September is Service Dog Awareness Month, and to kick off the month, the St. Louis Cardinals invited U.S. marines veteran, David Fuller and his rescue service dog, Katie to throw out the first pitch at their game against the Cincinnati Reds over Labor Day weekend.
David and Katie were paired together through former Cardinal’s manager, player and Hall of Fame member, Tony La Russa’s non-profit organization Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). They have been together since 2016 as part of the veterans program which uniquely matches veterans experiencing PTSD and other challenges with rescue dogs and guides the veterans through a 10-month program training the animals to become skilled service companions, saving both ends of the leash. David’s daughters, Sadie and Alathea Fuller joined their dad for the game.
David warmed up with the help of Katie and gave her a kiss for good luck before taking the field. Newly called up from Triple-A Memphis on Friday, Cardinals’ pitcher Tyler Webb served as catcher.
The ceremonial first pitch is part of Purina Dog Chow “Service Dog Salute” campaign from now until Veterans Day – the goal of the program is to help drive awareness of the important work of service dogs and raise funds for the expansion of ARF’s veterans program to pair more veterans with rescue dogs, just like David and Katie. Folks at home can learn more and get involved in this campaign by visiting DogChow.com/Service.