Rick Yount, Executive Director

Hello! I’m Cooper! I’m training to be a WCC service dog

Rick Yount, Executive Director of the Warrior Canine Connection brought along his pal, Cooper to tell us about this unique program for servicemen with emotional and physical disabilities. Rick doing graduate work in sociology in California came up with the idea when visiting the veterans hospital in Palo Alto. Unlike most service dog programs which provide a fully-trained dog to the patient, WCC engages the patient by enlisting recovering Warriors in a therapeutic mission of learning to train service dogs for their fellow Veterans.


Warrior Canine Connection is a pioneering organization that utilizes a Mission Based Trauma Recovery (MBTR) model to help recovering Warriors reconnect with life, their families, their communities, and each other.

“Rick’s new program concept, involving Veterans with PTSD in the training of mobility service dogs for fellow Veterans, has yielded very positive results. He has presented the program concept at forums including the VA National Mental Health Conference and the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies.”

About Rick Yount ….

“Rick Yount has served in the field of social services for 30 years. He has involved animal-assisted therapy in his practice for the past 22 of those years. Rick holds a Bachelor of Arts from West Virginia University and a Master of Science in Assistance Dog Education. He combined his social work knowledge and experience with his service dog training background to develop a novel intervention to help Service Members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Rick pioneered the first therapeutic service dog training program at the Palo Alto, California Veterans Hospital in 2008.”

Rick was invited by Cathi and Rob Safford, two of our newest club members, because they were aware of Rick and his program before relocating to Topsail Island. Their goal is get a Warrior Canine Connection facility operating in our area to support the warriors at Marine Corps Camp Lejuene. They are looking for volunteers, so please let Cathi know if you want to help in this very worthy cause.

Kiwanis members ‘talk’ to Cooper with Rick Yount looking on.