Our Mission

CO-OP Survival strives to bring Veteran caregivers together to eliminate isolation, support family transitions, encourage career goals, and build a community of support.

Core Values


In the Veteran community, trust has, too often, been lost.  To build trust, we do what we say we are going to do, we show up when we say we are going to show up, and we never profit from the thing (leashes) that brings us to the table.


Bringing people who have little in common together might spark a conversation, but it does not equal a friendship.  Friendship comes from a repetitive connection or activity and establishing common ground.


In the wounded warrior community, family doesn’t always look like the families we see on a Christmas card.  Family is a group of individuals that help you survive. 


Without the desire to do good for someone else, not one leash can be made.  All we do is provide a reoccurring, inexpensive, tangible way to give a gift to Veterans, 1st responders, and service- and military-dogs.  We encourage local giving, like, “take it home and give it to your neighbor”, and we want leashmakers to return and continue giving to family, neighbors, co-workers, or veteran-support organizations.


Walls come down when we are interested in the person on the other side of the table.  We don’t need to know your deepest, darkest secrets, just why you like cheese, or don’t; why you like dogs, or don’t; where you went on vacation, or didn’t…


The truth might have been forgotten due to a brain injury; there is fear that our community won’t like our truth; sometimes we believe no one wants to listen to our truth.  At the leashmaking table, painful, funny, sad, and unspoken truths are all accepted. 


The military and Veteran population is primarily made up of service leaders, those people who come together to do something for someone else.  We reconnect, over-and-over-again, for service to others.

Common ground

We have a jar of questions.  The jar is labeled Common Ground, and it is filled with questions that are open-ended opportunities to tell a little bit about yourself.  We never tell anyone that they are required to answer a question; they are just an option.  We are committed to building common ground as a platform for conversations.


Hope is the belief that, in the midst of difficulty, we can still find joy, friendship, family, purpose, understanding, acceptance, service, and common ground. 


Community is the mix of humans and animals that bring trust, friendship, family, purpose, understanding, acceptance, service, common ground, and hope to the table.   It’s the neighbor, the co-worker, the member of a Veteran support org, the shop owner, the businesswoman, the legislator… all who join us.

Dog Leashes?

We make leashes,
but we are not a leashmaking organization

What you see is a dog leash, but Co-Op Survival is so much more than a leash.

Co-Op Survival brings Veterans, Veteran caregivers, Veteran-caregiving families, and the community together to build strong communities of support—one leash at a time.

Making a leash is the thing that brings us together to laugh, to cry, to support one another, and to allow the communities we live in to meet & support us.

Our goal is to initiate conversations, and making leashes is a catalyst to conversation.  The leash is the byproduct of those conversations—not the goal—so we give them away to Veterans, service dogs, retiring military dogs, & first responders.

What is a Veteran Caregiver?

“What is a Veteran caregiver?”, you might ask.  When a service-member becomes wounded, ill, or injured, the come home to communities across the country.  When that happens—hopefully—someone steps in to help them.  That person might be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a partner, a child, or anyone who supports and cares for the Veteran during the hours that they are not being cared for by medical professionals.  The Veteran, the caregiver, and whoever else lives in the home become a Veteran-caregiving family.  During this transition, everyone adjusts from what-was to what-is.  Lives begin to revolve around wounds, illnesses, and injuries.  Too often, friendships are lost, goals change, careers are put on hold, and dreams can be forgotten—for everyone in the family.

The isolation of caregiving can be profound, but making leashes connects Veteran-caregiving families with their community.  It is an opportunity to learn together, laugh about failures, and praise each other when we are finished.  When we have no words, we listen.

Our Board

CO-OP’s board is made up of Veteran caregivers and Veterans, so we live what we speak.  As an organization, we are committed to building strong communities of support, one leash at a time!