Texans Pup presented by Kroger | HoustonTexans.com
In 2021, the Houston Texans and Kroger announced a collaboration with America's VetDogs to name and train a future service dog that will be placed with a veteran or first responder with disabilities.
Named in a fan voting contest, Kirby came to the Texans as a 10-week-old puppy with a purpose ready to play and work. Over the next 15 months, Kirby underwent basic training with his volunteer puppy raiser MacKenzie. He visited Texans players, staff and fans at community events, training camp, meet and greets, and home games which assisted in raising and socializing him to become a confident future service dog.
He competed in the puppy bowl last February, taking home the Most Valuable Pup award. In September, Kirby returned back to America's VetDogs in New York for formal training to learn advanced service dog skills that will help mitigate his veteran's disabilities. Kirby's purpose is to serve those that have served our country.
In December of 2022, Kirby finally met his match: United States Army Sergeant Major Kevin Bittenbender who served our country for 34 years. Thank you to Kroger, America's VetDogs and Texans fans who helped get Kirby for his life's purpose.
Since 2002, the Houston Texans have donated more than $37 million back to the community through the Houston Texans Foundation. The mission of the Houston Texans Foundation is to be Champions for Youth. Through the foundation and under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Cal McNair and Vice President of the Texans Foundation Hannah McNair, the Texans support and administer programs in education, character development, and health and wellness to empower the next generation of Texans. As strong supporters of the military, the Texans partner with military partners and veteran-service organizations throughout the year to show our appreciation to all those who have served.
Since 2003, America's VetDogs has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans from all eras, and first responders with disabilities. VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America's VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.
The Kroger Houston Division operates more than 100 stores in SE Texas and Louisiana and employs over 18,000 associates. Last year, Kroger Houston donated $1.9M to local non-profit organizations and schools, and donated 2.6M pounds of food to local food banks. We are committed to creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.
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