Bearkats are doing their part for Veterans … with dogs.

Kats and Kanines for Vets hosted the first annual Rory Grieve Memorial Mud Strut on Saturday morning. The event is in honor of a former veteran and student at Sam Houston State, who died one year ago yesterday in a tragic car accident.

“This event is in honor of him and what he’s done for others,” said Kristie Franks, the organizer of the group and professor of animal science at SHSU

Kats and Kanines for Vets is a full-service organization, founded a year ago with the help of Grieve. To date, the organization has raised $10,000 for service animals for veterans, with the idea originally to start a class project, but it has only grown from there.

“It can cost between $15,000-$20,000 to obtain a fully-trained service dog,” Franks added. “We have found a way to bring it down to $4,000. We now adopt dogs and train them to be service animals for Veterans.”

In addition to Saturday’s event, the organization holds small campus events and bake sales, but hopes to conduct more events like the Mud Strut.

Saturday’s event included a raffle for a Yeti cooler with SHSU gear from Barefoot Campus Outfitters and Autozone. People and their dogs were able to enjoy treats, including puppuccinos for the dogs.

“We want to raise as much money as possible for as many veterans as we can,” Franks said. “They have sacrificed so much, so we need to step up for them.”

For more information on the organization or donations, contact Kristie Franks at