PERHAM, MINN. — NutriSource®, a pet food manufacturing brand owned and operated by Tuffy’s Pet Foods and Tuffy’s Pet Treats, will celebrate the opening of a new training facility for service dogs in Greenfield on Nov. 1. The 14,600-square-foot facility, dubbed The Spot, creates a space where dogs can be trained and provided to veterans and first responders in need.
The facility is equipped with a large training room to accommodate multiple training teams, areas for boarding, grooming and administration, and a breakroom dressed out to look like a home where trainers and clients can practice real-life training scenarios.
“We remain committed to making a difference,” said Charlie Nelson, chief executive officer of KLN Family Brands, parent company of Tuffy’s and NutriSource. “The Spot will train dogs to do what they love to do and we know the companionship of a dog can literally save a life. We are also creating jobs and helping our veterans and first responders find a way out of the dark and into the light.”
The Spot will operate in partnership with Soldier’s 6, a nonprofit based in Minnesota that connects military members, veterans and first responders with trained dogs. Former law enforcement officer Mike Boehmer will serve as head trainer at The Spot, where he will oversee the training of up to 65 service dogs per year. Training services through The Spot will come at no cost to the recipients of the service dogs.
For Chris Heikkila, a veteran suffering from severe anxiety, panic attacks, depression and post-traumatic stress — as well as the staggering number of veterans in need across the country — the benefits of The Spot could be lifechanging, according to NutriSource.
“For so long we have been conditioned to push these issues down deep and press on,” Heikkila said. “The reality is that it’s not always possible, and must be addressed eventually, to help heal and manage your mental health. K9 Leo has provided support and companionship through some of life’s toughest days. He has been a lifesaver who has helped me heal and persevere.”
Heikkila will serve as general manager of The Spot.
Aside from training space and resources, The Spot will also feature a retail area sporting NutriSource Pet Food and treats, as well as other pet items. The space also includes 34 kennels — including five “executive dog suites” — for dog boarding, a cat boarding area, pet daycare capabilities and three full-service grooming stations, according to NutriSource.
The opening ceremony of The Spot on Nov. 1 will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at 7600 69th Avenue North in Greenfield. The event will be open to the public and attended by former world champion boxer Caleb Truax, University of Minnesota basketball player Mara Braun, and a pack of facility dogs from the NurtiSource Facility Dog Program through the M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital.
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