Plato Wags Back Partners with Shelter To Soldier

'Plato' auditions
Plato loves those healthy Plato Pet Treats.

Shelter To Soldier is a non-profit organization that rescues shelter dogs and trains them to be psychiatric service companions for wounded combat veterans.

Plato Pet Treats has adopted a dog this weekend dog now named ‘PLATO’! The 10 month old husky/shepherd mix was originally found in the East Valley Animal Shelter in Van Nuys, CA. Nicole, founder of Soldiers For Strays, saved the then ‘Oliver’, now ‘Plato’,  from death row 4 months ago. Here are the three dogs who were interviewed and assessed by Shelter to Soldier.

Plato Pet Treats believes in the mission to support important causes. We recognize the responsibility associated with being a healthy pet treat manufacturer. The Plato Wags Back program believes in improving the pet treat industry while making a difference for dogs in shelters as well as our deserving veterans.

While reviewing Plato Wags Back grant applications this year, we looked to The Plato Way to define Plato Pet Treats: family, health, safety, locally/directly/responsibly sourced foods, and love. Plato Wags Back partners are the epitome of The Plato Way. Our passion for a healthy-lifestyle, ‘American-made’ treats and reducing useless euthanasia at shelters led us to Shelter to Soldier. Shelter to Soldier is a non-profit organization in San Diego, CA owned and operated by Graham Bloem and Kyrie Bloem. Shelter to Soldier beat out many well-deserving organizations based on a lengthy set of criteria, including percent of fundraising that ‘goes to the dogs’. With Shelter to Soldier, it ALL goes to the dogs. Graham is the head trainer and trains service dogs, including psychiatric service dogs.

Shelter to Soldier not only provides psychiatric service dogs to veterans in need, but the most unique aspect of the program is their Dog Training Program for Veterans. They provide employment for veterans by teaching them to to train dogs for other veterans. It’s an amazing and sustainable program that we’re proud to be a part of.

Several qualified dog trainers volunteers and donate their time to the dogs-in-training. The dogs-in-training recruits come from local shelters rather than from breeding pairs owned by the training organization. The rescue dogs learn to support war-time soldiers returning with PTSD. The average cost to train a psychiatrics assistance dog is $30,000+ over 18 months.

Graham has been working with psychiatric assistance dogs for over 15 years and offers a wide variety of specialty training services through Specialty Dog Training.


Shelter To Soldier 'Plato'
Shelter To Soldier 'Plato'


Follow Plato Wags Back as we chronicle special little ‘Plato”s story from beginning to end. From the rescue selection and training to the veteran pairing process and graduation. To be a part of this pairing process is an opportunity of a lifetime. We hope you find this journey as special as we do.

PLATO’s rescuer recalls:

“On October 2014, I was called by the New Hope Coordinator to pick up a Bullmastiff in need of medical beyond what the shelter is able to provide.  I noticed ‘Plato” then name ‘Oliver’ as I was headed in mainly because he was not barking. He was looking around watching all of the people go by. After finishing up with Boss, our medical boy, I walked back in and he was still sitting, watching everything around him. It was like he was thinking about what was going on and trying to figure it out. I sat down and talked to him for a few minutes and as I stood up to walk away, he howled. No way I could leave him behind after that.

He spent the next almost four months meeting many interested families yet none of them seemed to be what was best for him. As I tell all of the dogs that come to me, the right home is there, we just have to find it. I will hold onto my dogs for as long as it takes to place them where they will always be happy. It took us almost four months to find his and I could not be happier because he needs a job to thrive and be happy.”