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Amazin’ Mets Foundation’s first service dog paired with first responder by America’s VetDogs

Oct. 9, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

Shea, the first service dog raised by the Amazin’ Mets Foundation, has been paired with first responder Richie Carter by America’s VetDogs. The two were officially paired during a pregame ceremony at Citi Field on Sept. 28.

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Photo courtesy of the Amazin’ Mets Foundation

“We are proud that the Amazin’ Mets Foundation’s first service dog, Shea, has been paired with former NYPD officer and 9/11 first responder Richie Carter,” Amazin’ Mets Foundation President and New York Mets Owner Alex Cohen said. “Service dogs can provide companionship, hope, joy and a life-changing experience. It’s our honor to partner with America’s VetDogs and support our veterans and first responders.”

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Richie Carter and Shea. Photo courtesy of the Amazin’ Mets Foundation

Carter served on the NYPD for 20 years. During the events of 9/11, he spent 250 hours as a first responder at Ground Zero.

“Being placed with Shea at Citi Field was one of the greatest moments of my life with so many emotions and doesn’t compare to anything I have ever been a part of,” Carter said. “I truly want to thank the New York Mets for helping raise Shea and welcoming me and my family with open arms into the Mets’ organization. Shea is going to change my life.”

When the Mets brought Shea in to begin his training in March of 2022, they became the first MLB team to raise a service dog. The organization also recently sponsored another service dog, Seaver, who is undergoing training before he too will be paired up with a U.S. Veteran or first responder with disabilities. The Amazin’ Mets Foundation staff and the Mets players  and fans are currently providing Seaver with basic training and socialization before he returns to America’s VetDogs campus in Smithtown on Long Island for formal training.

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Amazin’ Mets Foundation President Alex Cohen with Shea and Seaver. Photo courtesy of the Amazin’ Mets Foundation

“America’s VetDogs takes pride in pairing Shea with former NYPD officer Richie,” America’s VetDogs President and CEO John Miller said. “The Amazin’ Mets Foundation and the New York Mets played a fundamental role in providing invaluable support for Shea’s upbringing and training. The unwavering dedication of everyone in the Mets’ front office, the Amazin’ Mets Foundation and Alex Cohen helped to make this possible.”

America’s VetDogs is a New York-based national nonprofit that provides specially trained service dogs like Shea to veterans and first responders with disabilities. They teach the dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police and emergency medical personnel.  The not-for-profit organization was founded by the Guide Dog Foundation and serves clients from across the United States. Its mission to help those who have served for the United States is funded by contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs and foundations.

While it normally costs more $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place an assistance dog, America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual. For more information on America’s VetDogs and ways to get involved, visit VetDogs.org.

The philanthropic arm of the New York Mets, the Amazin’ Mets Foundation is committed to providing needed services and opportunities to children, families and underserved groups. Since its inception in 2021, the Amazin’ Mets Foundation has funded more 100 organizations in the community with a total of over $6.2 million in grants. This also includes the communities surrounding Mets minor league affiliate teams. Learn more at amazinmetsfoundation.org.

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