Service Dogs For Veterans

What is The Athena Project?






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With your help, Lancaster County veterans can afford a fully trained service dog outfitted with complimentary lifetime training consults!  Fully trained service dogs can cost upwards of $30k dollars and many charitable organizations offering low cost service dogs can routinely have a 3-5 year waiting list. The Athena Project, by K9 Connect LLC, aims to bring the cost of service dogs down for local veterans without the long wait. 

Training, food, & healthcare are expensive necessities for our dogs. Each dog is offered at the lowest cost available for us to be able to continue this service. While we look to place the dog with the right veteran, their price tag will be open for donations to bring the cost down, making the dog more readily available for their veteran. 

Donate to the dog of your choice below, costs are updated daily.



01/19 - 01/23

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01/19 - 01/23

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01/19 - 01/23

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While out and about in Lancaster County, you may come across free standing doors with name plates.  These doors represent The Athena Project and the opening of opportunities for our veterans to move forward in health and happiness. 

Each name plate is an honorary recognition of our generous patrons who make it possible for The Athena Project to succeed by giving $100 or more towards a dog of their choice. 

Doors of Opportunity

BecauseShelter Dogs Are Good Dogs

All of our dogs are pulled from local shelters and rescues in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg and Philly.  Dogs are chosen based on health, temperament, drive and desired physical build to complete the tasks assigned to them. 

Each dog is placed with a foster family for the duration of its training as a service dog. Service dog training can take anywhere from 6 - 24 months, depending on the tasks the dog will be learning. While training with K9 Connect LLC, our rescue dogs are learning loose leash heel work, advanced obedience, public access manners, and task work tailored to the needs of their veteran. You may see us out and about in Lancaster!

Meet Athena, The inspiration behind it all. Athena was our first rescue dog trained for service work. This Staffy raised the bar & proved to the world that rescue is not a four letter word. 


Our foster families are the cornerstone of this entire operation, we wouldn't be able to do any of this without these amazing people.  Because our dogs are being trained for service work, our foster families are held to a very high standard.  Every moment with a dog in training is an opportunity to teach either good or bad habits, as such, our fosters are asked to attend training classes, and follow strict guidelines in the home. Our fosters become knowledgeable dog handlers through their experience housing one of our service dogs. 

Fosters are required to drop off and pick up dogs for daily training sessions as well as required to attend a monthly group training class and evaluations. Dogs may be with a foster family for up to 18 months. 

Can I crash at your place for a while?

Are you interested in

Fostering a rescue?

We can't do it without you!



Eligibility for a Service Dog


If you are a veteran who is interested in applying for a service dog, please review the following information to determine if you meet our eligibility requirements.

  • You have served in any of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces from any era, and have received an honorable discharge.

  • You can produce a DD214

  • You are physically disabled or suffer from combat related PTSD. 

  • You can participate in our training program and will be committed to our training program and schedule.

  • You are dedicated to maintaining the dog’s training throughout the life of the dog and can provide for the well-being of the dog.

  • You are able to meet the physical and emotional needs of a dog, and have an appropriate support system in place to do so if/when you are unable to yourself.


Megan Bailey


K9 Connect




Lancaster, PA

Francisco Rodgers


K9 Connect

Arielle Kidhardt

Assistant Trainer

K9 Connect

Jen Lewis

Project Manager

K9 Connect

Alison Bowser


Basset & Lab


Lancaster PA