Soldiers Best Friend

SBF logo

Soldiers Best Friend
14505 North 75th Avenue
Peoria, AZ 85381
Phone: (623) 218-6486

Soldiers Best Friend was founded by veterinarian John Burnham and his wife Jan.  SBF incorporated in January 2011 as a non-profit corporation and began their first pairings and trainings in May 2011.  This is an organization that got right to work savings lives as you will hear in this video.  So far in they have trained almost 150 service dog teams.

Mission: Soldier’s Best Friend provides U.S. military veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once and inspires countless others.

SBF is devoted to rescuing homeless Arizona dogs. They have a network of rescue groups and shelters throughout Arizona. They provide training in Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Sierra Vista.


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Judy and fellow volunteers at a SBF event


When the Sansales began researching service dog organizations online in 2012 and 2013, some were standouts. That was the case with Soldiers Best Friend.  Fortunately, Lynn Sansale’s sister Judy was moving from Seattle to Phoenix and Lynn suggested she visit SBF and find out about volunteer opportunities. Judy did just that and found a strong, caring volunteer program and a wonderful organization she was proud to be a part of.

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Jan and John Burnham at Soldiers Best Friend’s Graduation Ceremony


After discussions with co founder Jan Burnham, John’s wife, the Sansales traveled to Phoenix in January, 2014 and again in 2015 to meet graduates that wanted to share their stories and participate with their service dogs.

We are grateful to Brenda Meir, Operations Manager who helped line up graduates of their program and to Judy who helped coordinate meetings and photo shoots so that Lynn and Paul could meet our nation’s heroes.  Also during their March, 2015 visit they were honored to watch as new service dog teams graduated.


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Judy is seen here on the cover of Arizona’s Mountain View Magazine with two of the Rescued Heroes Calendar participates.   Sarah and her service dog Benny, Judy, and Gene and his service dog Harley are featured in a wonderful article about Soldiers Best Friend.

In this early 2012 video, seen below, founder and veterinarian  John Burnham describes the beginning of Soldiers Best Friend’s  program followed by comments from several Veteran graduates.