Falcons player teams up with nonprofit that pairs veterans with dogs

File photo of Keanu Neal

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

File photo of Keanu Neal

An Atlanta Falcons player who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 has recently become the brand ambassador for a local nonprofit.

Falcons Safety Keanu Neal is advocating for the Top Dogg K9 Foundation, which opened in Gwinnett County early last year and rescues, trains and pairs service dogs with veterans. The group estimates 22 veterans commit suicide every day in America, and hopes to reverse that trend through dog companionship.

Neal, whose father served in the Vietnam War, spends time at the Lilburn nonprofit with his French bulldog, Keyno, a press release said. The 23-year-old wears No. 22 on the field.

“I love the No. 22, but it has an even bigger meaning to me,” Neal said in a statement. “Being a part of a veteran-owned organization that pairs trained service dogs to veterans is a great way to give back.”

Top Dogg founder Blake Rashad said he’s “thrilled by Keanu’s support.”

“Saving veterans every day is our goal, and we’re so glad to know that Keanu serves as a voice for veterans,” Rashad said in a statement.

The nonprofit's dog training facility, which offers resources such as group service dog training classes, is located at 4776 Stone Mountain Highway. Veterans can make an appointment here.

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