Semper K-9 founder Chris Baity and Loveless Porter Architects discuss the future of Camp Semper K9, which will include tiny homes designed by Porter, for veterans to stay in while learning to work with their service dogs
What started out as a desire to help veterans, without knowing exactly what that would look like, has blossomed into a new Community Builder project for Manassas-based Loveless Porter Architects, LLC. The firm is donating consulting and design services to the creation of Camp Semper K9, which will serve as home base for Semper K9 Assistance Dogs. The veteran-owned nonprofit trains service dogs, often rescued from animal shelters, to assist military veterans living with physical or emotional injuries.
The average cost to train a service dog is valued in excess of $20,000. However, veterans accepted into the program receive their dog free of charge. As a result, Semper K9 relies on grants, donations and in-kind services such as those being provided by Loveless Porter.
Marine Corps combat veteran Christopher Baity and his wife Amanda Causey-Baity founded the organization in 2014, running it from homes that they have rented in Prince William County. Securing a permanent location will provide stability for the growing program, which has been garnering national recognition, including a recent story in People Magazine.
“Camp Semper K9 will allow us more space to work with rescue dogs, train volunteers and to house veterans as they learn to work with their new rescue dogs,” said Causey-Baity. “As we gain media attention, our applicant list grows. Having a permanent home for Semper K9 will allow us to better meet that demand. Loveless Porter has been a great resources as we begin this exciting new chapter for our organization.”
Loveless Porter owner Sean Porter consulted with the couple as they considered whether to purchase property with an existing structure and convert it, or to develop land from scratch. Currently, Semper K9 has its sights set on a 33-acre parcel of land bordering Marine Corps Base Quantico, and has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise the needed $25,000 down payment.
Porter will provide design and construction drawings for the new buildings, which will include a barn and several tiny homes to accommodate veterans as they are trained to work with their new service dogs.
“We support a number of community organizations through volunteerism and fundraising, but I also wanted an ongoing project that where we could apply Loveless Porter Architect’s specific area of expertise. The Community Builder project allows us to give back in a way that most other projects cannot,” said Porter, who is a 2017 graduate of Leadership Prince William, serves on the Manassas Business Council and will soon join the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
When Porter learned that Semper K9 was in the early phases of building its headquarters and was in need of design services, he contacted Causey-Baity. “I love everything about their mission. They are impacting lives in a meaningful way, for our returning warriors and for dogs that others gave up on. It is an honor for Loveless Porter to lend our expertise and bring the vision for Camp Semper K9 to life,” said Porter.