Thank you to our amazing, passionate and very hard working volunteers!
Our guests enjoyed delicious small plates thanks to the very kind food vendors that donated 100% of what was served last night! Paella Valenciana Toast Catering San Diego Creative Catering & EventsCupcakes Squared!! Thank you so much!
To all of the people & companies that donated items for the auctions and drawing, as well as for the gift bags, thank you! We are also so grateful to have the amazing Nine10 Photobooth Images support all of our photography needs!! Donna B Art, you are so talented and we are very grateful for the kind donation of your artwork!
Many thanks to Vic Martin and Ricky Mendez, two of our STS veteran recipients that attended. Vic graduated with his service dog Kira the Service Dog last November and Ricky will be graduating with his pup Plato (sponsored by Plato Pet Treats) in the near future!
A very special thank you to Griffin Funding for stepping up in a big way and making a $12,000 donation on the spot to make it possible for us to sponsor a second dog and veteran thanks to your generosity!!
One last heartfelt thank you to our friend, Alex Woodward, for donating the amazing private performance which was a huge hit as an opportunity drawing item and for giving all of our guests a copy of one of your amazing books, For The Sender! Stay up to date with Alex and For The Sender here: For The Sender. Shelter to Soldier™ President, Graham Bloem, is honored to be mentioned in Alex’s new book, For The Sender: Love Letters from Vietnam.
CBS 8 News – Service Dog for Veterans
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