Our Mission

To accomplish this, we currently are funding programs focused around three worthy causes: Service Dogs for Veterans, Youth Literacy Programs and Employment Initiatives for Adults with Autism. 100% of your donation is given directly to the organizations we support.

Service Dogs for Veterans

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Our Worthy Causes

We support programs that positively impact the lives of United States military service members and Veterans. We are committed to funding service dog training (and related research) for military Veterans returning home with physical and emotional challenges.

featured partners

K9s For Warriors
Mutts with a Mission
Paws Assisting Veterans
NEADS
America’s VetDogs
Next Step Service Dogs
Patriot PAWS Service Dogs
paws4people
Paws With A Cause

Why do our Veterans need your support?

52%

SUFFER FROM PTSD

6/10

REPORT FEELING DEPRESSED, LONELY OR ANXIOUS

$30K+

COST OF EACH SERVICE DOG

Success Stories

  • Retired Command Sergeant Major (CSM), US Army; Author, Leading from the Front

    We are honored to have a partnership with Retired Command Sergeant Major (CMS) Gretchen Evans, a brave warrior who served her country, survived devastating injuries, and credits her service dog Aura for saving her life. She is now dedicated to inspiring her military comrades—and others— to think beyond age, illness, or disability.  

    During her 27-year career with the United States Army, Gretchen deployed several times to the Middle East including her final assignment as the Garrison Command Sergeant Major of Combined Forces in Afghanistan where she was responsible for 30,000 troops. Gretchen was inducted into the United States Veterans Hall of Fame in 2020 and has earned numerous other medals and awards including the Bronze Star, the Presidential Unit Citation Medal, Global War on Terrorism ribbons, six Meritorious Service Medals and numerous other awards.  

  • The Dogtopia Foundation partnered with Next Step Service Dogs to bring together returned veteran Anthony Torres and his field golden retriever, Tillman.

    Torres served as a U.S. Marine for six years. Following his years of service, he returned home and connected with Next Step Service Dogs, an organization focused on providing trained service dogs to veterans, Gina Esoldi, Program Director with Next Step Service Dogs, united Torres with Tillman and guided him through the training process.

    Tillman has impacted Torres’s life in numerous ways. He now feels confident and plays a more active role in his community. Tillman keeps him going.

    “He’s that number one spot in my life and I need to make sure he’s taken care of,” said Torres.

  • Maverick was the first service dog sponsored by Dogtopia in 2017 and was recently matched with his veteran, Jeanette. Jeanette served in the Army (military police) outside of Bagdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006 and 07. She is a Veteran living in Santa Rosa, CA.

    After experiencing a 2 ½ year waiting list, she describes meeting Maverick for the first time as “love at first sight.” Jeanette has fond memories of their first meeting, “Maverick came through the door with his tail wagging, walked over to me and put his head in my lap; there was an instant connection.” Like any proud parent, she described Maverick as the tallest in his class, most handsome, attentive, smart and an overachiever – he retrieves two dumbbells when the other dogs retrieve only one.

MEET OUR SPONSORED PUPS

Tiger
Dogtopia of Waco
Patrick
Dogtopia of Greenwood
Cody
Dogtopia of Dedham
Cassy
Dogtopia of The Woodlands West
Cali
Dogtopia of Overland Park
Cabo
Dogtopia of Mechanicsburg
Victory
Dogtopia of Tanque Verde
Timmy
Dogtopia of Falls Church
Stryker
Dogtopia of Denver Tech Center
Orion
Dogtopia of Redmond

100% of your donation is given directly to the organizations we support.

Youth Literacy Programs

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Our Worthy Causes

We support innovative programs that incorporate volunteers and registered therapy dog teams who provide encouragement, emotional support and age-appropriate books for young children to help motivate them to read. We do this to encourage a joy of reading during early childhood.

featured partners

SitStayRead’s mission is to advance children’s literacy skills using an engaging curriculum, certified dogs, and dedicated volunteers. Students in SitStayRead developed fluency at a rate 47.8% greater than their non-participating peers.

Why do our school children need your support?

65%

OF FOURTH GRADERS AREN’T READING AT A BASIC LEVEL

10M

CHILDREN HAVE DIFFICULTIES LEARNING TO READ

1/4

CHILDREN IN AMERICA GROW UP WITHOUT LEARNING TO READ

SUCCESS STORIEs

  • SitStayRead’s mission is to advance children’s literacy skills using an engaging curriculum, certified dogs, and dedicated volunteers. In 2013 SitStayRead partnered with the Department of School Psychology at Loyola University Chicago to create an evaluation tool that measured student achievement in reading fluency and comprehension. The study found that students in SitStayRead developed fluency at a rate 47.8% greater than their non-participating peers.

    The Dogtopia Foundation was proud to assist in SitStayRead’s 2017 through 2021 Keep Reading Celebration while sponsoring Hazel’s Happy Home, a book written by second graders participating in the SitStayRead program.

100% of your donation is given directly to the organizations we support.

Employment Initiatives For Adults With Autism

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Our Worthy Causes

We provide support for employment programs for adults with autism. Our aim is that through quality employment programs, individuals with autism will experience a higher quality of life and increased self-determination through their success at work.

In partnership with the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, the Dogtopia Foundation developed an Autism Employment Guide for Dogtopia franchisees. This guide provides coaching for Dogtopia teammates for how to best create a positive, thriving work environment for both adults with ASD and neurotypical adults.

featured partners

“Employing adults with autism has been a huge benefit for us. They bring so much to the table. They bring joy and they love what they do, but they also take their jobs very seriously. We have a lot of visual aids and technology in place to support them, but those additional supports have also benefitted our entire team.”

Diane Foos, Owner
Dogtopia of Rocklin

Why do adults with autism need our support with employment?

86%

of adults with autism are unemployed in their communities

1/59

current prevalence rate for Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

50%

Of adults with aSD HAVE
NEVER HELD A PAYING JOB

SUCCESS STORIES

  • “We were looking to do something with a smarter approach to the service industry that was organized and standardized,” said Girish. “We took the steps and came to learn more about Dogtopia and that’s when we were introduced to the Dogtopia Foundation. That was a game changer for us.”

    For Girish and Radhika, this cause hit very close to home – their son, Neel (age 10) is on the autism spectrum.

    “We knew our son may have trouble finding employment as an adult,” said Radhika. “We thought, ‘we can always put funds aside for him, but then what?’ When we heard about the work Dogtopia is doing to help lower the unemployment rate for adults with autism, it opened a future not only for us, but for our son, too.”

    As Girish and Radhika set out on their journey, they visited a Dogtopia in Virginia and met several of the 10+ employees with autism working in the dog daycare.

    “It was amazing how well the team embraced these adults,” said Radhika. “It was really heartwarming.”

    Now, in their own daycare, which opened in November of 2019, they have hired one full-time employee and one intern on the autism spectrum. They also partner with a local career transition program that brings students with learning disabilities to Dogtopia to learn and grow.

  • “We were looking to do something with a smarter approach to the service industry that was organized and standardized,” said Girish. “We took the steps and came to learn more about Dogtopia and that’s when we were introduced to the Dogtopia Foundation. That was a game changer for us.”

    For Girish and Radhika, this cause hit very close to home – their son, Neel (age 10) is on the autism spectrum.

    “We knew our son may have trouble finding employment as an adult,” said Radhika. “We thought, ‘we can always put funds aside for him, but then what?’ When we heard about the work Dogtopia is doing to help lower the unemployment rate for adults with autism, it opened a future not only for us, but for our son, too.”

    As Girish and Radhika set out on their journey, they visited a Dogtopia in Virginia and met several of the 10+ employees with autism working in the dog daycare.

    “It was amazing how well the team embraced these adults,” said Radhika. “It was really heartwarming.”

    Now, in their own daycare, which opened in November of 2019, they have hired one full-time employee and one intern on the autism spectrum. They also partner with a local career transition program that brings students with learning disabilities to Dogtopia to learn and grow.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the current prevalence rate for ASD is 1 in 59. Some people refer to ASD as an “invisible disorder” because unlike a physical disorder, the impact of one’s autism may not be as easily detectible to others. ASD is characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autism is considered a spectrum disorder, meaning that each person has his or her own unique strengths and challenges within these areas.

People often think of ASD as only affecting children. However, autism is considered a lifetime disorder and individuals can experiences challenges into adulthood. One of the biggest challenges is finding employment. Nationally, 86% of adults with autism are unemployed in their communities, according to the National Autism Indicators report published by Drexel University’s Autism Institute. This is a staggering statistic given the fact that many of these individuals have an average or above average I.Q. Many experts in the field believe that the low employment rate is due to the challenges individuals with ASD experience in social communication. Oftentimes, individuals struggle with traditional screening and interview processes despite having the skillset to be successful on the job.

100% of your donation is given directly to the organizations we support.