The Animal Health Corridor and its partners are honored to recognize two not-for-profit organizations with the 2020 Spirit of Service award, Retrieving Freedom and Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center. 

Retrieving Freedom

The mission of Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is to change lives through the training and placement of service dogs with disabled veterans and children with autism.


Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs to help people with a primary focus on training dogs to serve the needs of veterans and children with autism. They breed and train chosen dogs that exhibit specific traits necessary to perform tasks to help these individuals. They believe in matching the dog to the recipient.

Their training program isn’t designed to train each dog the same way. Instead, dogs are trained to meet the needs of their specific recipient. Each dog will complete one or more Impact Program throughout their training. These programs include attending elementary schools, correctional facilities, college campuses and summer camps. During this training, the dogs are learning specific tasks, becoming familiar with different environments as well as making an impact on each individual they come in contact with.  The dogs go through more than two years of training to meet Retrieving Freedom’s strict standards for a successful placement.

Retrieving Freedom, Inc. operates out of two locations, Waverly, Iowa, and Sedalia, Missouri as an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International.The service dogs trained by Retrieving Freedom increase the independence of the individuals they are matched with. Not only do they help with specific commands to mitigate that individual’s disability, but they also offer companionship and unconditional love.



Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center 

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Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center’s (SBTC) mission is to enhance the mental health and well-being of people through evidenced-based treatment and to aid in the physical and psychological recovery of abused and traumatized dogs with interactive training and the application of the human-canine bond in a therapeutic environment.


SBTC accomplishes their mission through a variety of programs, most notably by teaching a structured class to the post-traumatic stress wing at the Veterans Administration Hospital, alongside their registered therapy dogs, where they discuss the human-canine bond, what role it can play in lives and in recovery, and how it can be a vehicle to channel the skills patients learn from their doctors and social workers while at the hospital. Other programs include a Peace with Packs class where people working through stress and anxiety are paired with shelter dogs to work on mindfulness exercises with a licensed social worker, and their compassion fatigue and burnout training for animal shelter staff and first responders.

The Center
For the last 8 years, SBTC has facilitated their mission through programs in the community, at the VA Hospital, animal shelters, and classrooms. The most effective way to achieve their mission and maximize the reach to people and dogs in need is to build a facility to incorporate a multi-pronged approach to outpatient treatment. In 2019, SBTC secured over an acre of land in Lawrence, KS, to build their Center. SBTC will be launching a capital campaign for the building.



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Thank you to our additional Spirit of Service Donors

 Thank you to the following organizations, which have contributed financially to the Spirit of Service award.
AgTech Advisors
AIT Bioscience
American Best Medical
American Veterinary Medical Association
Aniconsilia, LLC
Animal Care Technologies
Animal Health Advisors
Animal Health Digest
Aratana Theraputics, Inc.
Argenta Limited
Ark Animal Health
Avego Healthcare Capital
AVMA Trust
Azurity Pharmaceuticals
Bayer Animal Health
BBN Architects Inc
Bench International
Biomedical Devices of Kansas
BioNexus KC
Blueprints Veterinary Marketing Group
Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health
Brakke Consulting
British Consulate-General
BSA LifeStructures
Butler Consulting Services
Capital One
Cara Veterinary
CATalyst Council
Central Life Sciences
Ceva Animal Health, LLC
Chuck Latham Associates, Inc
Circa Healthcare
Cleveland Research Company
Clipper Distributing
Connect Veterinary Consulting
Compassion-First Pet Hospitals
Covenant Animal Health
Covetrus, Inc.
Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group
DairyExperts CRO
De Lacy Executive Recruitment North America
Dechra Veterinary Products
DiMarzo Consulting
Director of Purchasing
Economic Development Corporation
ELIAS Animal Health
Expedite Animal Health
Future Pet Animal Health Inc.
H & C Animal Health
H. F. Wood Consulting
Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
Hilltop BioSciences Inc
Husch Blackwell LLP
IlluminX Consulting
ImpriMed, Inc.
J&J Consultants, LLC
JNA Advertising
Jurox, Inc
KAER Biotherpeutics
Latham BioPharm Group
LifeLearn Animal Health
Likarda, LLC
Livestock Marketing Association
Manhattan Area Technical College
Maranda LLC
MBF Therapeutics, Inc.
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
MediVet Biologics
Merck Animal Health
Midmark Animal Health
Midwestern University
Midwest Veterinary Supply
Miller Veterinary Supply
Missouri Department of Agriculture
Mizner Bioscience
Morris Animal Foundation
Mountain Group Partners
Mutual of Omaha Bank
MTMC Animal Health
MWI Animal Health
NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine
Neogen Corporation
Nestle Purina Pet Care
New Mexico State University
Noble Pharma, LLC
Nova-Tech Animal Health
One Medicine Consulting
Orbis Biosciences Inc.
Osborn Barr Paramore
Ourofino Saúde Animal
PASCO Ventures LLC
Pathway Vet Alliance
Patterson Veterinary
Pegasus Laboratories, Inc.
Pet Heath Care
PetMedix Ltd
Prelude Dynamics
PRN Pharmacal
Professional Pharmacy Resources
QA Compliant, Inc
Rhea & Kaiser
Ridge Research
Right Direction Animal Health Consulting
Rockhurst University
Rubicon Scientific
Sandler Training by Coffman Group
Sinclair Research
Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.
Stephens & Associates
Stonehaven-Incubate AG
Stratford Pharmaceuticals
Sumitomo Corporation
Taraval Associates
Terravet Real Estate Solutions
Terumo Medical Corporation
The Clark Enersen Partners
The VET Recruiter
The Yield Lab
TJR Support Services
Turner Construction
UC Davis InnovationAccess
UltiMed Inc
University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine
VCA Animal Hospital
Veterinary Medical Association Executives
Vetgate Global
Vetio Animal Health
Vetmarket LTD
Vetoquinol USA, Inc.
Vets Plus, Inc.
Virbac Corporation
Wenger Manufacturing
Wunderman Health
Wunderman Thompson


2019 Award Recipients - New Horizon Ranch & Rose Brooks Center

The KC Animal Health Corridor and its partners are honored to recognize two not-for-profit organizations with the 2019 Spirit of Service award, New Horizon Ranch and Rose Brooks Center

New Horizon Ranch


Serving individuals since 2007, it is the mission of New Horizon Ranch, to enrich the lives of individuals through equine assisted activities and therapies.

It is their belief that every individual is capable of greatness and they believe that horses can play an important role in that process! Riding and interaction with horses are not only fun, but create opportunities for kids, youth and adults to improve physical strength, relational skills, cognitive skills and communication. Their horse partners create a unique and motivating atmosphere where riders are encouraged to reach new levels of independence, responsibility and confidence.

They take pride in their family-oriented culture. Many parents have expressed that coming to New Horizon Ranch is the highlight of their child’s week. The entire family enjoys coming to The Ranch, because everyone is accepted. Whether you are a volunteer, client, or family of a client, NHR is a breath of fresh air; it’s a place to take time, relax and enjoy the beauty of the horses and nature!

NHR currently offers a variety of programs including Therapeutic Riding, Equine Assisted Learning, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, and Summer Day Camp programs to individuals of all ages with physical, cognitive, social, emotional and learning disabilities.

Rose Brooks Center

The mission of Rose Brooks Center is to break the cycle of domestic violence so that individuals and families can live free of abuse.

Rose Brooks Center provides a safe place where individuals, families, and pets are welcomed, wrapped in support, and can begin to heal. Respectful, individualized care is offered, including advocacy, therapy, safety planning, finding a home, and connecting with community resources for health, legal, and financial needs. We extend into the community through long-standing and stable partnerships, offering immediate care, education, and violence prevention in hospitals, schools, courts, and throughout law enforcement. Because of this community work, we are able to reach over 14,000 individuals and pets each year.

Rose Brooks Center was the first domestic violence agency in the region to open its own free-standing, fully staffed pet shelter, PAWS Place. 

Rose Brooks Center believes in family and the human-animal bond. Our work every day is to keep families safe and help them rebuild their lives after abuse. And pets are part of that family too.

2018 Award Recipients - Kansas State Animal Response Team (KS SART) & KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc.

The KC Animal Health Corridor and its partners were honored to recognize two not-for-profit organizations in the KC region with the 2018 Spirit of Service award, Kansas State Animal Response Team (KS SART) and KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc.

Kansas State Animal Response Team (KS SART)

KS SART LOGOKS SART is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the development of regional animal disaster preparation and response across Kansas.  It began as an initiative through the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association to build and support a unifying partnership between governmental, not-for-profits, animal industry, and volunteers. When a region's animal disaster response capacity is exhausted, KS SART assists in coordinating support from additional regional resources throughout the state.  KS SART and the regional animal response teams' collaborative efforts are the start to developing a state wide animal response coalition for Kansas.  KS SART is a unit of the Kansas Medical Reserve Corp, established in 2009 to attract veterinarians and technicians to animal response.  Volunteers from the veterinary community respond as a part of one of the regional animal response teams to specifically address animal medical needs following a disaster.

KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc.

KSDSKSDS provides professionally trained guide, service and facility dogs for people in need of a canine partner to enhance their independence.

To graduate from the program, the team (student and dog) must train together on the KSDS campus or in the handler’s home town (commonly for guide teams) for one to three weeks. The estimated cost of each dog placement is more than $25,000. However, other than the initial $25.00 application fee, training is provided at no cost to the applicant. The students are housed in totally accessible housing on campus and most meals are provided. Transportation for classes off campus and training materials (special collars, leashes and harnesses) are also provided. Before graduation from the program, all recipients of a KSDS assistant dog must demonstrate their ability to give effective commands and maintain control of their new partner in public and pass both the KSDS Assistance Dog skills and the Assistance Dogs International Public Access test. They must also be able to provide a safe and loving home environment as well as feed, groom and clean up after their new canine partner.

After one year of successful team work, the graduate is given full ownership of their canine partner. The KSDS training staff provides on-going training support to all graduate teams including a group Graduate Retreat each year on the KSDS campus as well as individual help as needed. KSDS has trained and maintained over 500 teams (guide, service, facility). The youngest person to receive an assistance dog from KSDS was seven years of age and the oldest was 83. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, KSDS operates entirely on donations and no tax dollars are used to support these programs.

2017 Award Recipients - Heartland Therapeutic Riding & Lakemary Ranch


The KC Animal Health Corridor and its partners were honored to recognize two not-for-profit organizations in the KC region with the 2017 Spirit of Service award. Heartland Therapeutic Riding and Lakemary Ranch were recognized for their tireless work during the 2017 Homecoming Dinner with a monetary donation of $15,000 each.

Heartland Therapeutic Riding (HTR) changes lives, one ride at a time as they serve adults and children with disabilities through equine-assisted activities and therapies. Their four-legged, 1,000 pound “therapists” provide a sense of freedom and mobility to participants that’s rarely experienced elsewhere in their lives. Participants make physical and emotional strides during their sessions at HTR that are taught by instructors who are focused on what they can accomplish, not on their limitations. The results are remarkable!

Since 1969, Lakemary has provided a place where children with intellectual/developmental disabilities learn and heal. Lakemary is one of a small handful of agencies nationwide which provides specialized schooling and a residential treatment facility for children (ages 6-21) dually-diagnosed with a developmental delay and a concurrent psychiatric disorder. The newest initiative, Lakemary Ranch , promises to expand therapeutic services to include a variety of garden and animal therapies, while augmenting educational, vocational and social opportunities for the children and adults served. 

2016 Award Recipient – Dr. Michelle Lem


In 2016, the KC Animal Health Corridor was honored to present Dr. Michelle Lem, founder of Community Veterinary Outreach, with the inaugural Spirit of Service award. Community Veterinary Outreach was presented a donation of $12,635 during the 2016 Homecoming Dinner to further its mission.

Dr. Michelle Lem is a 2001 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), and the founder of Community Veterinary Outreach, a veterinary-based registered charity that has provided pro bono preventive veterinary care for animals of the homeless and marginally housed in Ottawa since 2003. This program has been successfully reproduced in other communities and is demonstrating how veterinary care can be leveraged to engage marginalized pet owners in social services and health care for themselves. Community Veterinary Outreach programs also operate in Hamilton, Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, and Guelph, Ontario CANADA. Learn more


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