SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Last fall, South Plainfield resident Olivia Olano decided that, instead of having a Sweet 16 party, she wanted to take a trip to Florida. The incoming high school junior, however, is not looking to relax on a beach. Instead, she wants to spend a day shadowing a trainer at the nonprofit K9s for Warriors camp. 

“I’ve been to Sweet 16s before and although they are great, I wanted to put the money toward a something more important than just a huge party for just one night,” said Olivia, adding, “I love the whole idea of K9s for Warriors. They are partnering dogs with veterans and helping those returning from service live a healthier life.”

Founded in 2001, K9s for Warriors, based out of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL,is the nation's largest provider of service dogs for disabled American veterans and the goal is to ‘empower them to return to civilian life with dignity and independence.’ According to the organization’s website (https://www.k9sforwarriors.org), the K9s program is 100-percent free for the veteran with a service canine, equipment, training, certification, seminars, legal instruction, vet care, housing, home-cooked meals, unconditional love and listening, and life-time of wrap-around services (including available life-long healthcare for their dogs) provided. 

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Olivia told TAPinto South Plainfield she hopes to visit the organization’s training camp next summer and has also been fundraising to present K9s for Warriors with a monetary donation when she does. To raise money, Olivia is selling dog treats made from a recipe she and her mother, Patricia ‘Tree’ Olano, developed together. 

“My mom has always been an excellent cook and baker and when in the kitchen, something always seems to end up in our dog’s bowl. I thought it would be a good idea to make a treat that is dog-friendly, nutritional and healthy,” said Olivia. 

Noki Treats – named after the Olanos English cream retriever Nova and their neighbors’ yellow lab Tiki – are made from all-natural and all-organic ingredients, including eggs, peanut butter, whole wheat flower, and pumpkin. The bone-shaped treats come in a package of 8 different sizes for $5 and last up to two-weeks if refrigerated. 

“Dogs are companions for so many of us and what better way to show your love for them than with a nutritional treat,” Olivia said. 

To date, Olivia has raised $180 selling the dog treats and her goal is to raise as much money as possible for the K9s for Warriors organization prior to her visit. “I love dogs and they have always been a very important part of my life and I am also very proud and thankful to the soldiers who served our country,” said Olivia, noting that both her grandfathers servied in the military. “Supporting K9s for Warriors is a ‘win win.’”

Noki Treats can be purchased by contacting Olivia directly at oliviaolano3@gmail.com. They will also be sold at the vendors fair taking place on the grounds of the middle school following this year’s Labor Day Parade. 

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