NutriSource opens new facility

Training center is dedicated to service dogs for veterans and first responders.

NutriSource, one of America’s most beloved and trusted pet brands, announces the opening of The Spot, a new service dog training facility in Greenfield, MN, that will provide “Battle Buddies” to veterans and first responders as they bravely follow their path towards healing.

The 14,600 sq. ft facility features a large training room that can host multiple service dog teams, a break room that simulates a home environment where veterans and first responders receive real-life training with their service dogs, and beautifully finished areas for intake, boarding, grooming and administration. 

The Spot will identify recipients for service dogs in collaboration with Soldier’s 6, a Minnesota-based non-profit that provides active-duty military members, honorably discharged veterans and first responders with specially trained K9s. Under the direction of former law enforcement officer and The Spot’s head trainer, Mike Boehmer, The Spot is expected to train as many as 65 service dogs annually. There is no cost to recipients for their service dogs or training.

“We remain committed to making a difference,” said Charlie Nelson, CEO of KLN Family Brands, the parent company of NutriSource. “The Spot will train up 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.” 

Our long-term aspiration is to have a number of these facilities around the country. The needs are staggering,” added Nelson. 

General manager of The Spot, Chris Heikkila, is himself a veteran and a recipient of a service dog (K9 Leo) through the Soldier’s 6 program. “I suffer from multiple physical disabilities as well as diagnosed severe anxiety/panic attacks, depression, and PTS,” said Heikkila. “For so long we have been conditioned to push these issues down deep and press on.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.”

In addition to the service dog training facility, The Spot will feature a retail area open to the public that will offer NutriSource pet food, treats and other pet items, 34 kennels with five executive dog suites, an area for cat boarding, pet daycare and three full-service grooming stations.

The Spot will host a grand opening celebration on Wednesday, November 1, from 3-5 pm at its location at 7600 69th Avenue North in Greenfield.  The event will feature special appearances by facility dogs from the NutriSource Facility Dog Program at the M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital, former world champion boxer Caleb Truax, University of Minnesota women’s basketball player, Mara Braun, and other special guests. Food, prizes and tours are available free of charge to attendees. The public is invited to attend. 

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