frequently asked questions
Our training method is based on Pack Mentality. By training the dog and veteran together, it increases
the bond between the two while establishing the Veteran as the Alpha member of the pack.
They are glued at the hip and therefore the dog learns all of the moods of the veteran which enables
the dog to read the Veteran appropriately and be able to react accordingly.
Will the VA or my insurance cover my service dog training or my gear?
Is there a cost for my service dog training?
No. We work very hard to raise money, so there is NO cost to you!
Do you only train service dogs for combat veterans?
YES! You MUST be a service connected, deployed, combat veteran diagnosed with PTSD and/or TBI.
Am I able to pick the breed of dog?
No. Since we pull 98% of our dogs from shelters they can be full or mixed breed dogs of any type. Ranging from medium to large breed dogs, our Director of Training carefully evaluates prospect dogs to start our program. We do not train small dogs. Carrie,our Director of Training will pair you with a dog that is able to handle your disability, personality and lifestyle. We typically use Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers and mixed breed dogs.
When do I receive my dog?
After the approval process and your are approved, our Director of Training will start looking for a dog to match your needs. Once a dog is found and passed our evaluation, you will receive your dog immediately
Then, you BOTH will start training together. We train you together as a team forming a very strong bond.
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Where is training?
Can I do a fundraiser to help cover the cost of training my dog?
YES and we will help you!!! We also have fundraisers and events you are more than welcome to attend! Again, there is no cost to you, nor do we ask you to raise money!
Can you train my dog if I already have one?
We do train owner owned dogs ON a case by case basis. Our director of training will evaluate your dog, IF your dog meets our prereqs. We have age, height, weight requirements that must be met before evaluation.
Is my family or significant other welcome at training?
At actual training we ask that only the veteran and their service dog attend. Since we have other veterans talking about their personal issues, we respect their privacy. We feel this is their private, safe zone to speak freely with their brothers who have similar issues. Getting down to the root of the PTSD, helps our trainer train the dog specialized to the veterans needs. Having their brothers there encourages them to open up and start the healing process.
We have family gatherings and lots of events that families are MORE than welcome to attend! We feel that families play an extremely important role in this program, so we have developed mini classes for families. These classes are to help support your veteran and understand the role of the service dog and how to help your veteran in a multitude of ways! Veterans with PTSD and or TBI need a stable support system and we feel families are the foundation of this support system!
Where does my dog come from?
We pull from kill shelters including dogs on death row. Lots of dogs who are surrendered for obedience issues just need a job. They are not doing what they are bred to do, which is WORK! Everyday all day! We team you up with a dog that will match your lifestyle. 98% of our dogs are pulled from shelters 2% are breeder donated dogs! We are saving two lives at once!
How do you evaluate dogs?
Our trainer evaluates the dog extensive in person, for a hands-on assessment of the dog’s: personality, sociability, train-ability, confidence and ability to handle stress etc. Dogs showing any sign of aggression, being shy or anxiety issues are immediately declined. We do accept breeder donated dogs under 18 months of age. She spends quite a bit of time testing the dog. Service dogs are subject to a variety of environmental stressors, so they must be confident and stable dogs.
What is the difference between a Service Dog, Emotional Support Animal and Therapy Dog? Per the ADA Federal law:
A Service Dog is defined and protected by law as a dog that is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the disability of his owner. A service dog requires a great deal of specialized training; is considered an assistive device by the ADA, and is permitted to accompany his disabled owner anywhere the public is permitted. Service Dogs fall under the broader category of Assistance Dogs, which also includes Guide Dogs for the Blind, and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. Per the ADA the law defines a Service Animal as a DOG only. No animals per the ADA law are able to service animals other than dogs. \
An Emotional Support Animal is prescribed by a person’s doctor who feels that the presence of the animal will improve his disabled patient’s mental health. Little or no training is required. Similar to pets, these dogs do not have to perform tasks for their owner, nor do they have public access rights. This means they may NOT accompany their handler into public access areas. ESA animals are only allowed in pet only places such as pet stores etc.
A Therapy Dog is a pet that has been trained to accompany his owner to visit facilities like hospitals and nursing homes for the benefit of the people living or staying there. A therapy dog is legally a pet, and does not have public access rights without the permission of a facility owner.
Where can I take my Service Dog?
It is REQUIRED under federal and state laws that Service Dogs be permitted to accompany their disabled owner anywhere the general public is allowed to go, including: restaurants, schools, buses, taxis, airplanes, stores, movie theaters, concerts, sporting events, doctor’s offices, etc. Service Dogs are allowed in hospital patient rooms, but are excluded from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
They may NOT ask you for ANY proof or certification that your dog is a service dog!
When a person with a service animal enters a public facility or place of public accommodation, the person cannot be asked about the nature or extent of his disability. Only two questions may be asked:
1. Is the animal required because of a disability?
2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?