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Mike's Story

For Mike Ritland, the goal has always been to make an impact, and for most of his life, he has done just that, both personally and professionally. Born in suburban Waterloo, Iowa, Mike’s parents instilled a solid foundation of integrity, compassion, and hard work that carried him through his teen years into one of the most pivotal decisions of his life. After graduation, without a second thought, Mike decided he wanted to serve his country as a Navy SEAL.

12 years as a Navy SEAL

During his service, he navigated the training ground and battlefield within the special operations community. While on deployment in Iraq with a group of Marines and their combat K9, this highly trained combat dog saved the Marines’ lives during a dangerous operation, making the K9 a true hero. And just like that, a light switch went off for Mike.

Using the knowledge gained as a SEAL and his growing experience with the most elite dogs in the world, he left the military in 2008 to start his own dog company, Trikos International. Trikos’ reputation, forged from Mike’s career as a SEAL, grew rapidly. The company was awarded government contracts with DHS, DOD, TSA, and Customs & Border Protection. Circa 2010, Mike Ritland and Trikos International accepted the contract as the training group for the West Coast SEAL Canine Program and reunited Mike with his former teammates.

Trikos became a highly reputable dog training & procurement company that specialized in providing working K9s to a multitude of clients to include celebrities, private individuals, and government agencies.

Mike’s career brought him full circle while working on the West Coast. He discovered that former high level working dogs were being euthanized when they could no longer serve. Most of these dogs were psychologically compromised from chaotic and traumatic experiences that occurred while “doing the job.” After years of service in some of the worst places on earth, they were physically broken down, causing many to default to aggression. Mike saw this as another opportunity to make an impact, so he started the Warrior Dog Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to prevent euthanization and provide care & dignity to retired working dogs who have served in any capacity. Some dogs are rehabbed or rehomed, if possible. For others, the goal is to make them comfortable while bringing them back to health.

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