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Heuberger partners with local nonprofit to provide veterans with service dogs

For many veterans, their service dogs are more than just furry, four-legged friends. For those struggling with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder, those fuzzy pups represent a lifeline past the trauma and a path toward healing. 

And thanks to the folks at Heuberger Subaru, local veterans can skip the waiting list and go straight to training their service dogs, adding a layer of support for many struggling veterans.

“Service dogs can really make a big difference for someone who is struggling with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries or a series of different things that can happen to you as a result of military service,” said Alex Gauthier, director of marketing for Heuberger Motors. “Unfortunately, it is very difficult for a service member to actually get a dog. The Veterans Affairs Office can provide them, but there’s a huge waiting list. And to get one on your own, it would cost around $30,000.” 

Howie learning to ignore distractions. The process of acquiring a dog and going through training together takes time and intention.

And that’s where Heuberger comes in. The car dealership partnered with local nonprofit Victory Service Dogs during its annual, month-long fundraiser: “Share the Love."

Click here to see Heuberger's other community efforts.

For the past two years, the money raised at the fundraiser — about $100,000 for Victory Service Dogs — locally has provided nine veterans with service dogs. The two groups plan to continue collaborating to bring more animals and veterans together. 

It works like this: whenever someone purchases a Subaru, the dealership gives $50 to Victory Service Dogs. Customers can also pick the same nonprofit and the donation increases to $250. Customers also had the option of choosing between the four national nonprofits: ASPCA, Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels and the National Park Foundation. 

Overall, Subaru and its national retailers have donated more than $200 million to those national charities, and more than 1,610 hometown charities in the event's first 13 years. Locally, the money raised goes to a nonprofit that matches Heuberger’s corporate values. Over the years, the local dealership has raised millions for local nonprofits, providing proceeds from the fundraiser to a nonprofit for two years in a row. 

Heuberger Subaru picked Victory Service Dogs because of the nature of the Colorado Springs community. Want to get involved locally? You can find several opportunities HERE.

“We’re trying to do more to help take care of our veteran community,” said Gauthier, a veteran himself. “VSD was a great fit because Subaru is nationally known for its work with animals and then we’re a military town, so there was just this synergy there between the two of us.” 

Victory Service Dogs information table at the Heuberger Dealership. VSD provides service dog training for veterans, those in the Warrior Transition Battalion and first responders.

Army veteran Steve Corey started Victory Service Dogs in 2015 in response to the high suicide rates in the veteran community. Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 30,000 veterans have taken their own lives, more than four times the number killed in combat during that time. Acting to prevent further tragedy, Corey’s nonprofit works to end the stigma of asking for help — and to create veteran-dog teams to guide veterans through tough times.

“We actually just hit 93 service dog team graduates as of August last year,” said Lisbeth Keen, marketing director for VSD. “That’s an incredible milestone for our organization, and we’re proud to say we actually haven’t lost a client to suicide since we opened our doors.” 

The money VSD received in 2020 from Heuberger was the nonprofit’s largest donation in its history. 

“That, honestly, was life-changing.” Keen said. “That meant that we had money to support the total training costs for nine veteran teams.” 

The partnership also created an opportunity to increase the nonprofit’s visibility in the Pikes Peak region through weekly classes hosted in the dealership’s showroom. See more Love Promise Stories here.

“One thing we try to do with the nonprofit is let them use our space as a place to get their message in front of our customers and make people aware of the issue,” Gauthier said. “This past year, we let them use the showroom for training. It offered the veterans a calm environment to use their dog in public as part of their training — while the nonprofit shared its message with our customers.” 

Keen said partnerships like the one between Heuberger and VSD are important and benefits both the nonprofit and the business. Whenever a business shows its human side, everyone wins, she said. 

“It’s this added layer of, ‘Oh, I didn’t know this business cared about this.’ I love that,” she said. “It makes people want to bring more of their business to a place and tell their friends about the business, because they also care about something they are passionate about. I think, especially in Colorado Springs, there is a passion for supporting local businesses giving back to the community.” Have a question for Heuberger? You can submit questions here.


In the past, Heuberger partnered with the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, UpaDowna and the Rocky Mountain Field Institute during the annual “Share the Love” campaign. 

Do you like outdoor adventures, puppies, kittens or running? 

If so, there is a community here for you! You can help Heuberger give to Colorado Springs nonprofits. 

CLICK HERE to read more about SHARE THE LOVE!

If you want to know more about Victory Service Dogs, go to

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Buford is featured here observing a fellow team in training. VSD trains both the owner and their dog together once a week with one of their professional dog trainers - they teach clients how to train their dog to be a safe and reliable service dog. Want to see how Heuberger helps other local nonprofits? CLICK HERE.

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Nairobi enjoying a well-earned treat. While these dogs may provide emotional support, and comfort they are specifically trained to provide assistance beyond soothing benefits.

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Heuberger pup-in-residence, Eiger, ready to welcome visitors. These specially trained dogs can help their owners in many ways including: retrieving objects that are out of their owner’s reach, pulling wheelchairs, opening and closing doors, turning light switches off and on, as well as many other tasks unique to each owner. How did Share the Love help El Paso County Dog Parks? Click here to learn more.

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A true Colorado pup. VSD recommends that applicants live in Colorado Springs or within the surrounding area so that they can reach the training facility and attend weekly classes without the additional driving-time.

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Howie listening intently to his handler. VSD works with clients as needed on unwanted behaviors that surface throughout the training and after graduation. 

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Special dog with a special purpose. VSD trains for those diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and/or mobility issues.

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A lesson in patience and trust.

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“How are we doing, Dad?” This training program takes commitment and patience for both the owner and dog as, on average, training lasts 18 – 24 months

Learn more about Heuberger's commitment to the Subaru Love Promise.