Emotional Support And Service Dog Program

By David Michael Sanders zenk9.org

We have all heard the statistics, on average 22 veterans take their lives every day. The problem goes much deeper. Hundreds of thousands of veterans are enduring a life of unimaginable suffering. America is in an inconceivable state of disconnection. Veteran neglect, domestic violence, child maltreatment and animal cruelty are rampant. At Vet’s Best Friends we aim to change this one life at a time. By not only spreading awareness and educating the community, our goal is to train shelter dogs to become Emotional Support Animals (ESA) and pair them with veterans in need.

Viable solutions make the difference

Countless dogs die each year from euthanasia… more than old age, cancer and incidental deaths combined. From the puppy mills and pet stores to the gambling culture that supports dog fighting and greyhound races; the lack of respect for the canine life has led to mass over breeding and exploitation. Self-education, communal support, compassion and understanding are the only ways to make a difference in an ever changing and socio-economic world.

From this philosophy came the birth of a dream, Vet’s Best Friends

With the financial support of people like yourself, we are able to make a difference in the lives of America’s wounded veterans and give shelter dogs a second chance at life one match at a time. Your donations are tax deductible!

A Soldier’s Words

Having never grown up around dogs prioritizing self-sufficiency, I never could mentally grasp the value of canine support. Reality finally struck me when I realized I was about to breach my own door and I knew that help was needed and my self-sufficient idealism was only a hollow lie setting my wife and all those around me up for failure. At that point with incipient changes we sought out the expertise of Bill Berg founder of the Free Wheel Foundation and sponsor of Vet’s Best Friends, whose exceptional knowledge in this field educated me on canine support. Little did I know how extensive and thorough his operation is. He referred me to a gentleman named David Sanders who patiently and skillfully trains dogs, specifically Sasha who would become my dog. Willingly he taught me about dogs. His passion gave me a greater appreciation for canine merit. Even after she was given to me, he answered all of my silly questions. Their concerns for the dog’s well-being paralleled their concerns for me, as the animal becomes an extension of the handler. Since Sasha has become a part of my life, there haven’t been any extreme surges or perceived requirement to bring a war time mentality to the protection of my quiet and peaceful civilian life.

Sgt. John Ricketts, 

United States Army

Organizations That Offer And Support Soldier’s Best Friends

Before donating to any cause, be sure you are comfortable with the organization that you are donating to and that funds are used towards their claims. San Tan Times is not associated with any of these programs, but is simply offering options to our readers if this program is something that they are passionate about.


Located in Gilbert, David Sanders is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, nationally certified through The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and owner of Zen K9, LLC Obedience & Boarding. He works with juvenile offenders by sharing his experiences as a troubled youth in hopes to inspire children to take a better path. Education, compassion, and unparalleled perseverance saved David’s life. He has worked countless volunteer hours for no-kill rescue organizations such as Lucky Paws Shelter, Luv of Dogs Inc, One by One Rescue, Home Fur Good, BFF Rescue, AAWL, Paws Placement, The North American Search and Rescue Dog Network, and The Delta Society’s Pet Partner’s Program; just to name a few.

David has trained hundreds of unwanted dogs, most of which have found forever homes with the help of his obedience training and behavior modification. He has joined lobby groups to aid in changing breed ban, dog fighting, animal exploitation and animal abuse laws. David also trains emotional support dogs for America’s combat veterans and was nominated to represent Mayday Pit Bull Rescue in receiving The 2015 Outstanding Community Partner Award, given by the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.




Peoria, AZ, Soldier’s Best Friend provides United States 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.

Veteran’s Best Friend 

Located in Cabot, AR, they are a Christian nonprofit organization that trains service dogs for Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), at no cost to the Veteran.

Located in Cabot, Arkansas, we serve local Veterans from any US Operation, and who are of any faith. Our dogs are adopted from local shelters, rescue organizations, and sometimes received from our community.