We accept potential service dogs from:
- Local Shelters & Reputable Rescue Organizations
- Canines currently residing with the potential veteran applicant. (See below)
- Donations from breeders or individuals needing to re-home their dog.
***Note: All potential service dogs will be tested using the same service dog testing procedure prior to their admittance into the program. Service work is very demanding and intense. Respectfully, not all dogs are made for the demands of service work.
If you own your own dog and would like to enroll them in our program, here are the basic requirements:
- Dog must be friendly and safe out in public around people and animals
- You are required to meet with one of our volunteers and have the dog tested (No charge)
- Your dog must be healthy, have all limbs, sight, hearing, and up to date on current vaccinations & Spayed/neutered
- Your dog should be at least 1 yr of age but not over 5 years of age. Some exceptions can apply.
- Dog must be able to help by learning tasks that will assist you with your disability(s)
What does a PTSD, TBI & SMI service dog do?
- Help prevent emotional triggers by physically placing themselves directly between the handler and the triggering event. Without attracting attention, a Service Dog can help a handler claim personal space in public when the dog is used as a buffer to keep other people from unexpectedly getting too close to the handler. The intensity of being out in public can be reduced to comfortable levels, leaving the handler with less stress about returning to public environments.
- Stress alerting. In stressful situations, it is easy to see a dog’s reactions (panting, licking, looking away constantly, and other stress-reduction techniques specific to dogs) signaling the handler that they both need a break. Once bonded, it is not uncommon for the dog to pick up on the handler’s stress levels and alert the handler.
- Medication reminders. Dogs can be trained to the task of reminding the handler to take medications.
- The handler is trained to focus on the dog during these attacks– instead of focusing on oneself. The service dog helps the handler come back to the present.
- The dog can be used as a source of emotional stability and comfort when dealing with uncomfortable environments or situations..With continued use of a PTSD Service Dog, the handler can find that their overall stress is reduced.
- The handler is less sensitive to their triggers (both primary and secondary triggers).
- The handler sleeps better, reducing overall stress and leads to a better ability to handle future stress. Overall, with the use of a service dog, the veterans feel less hypersensitivity (to sounds and triggers), more relaxed creating fewer flashbacks, allowing better concentration with less insomnia.
- Service dogs help with depression: The handler can no longer be tempted to stay in bed all morning; they now have responsibilities of feeding, walking and interaction with their partner. It’s easy to “check out” for long periods of time. When the service dog is fully bonded with the handler, the dog will often need, want, and request attention, returning the handler to the present.
- Anger and fits of rage: The handler realizes they are responsible for their dog and those actions will directly affect their service dog. Potential repercussions if they decide to act out in anger against their service dog.