New Leash on Life

Veteran’s Life is Forever Changed by his Service Dog, Merrick (Plus a Hero’s Banquet Giveaway!)

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A Texas veteran was so severely impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder that leading a normal life was all but impossible. But, everything changed when he was paired with his service dog, Merrick.


When U.S. Army veteran McLean Raybon returned from Afghanistan, he was a different person.

“He just shut down, mentally, physically,” his wife Kerrin explained. “He was there, but he wasn’t there. Just to get him to go anywhere was a struggle.”

For nearly three years, McLean rarely left the house. He spent countless hours in his garage, unable to face the world around him. Simple errands, like going for groceries or taking his young kids to the park, were nearly unbearable for once vibrant and fun-loving husband and father.

Enter to win one of twenty Paw-some Merrick Hero’s Banquet Prize Packs at the bottom of this article!

Then, a trip to the mailbox changed everything.

K9s For Warriors, an organization that provides service dogs to military veterans with PTSD who are struggling to return to civilian life, had paired McLean with a very special service dog named Merrick.

Adopted by the organization from a Jacksonville, Florida animal shelter in July of 2016, the rescued chocolate Lab had to first be treated for heartworms, then undergo months of training for his very important new job.

He also needed a new name. K9s For Warriors chose to name this special boy Merrick, in honor of Merrick Pet Care, a premium pet food and treat manufacturer that’s provided all the food needed to nourish (and all the treats needed to train) the hundreds of service dogs K9s For Warriors has paired with veterans since 2015. Together, K9s For Warriors and Merrick Pet Care rescue the dogs that, in turn, rescue our warriors.

McLean Raybon, a medically retired U.S. Army specialist and Afghanistan combat veteran, said Merrick has changed his life. His ‘best dog ever’ has significantly lessened his night terrors and anxiety. Before Merrick came into his life, Raybon relied on a myriad of medications that did little to help his suffering.

Enter to win one of twenty Paw-some Merrick Hero’s Banquet Prize Packs at the bottom of this article!

Today, he’s enjoying life again – even browsing the aisles at the grocery store with his wife and two kids, a simple act that brought his wife to tears the very first time they shopped without anxiety.

Right now, there are 21.8 million veterans in the U.S.A. One in five of them are suffering with PTSD. Twenty-two of them commit suicide each day as a result. Service dogs have been proven to help these veterans return to a more normal, functional, happy life; in ways that medication is often ineffective.

With these startling statistics in mind, Merrick Pet Care has pledged to do more to help our U.S. veterans struggling with civilian life through their partnership with K9s For Warriors.

Merrick’s new Backcountry Hero’s Banquet recipes were introduced to give pet parents a way to support K9s For Warriors while feeding a nutritious, ancestral canine diet to their dogs. Hero’s Banquet recipes feature a kibble infused with freeze-dried raw meat and a wet food, each 100% grain free, high in protein, to help your dog maintain healthy hips and joints as well as skin and coat.

And through the month of July, $1 from the sale of each and every bag or can sold will go directly to K9s For Warriors to assist in providing more service dogs like Merrick to deserving heroes like McLean.

Learn more about K9s For Warriors and Merrick’s commitment by clicking here. And, enter to win one of 20 Hero’s Banquet Prize Packs below!

Prize packs include one 4-pound bag of Merrick Backcountry Hero’s Banquet and a K9s For Warriors bracelet! Giveaway ends July 31, 2017.

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