Saniyya Sidney from ‘Fast Color’ Shows Her Support for Groundbreaking Service Dog Organization

Actress Saniyya Sidney knows the power of what it means to have a dog by your side. The multi-talented 12-year-old has two dogs and says her pup Biscuit is always there when she needs a little extra comfort.

She told The Cheat Sheet that whenever she’s feeling down or stressed, she finds warmth in the cuddles she receives from her furry best friend. Because of her love of dogs, she wanted to honor some recent service dog graduates from an amazing organization called K9s for Warriors.

Saniyya Sidney |Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage

“My dad’s father knew I loved animals,” she recalls. “So when we were shooting that’s when I really looked into organizations. So that’s when I found K9 and my grandpa told me about it.” Sidney recently attended a graduation ceremony at K9s for Warriors where veterans were partnered with their new companions.

Sidney wanted to connect with the warriors and their dogs

When Sidney learned K9s for Warriors would be holding a graduation ceremony she was thrilled. The organization invited her to attend she said. “Of course,” she said enthusiastically. “I wanted to see everyone and meet them. And maybe learn some of their stories and connect with them and their dogs!”

Sidney is all about connecting with dogs. When her family adopted their first dog she and her brother had a standoff over what to name their new addition. “When we were naming him my brother wanted to name him Neo after The Matrix” she recalled. “But I love Leonardo DiCaprio, so I said how about Leo.” Luckily her brother was on board.

Saniyya Sidney and Warrior |K9s for Warriors

But then she adopted yet another pup. “My baby is a Maltese and Yorkie mix,” she gushed. “And her name is Biscuit.” She laughs about how her family went from no dogs to two dogs. Sidney says she’s very involved in the care and upbringing of her furry family members. “We all help and Leo is my brother’s dog and Biscuit is mine,” she says. “My parents are letting us be independent and take care of them on our own and it feels good.”

She knows that animals can be the best therapy

K9s for Warriors works with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post-9/11. Sidney understands that an animal can be a powerful tool to keep you feeling calm and grounded.

Sidney says she tries to reduce as much stress and pressure in her life as she juggles her extensive acting career and navigating adolescence. Family is important and so is having her dog there to keep her feeling safe and happy. Most recently Sidney starred in The Passage, but also had roles in American Horror Story, Fences an Hidden Figures.

Between seeing friends and family she makes plenty of room for puppy time. “Dogs have very healing spirits,” Sidney remarks. “They know when you are sad or your mood just changes. So whenever I cry Biscuit will be in her little playpen and I’ll be sad and she’ll just jump around because she wants me to pick her up and lick me. She does this thing where she puts her paw on your leg to let you know you are OK too.”

Dogs have healing powers

Rory Diamond, CEO at K9s for Warriors, told The Cheat Sheet how he finds his warrior companions who have those healing powers. “What’s special about our dogs is over 90% are rescue dogs,” Diamond says. “We go to a high kill shelter across the country and pick out those special dogs we think would be good service dogs.”

Saniyya Sidney and Warrior |K9s for Warriors

He says they ensure the dogs are healthy and fit and then provide the pups with six months of training before partnering them with a veteran in need. Unlike other service dog organizations, K9s for Warriors seeks to save an animal rather than breed the dog. So essentially the organization is saving two lives.

Plus, the K9s for Warriors approach costs half of what it costs to typically raise and train other service dogs. Also, it takes far less time than what occurs in other service dog organizations too. While there is no charge to the veteran who receives the dog, it costs about $27,000 to prepare the dog for service. The organization accepts donations and approximately 84% of all donations directly support the programs for veterans and rescue dogs.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!