Semper K9 Assistance Dogs is a passion for Marine Corps combat veteran Christopher Baity and his wife Amanda Causey Baity, who together formed the veteran-owned and operated nonprofit in 2014 to rescue shelter dogs, training them as service animals for military veterans living with injuries or PTSD. When Manassas-based architect Sean Porter, owner of Loveless Porter Architects, learned about the duo, he too became passionate about their mission, offering his design and consulting services to help them achieve their vision for Camp Semper K9, which will serve as the organization’s headquarters and training facility.
Currently, Semper K9 is run out of Baity’s suburban home, limiting the scope of their efforts. “We are limited in the amount of dogs we can take in and the veterans we can help,” said Causey Baity. “It’s also hard to coordinate with our volunteers because they can’t come and go freely to get what they need. Not to mention our own kids running around the house makes it a challenge to keep the business organized.”
The 33-acre facility outside of Marine Corps Base Quantico will serve as a central location from which they can train dogs, coordinate with volunteers, familiarize veterans with their new service animals and expand operations over time. Causey Baity added that, following Semper K9 being featured on an episode of Mike Rowe’s “Returning the Favor,” which now has over 10 million views, demand for services and offers from potential volunteers has grown.
Porter contacted the couple in spring of 2017, evaluating the future home of Semper K9 before the Baity’s purchased it. Since then, his firm has finalized designs for the main building and submitted them to Fauquier County for approval. Baity explained that it is designed like a large home, so that the dogs are trained in the same environment in which they will eventually live, rather than a kennel setting. There is also space for the veterans to stay on site while trainers teach them how to work with their dogs.
“Sean has designed exactly what we need. The dogs need to be trained in a place that resembles a home because that is where they will be working,” said Causey-Baity. “It’s also nice to have the building set up like a house because it will make our veterans feel welcome and comfortable.” Currently, veterans stay at a Holiday Day Inn off-premises.
As operations grow, Porter will next design tiny houses that will allow Semper K9 to accommodate more veterans, and provide the opportunity to offer additional services and life skills training.
“Sean also tries to connect us with others who will either donate in-kind services or offer discounted rates. It is very humbling to see the outpouring of love and support from people who want to give their time and/or resources in support of our military veterans,” said Causey Baity.
“I was looking for a project that would allow me to use my skill set to help veterans. Semper K9 could not have been a more perfect fit. I am honored to be a part of their journey,” Porter said. “I can’t wait to see them use the space we are creating together to help both veterans and rescue dogs.”
Work on the main Camp Semper K9 facility should begin late this year, with expected completion in Spring 2019. In the meantime, efforts are focused on clearing the property and setting the stage for the tiny homes.
Those interested in supporting the Semper K9 mission can learn more at www.SemperK9.org, including opportunities to name the tiny homes in exchange for the donation of building materials, labor, furnishings and home decor. To learn more about Loveless Porter Architects, and other community projects it supports, visit www.
Based in Manassas, Virginia, Loveless Porter Architects, LLC has provided full architectural and engineering services throughout the DMV since 1975, maintaining a reputation based on thoroughness and responsiveness. Good design – grounded in practical knowledge of construction – and detailed construction documents are hallmarks of the firm’s work for a diverse array of clients, including government, breweries, retail, commercial, and institutional projects include medical facilities, churches, schools, and manufacturing facilities. Learn more at www.